The Pacers are coming off a win where neither the Pistons nor the Pacers had the majority of their starters playing given the long injury lists. In some ways it felt like a game of little importance given neither team really has any legitimate championship aspirations this season. The Pacers still find themselves within shooting distance of the play-in tournament and find themselves trapped between two realities.
(1) The are probably good enough to play-in to the playoffs, although it wouldn’t a certainty by any stretch.
(2) They likely need to drop some of their upcoming games in order to improve lottery odds.
And unfortunately there are no clear answers. However, we discuss the upcoming games and discuss how important they are in the grand picture of the franchise. Here are the eastern conference standings for your reference.
Pacers @ Pistons, Monday March 13th, 7 PM
Play-in importance? If the Pacers want to push for the play-in, this would be a high importance game given it is one of the easier opponents left on the schedule. Given that their upcoming games afterwards are quite the gauntlet, this would be one they have to get against Detroit.
Draft Odds importance? If you are hoping for better draft odds, this wouldn’t directly contribute (although ever loss matters). The Pacers aren’t going to catch the Pistons in the NBA tankathon.
Pacers @ Bucks, Thursday March 16th, 8 PM
Play-in importance? It would be one of the games we would have to not expect to win, but be happily surprised if it does happen. What this game may potentially show us is how good the Pacers actually are if their starters are back in.
Draft Odds importance? Again, this wouldn’t matter in terms of draft-importance other than it is a game that the Pacers should most likely lose.
Pacers vs 76ers, Saturday March 18th, 7 PM
Play-in importance? The Pacers then welcome in the 76ers, another team at the top of the eastern conference. They aren’t going to catch Philly, and so it isn’t important in that way. It would however be a good measuring stick.
Draft odds importance? Winning games we likely should be losing is just a bad idea if the Pacers are hopeful for better draft odds.