The Pacers have lived in tension this season between the short-term and long-term goals that the franchise has for itself. That tension is over now.
The Pacers were finally eliminated from postseason play in 2023 with a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. For a team that made a habit for multiple decades of making the playoffs, the Pacers have now been in the draft lottery for multiple years in a row.
The season was one of promise with our new budding superstar in Tyrese Haliburton, but many of us knew that this season was one that would likely not end with the Pacers competing for anything of value (other than a high lottery pick).
The Pacers will know play a series of games in the coming weeks that will determine just how high their lottery pick will be. They are currently in contention with a couple of other teams such as Portland, Washington, and Orlando for as high as the 5th best odds in the draft lottery.
This comes on the heels of Victor Wembanyama setting the internet on fire with one of the best highlights you will see on a basketball court, well, ever.
The Pacers are gaining in the lottery odds at just the right time, given this current draft class is considered on of the best ever and extremely heavy in talent at the top. If the Pacers can secure a top five pick they are almost sure to land a player that can change the trajectory of the franchise and secure another solid starting piece for a team that will be rebuilding soon.
Playoff contention was not the goal, winning a championship always was
Pacers’ fans should remember that playoff contention was never the goal. Winning a championship is the goal. And having a high lottery pick this year will almost certainly put us closer to our goals than a simple play-in game ever would have. It may be tough for fans to accept, but elimination from playoff contention?
It’s a good thing.