The Indiana Pacers are in the midst of training camp ahead of a season that could see them take a significant leap in the Eastern Conference standings after falling short of the playoffs in two straight seasons.
Two years ago, the Pacers swung a trade for Tyrese Haliburton and missed out. But this past year, they were in the playoff picture before Haliburton missed time with an injury, causing them to plummet down the standings.
Heading into this season, the East is as strong as ever, but the Pacers are young, hungry, and striving for improvement. Haliburton will lead the way, but guys will have to step up around him.
As Pacers training camp rolls on and the regular season inches closer, here are three players who could be poised for a breakout season.
1. Isaiah Jackson
Before training camp began, it was revealed that the Pacers would be watching closely to see which player would get the majority of the backup center minutes behind Myles Turner – Isaiah Jackson, Jalen Smith, or Daniel Theis.
While Smith and Theis are both solid players, Jackson has the potential to break out this year. His mix of athleticism and defensive ability make him a perfect fit for this Pacers roster.
At just 21 years old, Jackson will be entering his third NBA season and is fresh off a year where he appeared in 63 games – up from just 36 in his rookie year.
With Haliburton throwing him lobs and TJ McConnell and Andre Nembhard available to lead the offense off the bench, Jackson will have no shortage of opportunities to thrive. If he can combine that with solid defense, he’ll be in great shape.