3 Takeaways from Indiana Pacers preseason win vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pacers preseason
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pacers preseason /
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Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pacers preseason, Buddy Hield
Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pacers preseason, Buddy Hield /

3. Buddy Hield is back

I am very glad to be saying that sentence again.

Buddy Hield’s performances in Indiana’s first three preseason games ranged from mediocre at best to downright bad at worst. In three preseason games and 20 minutes per game, Hield averaged seven points on putrid shooting splits of 25/21/60%, a far cry from his 16.8 points per game on 42% from behind the line from the 2022-23 season.

These poor performances, combined with his refusal to sign a contract extension and possible desire to be traded, along with the emergence of young Indiana Pacers wings such as Ben Sheppard and Aaron Nesmith, led Pacers fans to question Hield’s role in the rotation for the upcoming season. Already demoted to the bench after starting 73 out of 80 games in 2023, Hield’s role on the team was in danger amidst trade rumors and his fellow wing players just playing better than him.

However, this performance against Cleveland proved what many fans have known all along, that Buddy Hield is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, and that is no exaggeration.

Hield showed exactly what he gets paid to do tonight, hitting six of eight threes en route to 20 points, the most on the team. One of these threes was a buzzer-beater to end the first quarter from a beautiful TJ McConnell feed, tying up the game after one.

In addition to the shooting, Hield also provided some nice defense with two blocks, including this one on Isaac Okoro, which led to another three from a TJ McConnell dish.

All in all, Buddy Hield ended the night with 20 points, the most on the team (6/10 FG, 6/8 3PT, 2/2 FT), four rebounds, one assist, one steal, and two blocks in just 18 minutes of action.

Hield was really everywhere tonight, hitting threes, grabbing rebounds, and playing solid defense en route to a game that felt more like the Buddy Hield of old.

Hopefully, this performance give him more confidence coming into the season because he will have to fight for those wing minutes if the going gets rough, as you can expect Rick Carlisle to make changes as soon as he sees fit. Good start for now for the newly minted No. 7.

Next. 2 Studs, 1 dud from Pacers preseason win over Cavaliers. dark

Indiana Pacers fans can sleep well knowing the future is in good hands and Pacers basketball returns in a mere four days. The Indiana Pacers will play the Washington Wizards in their season opener on Wednesday, October 25, at 7 p.m. Eastern time.