Debunking the two most prominent myths about the Indiana Pacers

The NBA playoffs are here, so it's time to disprove some popular myths floating about the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors
Indiana Pacers v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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Tyrese Haliburton 'Linsanity Run'

We're starting off with perhaps the most popular, and equally annoying take there is.

To those unfamiliar with the term, a 'Linsanity Run' is when a typically unassuming role player breaks through and goes on a reasonably long run of success. Of course, this term was coined after Jeremy Lin's breakout 2011-12 season and the hype surrounding that period of New York Knicks basketball.

Recently, the definition of this term has been skewed by basketball fans to go from a role player breaking out for a short period to a star merely performing above their usual level for a while. It has been thrown around for plenty of players this season, but Tyrese Haliburton may be the chief recipient of this label this season.

Initially, the label was given to him for his pre-injury run where he averaged 24 points and close to 13 assists on near-50/40/90 shooting splits. While it is true that this run was better than his play the previous year, it was not exactly a 'Linsanity Run,' as Haliburton had been playing at an All-Star-All-NBA level since arriving in Indiana.

However, the unfortunate label of 'Linsanity Run' was given to Haliburton even more frequently after his return from injury and the slump that followed. Specifically, from February 8 to March 18, Haliburton averaged 15.6 points on only 41% from the field and 26% from deep in 17 games, a far cry from his pre-injury averages and a genuine decline in performance that had him and the whole team frustrated.

While it is true that Haliburton did not play well during this stretch, this is by no means a 'Linsanity Run.' Haliburton is not a role player, nor did he come out of nowhere to reach those huge numbers before the injury. Just last year, Haliburton averaged 20 points and 10 assists and was close to leading Indiana to the playoffs before injuries took over. He was not new to superstar-level play at all.

What did happen was, because of the attention around the Pacers dwindling over time after Haliburton's injury in 2023, people forgot how good he was at his best. This led to people making false assumptions after his hot start to the season and continuing these reactionary takes in full swing when he eventually came back down to earth due to injury effects.

A better example of a 'Linsanity Run' in Pacers terms would be Oshae Brissett. Acquired in the post-2021 trade deadline free agency market to fill out a roster spot, Brissett was a real highlight for the otherwise brutal 2020-21 Indiana Pacers season.

In just his second season in the league and his first with real playing time, Brissett blossomed, averaging 13 points, seven assists, a steal, and a block per game on 46% from the field and 41% from deep in Indiana's final 15 games while starting every single game. Brissett even helped Indiana to a winning record to end the season, as his efforts led to an 8-7 record for the Pacers and even a win in the 9/10 play-in game against Charlotte, where he scored 23 points and shot 3/6 from deep.

Unfortunately, Brissett could not keep this momentum up after this season, and a combination of new talent and a head coaching change led to a decrease in minutes and productivity as a result. In the 132 games he played as a Pacers over the next two seasons, Brissett only managed seven points on 40% from the field and 33% from deep, a far cry from the numbers he averaged earlier as a starter. He currently plays for Boston.

With a fresh example of what a 'Linsanity Run' is in our minds, it is foolish to call Tyrese Haliburton taking a rise in his fourth season in the league anything but a young player taking a leap. Haliburton will be just fine going forward, and his productive streak of games to end the season proves that. Pacers fans do not have to worry about him becoming the reincarnation of Jeremy Lin anytime soon.