1. Lack of defensive ability and height
This has been the main issue for Indiana, and it's something that I discussed in painful detail not too long ago, but it's something that cannot be overstated. Indiana's defense has been downright terrible this season, not being able to stop a fly and routinely letting players have career nights.
Who could forget a few games ago when the Pacers had players score 50 points on them two nights in a row in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tyrese Maxey? Or when they let seven players score 15 or more points against Boston?
The Pacers' complete lack of defensive ability was on full display against Orlando, where they let the sixth-worst offense in the league score 128 points while being the subject of trashtalk all the way through.
I said this during the game, and I think it is even more evident now that it is much easier for a bad offense to score on a bad defense than it is for a good offense to score on a good defense, especially when that bad offense is bad beyond belief.
The Pacers currently have the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league at 118.4, and despite having such a potent offense, they only have a net rating of 2.3, showing that their lack of defense is slowly catching up to them.
There are many reasons for this lack of defense, such as low effort, laziness, and just plain bad defenders, but one of the biggest reasons that does not get talked about enough is the sheer lack of height on this Pacers team.
After buying out Daniel Theis and his signing with the Clippers, the Pacers have eight players over 6-foot-7. Of these eight players, only four get consistent rotation minutes: Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Obi Toppin, and Isaiah Jackson, with Jackson only having played in five games so far this season.
The Pacers' lack of height has helped them in plenty of facets, the biggest of which allows them to play fast and hard on offense, with Tyrese Haliburton having as many shooters as possible on the wings to kick out to.
However, this has done a number on everything else, as they are the fifth-worst rebounding team in the league, and have the fifth-worst opponent field goal percentage in the league, at an even 49%.
While the Pacers do not exactly play small ball, as they still have 6-foot-11 Myles Turner in the starting lineup, they don't have much to back him up outside of Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson, both of whom are primary centers.
On top of that, instead of playing the 6-foot-8 Jarace Walker who has shown plenty of flashes as a defender, Indiana insists on playing the 6-foot-5 Aaron Nesmith at the four, who, while impressing so far, is simply not tall enough to contest some shots, regardless of his hustle.
To help their defense and, most importantly, get them some more rebounds, Indiana needs to either get their players more focused on the glass and defensive end or look to find someone who can help out in those aspects.
While G-League rookie Oscar Tshiebwe would provide rebounding help, he is most likely not the answer this team is looking for, and they might have to look to pick someone up via trade or free agency signing.