The Indiana Pacers are 7-4 to begin the season and ready to jump back into the playoffs for the first time since 2020. Tyrese Haliburton is becoming a superstar, but there is work to be done. The Pacers have the best offensive rating in the NBA, but rank 28th in defense. Can they win by going all-in on scoring?
The Pacers may look to sure up their defense before the trade deadline but already classify as a surprise team. Indiana has defeated the 76ers, Bucks, and Cavaliers this season. Those were projected to be three of the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference. Rick Carlisle is working his magic, and the Pacers have the eighth-best net rating in the NBA.
Which players are standing out and who is disappointing after three weeks of action? Here is a closer look at their stock watch 11 games into the regular season.
Stock skyrocketing: Aaron Nesmith
The Pacers acquired Nesmith from the Celtics in the Malcolm Brogdon trade during the 2022 offseason. He was a lottery pick in 2020 but had barely played in Boston. The 6’5 wing earned 24.9 minutes per game with the Pacers and over 26 each night after becoming the full-time starter in mid-December. There was worry that Nesmith would see his role diminished with the addition of Bruce Brown, but that has not happened.
Instead, he is playing the best basketball of his career. Nesmith got a three-year $33 million extension in October and cannot become a free agent until 2027. In return, he averaged 11.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.8 steals in 23.9 minutes per game. Nesmith is shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 46.0 percent on his 3-point attempts after 11 contests. He is coming off the bench, but that is not hurting his production.
Aaron Nesmith looks like a quality rotation player for years to come. His shooting percentages are unsustainable, but the 24-year-old continues to improve.