Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player at season's end

With the playoffs on the way, now is a good time to give out end-of-season grades for every Pacers player.
Mar 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA;  Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates with
Mar 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Pascal Siakam (43) celebrates with / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Final thoughts and grade

2023-24 Indiana Pacers: 47-35 record. 123.3 PPG, 120.2 PAPG, 121 ORTG, 118 DRTG, 41.5 RPG (10.1 O and 31.4 D), 30.8 APG, 7.7 SPG, 5.9 BPG, 12.9 TOV, 21.4 FPG 50.7/37.4/78.2 Splits on 60.7% TS

2022-23 Indiana Pacers: 35-47 record. 116.3 PPG, 119.5 PAPG, 114.6 ORTG, 117.7 DRTG, 41.5 RPG (10.1 O and 31.4 D), 27 APG, 7.7 SPG, 5.8 BPG, 14.9 TOV, 21.2 FPG 46.9/36.7/79 Splits on 58.2% TS

We have finally reached the end. 13 players, one coach, and one trade later, all that's left is to give the Indiana Pacers a final grade for the regular season.

Looking at how the Pacers have done this season compared to how they were projected to do before the season, it feels like a runaway A+ grade. Despite being projected for 39 wins and a couch seat during the playoffs, the Pacers surpassed those expectations with flying colors, netting 47 wins and skipping the Play-In Tournament altogether, netting the sixth seed.

In addition to this, Indiana posted one of the greatest and most efficient offenses of all time, led by one of the brightest young stars in the league who put the NBA world on notice. Tyrese Haliburton is doing wonders to bring the Indiana Pacers back to mainstream attention and is forcing people to recognize the talent in small markets as a whole.

However, it is important to remember that expectations can change throughout the season. After the Siakam trade, Indiana was not treated as a fun 'League Pass' team anymore, but rather as a team on the rise and poised to make some real noise in the East. Many now had the Pacers winning their first playoff series since 2014 and even making a dark horse playoff run, giving them a chance against any team except for the Celtics.

After going 24-17 in the 41 games before the Pascal trade, Indiana went 23-18 in the final 41 games. At first glance, this seems like they clearly fell short of expectations and the Siakam trade did not help them much. However, some context shows that Indiana was lucky to even have this record. Tyrese Haliburton's aforementioned slump could have ended the Pacers' season right then and there, as Indiana was struggling to create offense with their star going through such a rough stretch.

However, the rest of the team, namely Pascal Siakam and T.J. McConnell picked up the slack for their point guard, and despite Bennedict Mathurin missing the final 19 games of the season, Indiana finished strong. In the final 10 games of the season, the Pacers went 7-3 and held off runs by the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat to secure the sixth seed and a guaranteed playoff berth.

With this context and Indiana's current space, it is pretty safe to say that the 2023-24 Indiana Pacers season was a rousing success. Statistically, Indiana improved their offense to all-time great status, and slowly but surely built a solid defense.

Currently, the Pacers have their best chance to win their first playoff series in a decade against the Milwaukee Bucks, who will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the first few games of the series. Regardless of how the playoffs go, the Pacers pulled off a successful regular season for the ages, filled with highs, lows, and, most importantly, hope for the future.

Final Grade: A- (One of the most exciting seasons in recent memory, the future is bright)