Some flaws with Indiana's best defenders and how they can fix that this offseason

The playoffs have exposed the Pacers' lack of defense, specifically on the wing. They need to fix that soon.
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game Two
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics - Game Two / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
2 of 3

Indiana's current defenders and their issues

Aaron Nesmith is perhaps the Pacers' best defender and the man tasked with guarding the opposing team's best scorer. While Nesmith is a fantastic defender and has done fantastic on players like Jalen Brunson only a few games ago, he is still very flawed as a defender, for reasons that are in his control and some that are out of his control.

Perhaps the most glaring weakness about Nesmith as a defender is his lack of height. Nesmith only stands at 6-foot-5 and simply does not have the length to guard bigger wing scorers are we have seen this season. Additionally, Nesmith is best suited as a bench piece, which he was to start the season before having to start for the rest of the year due to Buddy Hield getting traded and Bennedict Mathurin getting injured.

The same height issue goes for Andrew Nembhard. Perhaps Indiana's best perimeter defender in a bubble and the guy tasked to defend players like Damian Lillard and Jalen Brunson, Nembhard's issue is also that he is just not big enough to be a do-it-all defender, which is what the Pacers need. At 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan, Nembhard does not possess the length that Indiana desperately needs on the defensive end.

One player that does possess the measurements needed to be a good defender is Pascal Siakam, who the Pacers got in January partially due to the hope that he would bolster their defense. To Siakam's credit, he did just that, with Indiana becoming a better defensive team almost immediately after his arrival.

However, Siakam's defense is kind of a double-edged sword. Standing at 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Siakam possesses fantastic measurements to be a pest on the perimeter and even guard the rim when needed, which he has done for the Pacers.

The problem with Siakam is that he is often too invested on the offensive end to put full effort in on defense, and understandably so. Like what we saw in Game 2 on Thursday, Siakam is usually too busy getting the Pacers out of an offensive lull to put full effort in on defense, and if Tyrese Haliburton really is out for the rest of the series, that will not change anytime soon.

As for Ben Sheppard, once again, the issue is that he is not big enough to hang with the tall, high-scoring wings of the NBA. Additionally, Sheppard's relative lack of experience has been evident in the playoffs as well, with him making plenty of 'rookie mistakes' that have cost him on the defensive end. Despite playing well beyond his years, a 6-foot-6 rookie guard is not saving Indiana's defensive problems.

Additionally, Obi Toppin, while being a good post defender and athletic enough to keep up with anyone on the floor, is just not good enough at other aspects of the defense to warrant being Indiana's defensive savior, as has been proven plenty of times in the playoffs.

Finally, we look at Myles Turner. Always looked at as Indiana's top defender, and a regular among the NBA's block leaderboard, Turner has taken a step back this season on defense due to the team's overall defensive scheme changing. More often than before, Indiana is helping on the perimeter which takes Turner out of the paint, where he operates best.

As a result, Turner's block numbers were lower than usual and he was not the interior force he was known for being in prior seasons. Additionally, Turner is just not a good enough defender in the pick and roll, which has been exploited in the Celtics series, as Indiana double teams and helps on every single pick, which leads to open shooters basically every time.