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
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What Indiana needs

It's pretty simple, really. Indiana just needs a big wing defender who can guard the opposing team's best wing and be somewhat serviceable on offense. Game after game, it has become glaringly obvious that the Pacers do not have the personnel to stop most number-one options in the league.

They need a big, lengthy wing that can disrupt any scorer on any given night. Offense is not a need for the Pacers this offseason. They have an abundance of scorers and facilitators, and with Tyrese Haliburton recovering and Bennedict Mathurin recovering from injury, Indiana is set to return one of the greatest offenses of all time for the 2024-25 season.

As for who this defender will be, that's where things become tricky. With Tyrese Haliburton's extension kicking in this offseason and his All-NBA nod guaranteeing a bigger pay raise, the Pacers will have to be creative on how they can improve their defense.

The opportunity to sign someone like OG Anunoby is slim, and a sign-and-trade is relatively unrealistic, so Indiana probably has to look elsewhere. Another option that is popular with Pacers fans is Mikal Bridges, who is miscast in Brooklyn as a first option.

At 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and experience being a wing stopper on a championship contender, Bridges would be perfect to bring to Indiana as a supercharged 3-and-D role player ready to cover up any holes the Pacers have defensively and provide some extra firepower on offense when necessary.

However, Indiana's best bet may be to unleash Jarace Walker this upcoming season. Standing 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and weighing in at around 240 pounds, Walker fits almost every bill of the defender Indiana is looking for to bolster their play.

Walker is young, athletic, lengthy, and strong enough to stay in front of most scorers and not be pushed around like others. He has shown flashes of being a fantastic defender whenever Indiana plays him, especially when he gets extended minutes like his January 18 game against the Sacramento Kings, so it may be time to let him try to work his magic on this Pacers team.

The Pacers are almost set to be a contender for the next few years. With a franchise point guard who is capable of both scoring and playmaking at a high level, the savvy veteran star who keeps the team grounded in times of turmoil, and plenty of youth and talent to round it out, there is only one thing the Pacers are missing, and that is a big wing defender.

This series especially, their lack of wing defense and overall defensive discipline has been exposed by the Boston Celtics, who were the only team in the regular season to have a higher defensive rating than them, and they have been utterly torn apart by them in certain stretches, especially when their shots aren't falling like in the second quarter of Game 2.


The fix to Indiana's defensive issues may be as simple as giving Jarace Walker more minutes, or they may need to get a defender in the free agent market or via trade, sacrificing one of their young pieces and/or draft picks in the process. One thing is for sure, with the front office being more aggressive than ever in recent years, I don't see a world where Kevin Pritchard stands pat and hopes the defense fixes itself soon.