The Indiana Pacers have changed their identity

Early in the season, the Pacers were known as a team that could only win if they overpowered you on offense. Now, they've changed their identity completely.
Mar 22, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) drives to
Mar 22, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) drives to / John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers were a part of the highest-scoring game of the season against the Atlanta Hawks. They won that game 157-152 in a game that was talked about around the NBA for weeks. It was just offensive play after offensive play. No defense was being played.

Early in the year, that's how the Pacers were known to win their games. They could only outscore teams because their perimeter defense was poor. That was despite the fact they signed Bruce Brown in the offseason to be their best perimeter defender.

In the end, Brown ended up getting moved for Pascal Siakam, a move that has proved to improve both the half-court offense and the defense. Siakam is able to switch across all positions and adds length to the perimeter, something the Pacers didn't have prior to the trade.

The Indiana Pacers are now a defensive team instead of an overwhelming powerhouse on offense

While Tyrese Haliburton was going through his shooting struggles, the Pacers needed to win games by playing good defense. They have now had a few wins that were defensively led instead of just outscoring opponents. There was no need to run-and-gun.

At this point in the season, the Pacers are known as more of a tough team. Their defense has been excellent over the ten games, ranking 6th in defensive rating. It's not like they have played terrible offensive teams over that stretch either. This switch has been the real deal.

Indiana has a shot to be a more complete team in the final weeks of the season. Now that Haliburton has seemingly broken out of his slump, the offense has a shot to get back to the elite level it was at before the All-Star break. Add that to the defense they've been playing recently and that's a pretty good team.

dark. Next. Next story. An ode to an all-time great Pacer, Myles Turner

The Pacers will be at least in the play-in game so they will be no worse than tenth in the standing. They now have to find a way to play themselves out of that scenario. The standings are all jumbled up in the East right now, so how they do on this road trip will be critical.