Where do the Pacers rank in the new-look Eastern Conference?

The Eastern Conference is changing around the Indiana Pacers. Where do they rank so far?
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The NBA offseason is in full swing, and most of the heavy hitters have been scooped up or traded for already. Excluding some free agents such as DeMar DeRozan and trade targets such as Lauri Markkanen, most of the big-time free agents have been taken care of, and rosters are starting to become more concrete for Summer League season.

Indiana has not made any crazy moves in the offseason so far, as Chad Buchanan said he would prioritize existing player development for youngsters such as Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard this upcoming season and keep the roster intact hoping for more chemistry.

The only moves Indiana has made so far have been important, but not league-shaking, such as re-signing Pascal Siakam and Obi Toppin for the next four years and, on a lesser level, signing James Wiseman for two years to be a backup center, who is very much a work in progress. Needless to say, the Pacers' rotation headed into 2025 will most likely be unchanged and they will run the same team back more or less.

With this being said, the question remains. Where does Indiana rank in the new-look Eastern Conference now? A lot of East playoff teams have not stayed put and have made moves to get better, more specifically the older teams who have something to lose going forward and cannot rely on youth and development as much as Indiana.

The two biggest examples come from the Northeast, with Philadelphia signing former Pacers superstar Paul George to a massive contract, and the New York Knicks, Indiana's second-round playoff opponents in 2024, trading for Mikal Bridges, completing the "Nova Four" group of Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo, although it is worth noting they also lost Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which will hurt them more than people think.

As for other East teams, the Hawks finally ended the Dejounte Murray experiment after two years, trading him to the Pelicans for Dyson Daniels and Larry Nance Jr, the Celtics retained their key players, the Cavaliers gave Donovan Mitchell a three-year extension, the Miami Heat signed Delon Wright, and the Orlando Magic got some shooting help by signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a three-year deal.

The Pacers will most likely jump into the top four of the East in 2025.

With these moves in mind, I think the Pacers jump into the top four of the East this season. The Boston Celtics will most likely remain as the East's top seed and the team to beat in the playoffs, with the Knicks retaining their second seed from the previous year with the addition of Bridges.

I believe the Paul George trade will catapult the 76ers above the Pacers in the standings, although that is never a guarantee given Joel Embiid's health issues almost every season. The Pacers will probably take the fourth spot in the East, with Milwaukee right behind them, followed by Cleveland, Orlando, and the Miami Heat taking the eighth spot.

Now, it is always possible for injuries to change every team's fortunes, and the Bucks could have an incredible bounce-back season with additional chemistry and the Doc Rivers experiment working out, but that is to be determined. As of now, I have Indiana's ceiling as the third seed, and their floor as the sixth seed, the same place they were last season.

Of course, a third or sixth-seed finish is more ideal, as that delays a potential Boston rematch until the Eastern Conference Finals, whereas a fourth or fifth finish would mean a second-round matchup with the Celtics, but we will see how things go.


For now, I think the Pacers will be fine in the East without making any major moves, but unless another move is made for a star-level player or more defense, they will have a ways to go before jumping into contendor territory.