The Indiana Pacers have had arguably one of the best off-seasons for any team in the NBA in 2016. Despite a number of key acquisitions since the end of the 2015-16 season, some still have the Pacers out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Indiana Pacers are a better team than what they were just a mere four months ago — when they were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors.
Team president Larry Bird traded George Hill to the Utah Jazz in a three-team deal involving the Atlanta Hawks — getting point guard Jeff Teague in the trade. He then proceeded to acquire forward Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for the Pacers’ 20th selection in a rather weak 2016 draft class.
On paper, this appears to be a Pacers team that can finish inside the top-five of the Eastern Conference by the season’s end. While many have predicted the Pacers to challenge LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers this coming year, some have them not even making the playoffs entirely.
Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report recently released his 2016 win/loss predictions for every NBA team, and has the Pacers finishing as the East’s ninth-best team — finishing with a 39-43 record.
"“The Indiana Pacers desperately want to push the pace, hence trading for both Thaddeus Young and Jeff Teague while handing the reins at center to Myles Turner. And yes, we can just overlook the signing of Al Jefferson for that schematic statement, since he’ll be a change-of-pace big off the bench when Indiana wants to slow things down.But by moving this direction, the Pacers expose themselves to other problems—and we’re not just referring to the fact that George Hill was stealthily more effective than Teague in 2015-16.Teague, Monta Ellis and Paul George are all ball-dominant players, and pairing the three of them together forces them to play outside their comfort zones. (While the point guard thrived as a spot-up shooter for the Atlanta Hawks, there’s no guarantee Teague’s success was anything more than a one-year fluke in a system designed to promote that type of output.)Additionally, Teague and Ellis both figure to be defensive liabilities. Hill’s point-preventing prowess made Ellis’ life easier in 2015-16, thereby turning him into a plus on that end, but Teague won’t offer his teammate the same luxury of weaker nightly matchups.Indiana has the talent necessary to compete with most teams, but a lack of consistency and easily exploitable weaknesses should leave it just outside the Eastern playoff picture.”"
The prediction is a bit of a head-scratcher at first glance. With the emergence of Myles Turner and the presence of Paul George on the court together, the Pacers could be a scary team as long as those two players are together.
George Hill may in fact be a better defender than Teague can provide, but there is no question as to whether or not Teague is the more aggressive scorer between the two players. The Pacers just added too much depth for them to not make the playoffs in a very weak Eastern Conference.
At the end of the day, however, predictions are simply just predictions — with what the team does on the court being what actually carries meaning. If this Pacers team can click and get into rhythm as the season progresses, they could be in for a good treat come the postseason.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019