The Indiana Pacers are off to a rocky start to the 2016-17 season, and some people are concerned. Those people need to relax.
The Indiana Pacers have wins over the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. However, it is their losses to the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets that has people concerned.
The Nets will likely be the NBA’s worse team this season, and the Bulls will be jockeying for a better playoff seed with the Pacers later in the season. Loses to these two teams are never great perception-wise; even at the beginning of the season.
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Statistics further prove the Pacers’ unbalance to start the season. Head coach Nate McMillan has this team averaging 110.0 points per game (4th in NBA). However, their defense is allowing 112.5 points per game (3rd-most in NBA).
As far as players starting slow, there is only one guy who everyone is focusing on right now: point guard Jeff Teague. This offseason, the Pacers traded away starter George Hill in a three-team trade and received Teague in return.
As a result of this trade, people will be knit-picking every part of Teague’s game because there is a still a contingency of fans think Hill is better than Teague. So far, those critics look right.
Teague is only averaging 8.3 points per game and is making only 22% of his field goals. However, he is averaging 7.3 assists per game.
Despite a 2-2 start and Teague struggling, no one should be panicking. In fact, this rocky start should have been expected because the Pacers are still trying to develop team chemistry.
They added six new players to their roster this offseason; two of which are starters Thaddeus Young and Teague. It is going to take at least a half the season for everyone to define their roles on the team.
At the same time, the players are adjusting to a new head coach. Yes, McMillan has been a part of the Pacers’ organization since 2013, but he coaches differently than the former head coach Frank Vogel. It will take time for them to get used to a different coaching style.
Also, McMillan has the Pacers playing in a system that is the complete opposite from Vogel’s system. Under Vogel, Indiana played slow and focused on defense. So far under McMillan, the Pacers are offensively driven with less emphasis on defense.
The numerous changes in coaching and in player personnel are the reasons for the Pacers’ rocky 2-2 start.
this inconsistent play will not go away quickly. There are going to be some growing pains. Critics should hold their judgment until about 20 games into the season.
If they are still struggling at that point, then it is okay to be concerned. Until that point though, people need to be patient and believe that the Pacers will find a way to make everything work.