Indiana Pacers 2017 Preview
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The Indiana Pacers found a way to clinch a playoff spot last season, but that team is long gone due to so much turnover this offseason. This will be the year we really learn a lot about Nate McMillan as a coach, as he has a roster full of new players and no longer has a star he can count on to will him to victory. Needless to say, this is going to be an interesting season for the Pacers with so many moving parts.
Here is your Indiana Pacers 2017 NBA preview.
Key Player Losses: The Indiana Pacers begin a new era by trading Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder. George spent his first seven seasons with the Pacers, producing more than 8,000 points, 1,400 assists and 2,800 rebounds. George is a four-time all-star, just turned 27 years old and is coming off the best offensive season of his career. Jeff Teague leaves for Minnesota after one season in Indiana and CJ Miles heads to Toronto after three seasons with the Pacers. Teague averaged nearly eight assists last year and Miles shot a combined 37.4 percent from deep during his three seasons. If you’re not paying attention, the Pacers lost three of their five double-digit scorers from last season, including their top-two playmakers.
Key Player Additions: Darren Collison returns to Indiana after three years in Sacramento, and he’ll be the Pacers new starting point guard. Collison takes care of the ball, can help push the pace and is coming off a year in which he shot 41.7 percent from deep. Victor Oladipo is on his third team in three years and hopes he can find consistent play and a stable home in Indiana. Bojan Bogdanovic is a career 37 percent shooter from deep and will become a full-time starter for the first time. Cory Joseph has become one of the better backup combo guards in the league and Domantas Sabonis showed flashes of promise in his rookie season with the Thunder.
Draft: T.J. Leaf was an elite offensive player in his one season with the UCLA Bruins, as he shot 61.7 percent from the field and 46.6 percent from three. Leaf has a bright future in the NBA due to his ability to fill it up and pass out of the post, but there are serious questions about his defense. Leaf could be Enes Kanter 2.0 based on what he showed in college. Ike Anigbogu also comes over from UCLA and has elite size and athleticism, but he must improve his jump shot and post skills if he’s going to become a reliable player at this level.
Outlook: Many would think the sky is falling for the Pacers based on all the production they lost, but I actually like this roster and see potential. You can do a lot worse than a starting lineup of Darren Collison, Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young, especially in the Eastern Conference. Oladipo still has another level to get to and Turner is a possible all-star player based on his improvement his first two seasons. Not to mention a youthful bench made up of Joseph, Glenn Robinson III, Sabonis and Leaf, there’s some intriguing talent on this roster that may be going unnoticed. I may be on this bandwagon by myself, but I’m predicting the Pacers to make the playoffs this season.