2017-18 Record: 48-34, 5th in the Eastern Conference
The Pacers surprised a lot of people in their first season without Paul George leading the charge. Victor Oladipo, Who was the main piece they got in return for George, was able to elevate his game to a level that no one saw coming. He transformed into an all-star and was his team’s leader on both sides of the ball. The Oladipo-led Pacers ended up bowing out to the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, after finishing the regular season with an impressive 48-34 record.
The Pacers had a fairly quiet, albeit successful off-season. They added shooting depth on the wings with Doug McDermott who can slot in at the three or stretch the floor at the four position. They added former Knicks Centre Kyle O’Quinn to the roster, who will be a great locker room guy and mentor for budding star Myles Turner. But their greatest off-season signing would have to be Tyreke Evans. Evans is coming off a career year where he averaged 19/5/5 while shooting 45/40/79 from the floor. The only question mark surrounding him is his durability, which he has struggled with for the most part of his 9-year career.
Obviously, there were some that had to make way for the additions of Evans, McDermott, O’Quinn and co. For the most part, the departures won’t hurt the Pacers a whole lot. Probably the biggest departure is Lance Stephenson leaving to join the Lakers. Although he only averaged a touch over 9 points per game in 2017-18, Stephenson brought energy and a bit of x-factor to the team when he hit the court. However, what they lose with Stephenson, they get back with Evans, plus interest.
Offseason Arrivals: Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn (free agent), Aaron Holiday, Alize Johnson (draft)
Offseason Departures: Al Jefferson, Alex Poythress (waived), Glen Robinson III (Pistons), Lance Stephenson (Lakers)
What to Expect?
You can expect much of the same from the Pacers this season. They’ve kept the roster relatively the same with a few like-for-like changes on the wing positions.
They’ll have the ability to change line-ups throughout the course of the match this season. They can run a small-ball type set up with shooters surrounding Myles Turner, or they can opt to play the new ‘position-less basketball’ with 6’6 Tyreke Evans running the point, giving them the ability to switch everything on the defensive end.
The only worry we have for the Pacers this season is surrounding Victor Oladipo and whether he can back up his sublime 2017-18 campaign. Can he average 23/5/4 and lead the league in steals again? Coming even close to those numbers is a very big ask.
Key Player: Myles Turner
We saw some very good games and some very poor games from Myles Turner last season. Natural progression had everyone expecting Turner to break out last season and average somewhere between 17-20 points per game as the Pacers second option. However, he actually regressed to average 12.7 points per game, down from 14.5 in the year prior.
If the Pacers are going to take the next step and become a genuine contender in the Eastern Conference the improvement has to come from their young big-man.
Vegas 2018-19 Win Total
Vegas has the Pacers finishing the new season pretty much exactly how the finished the last, setting their 2018-19 win line at 47.5 games. If everything goes to plan for Nate McMillan’s Pacers we wouldn’t be surprised to see them finishing in a seed in the East and pushing the 50-win mark. However, we feel that Oladipo might come back down to Earth this season, which will make it tough for them to cover.
We suggest a small play on the Unders here.