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What now? – Washington Wizards | Basketball Insiders


Basketball Insiders continues their “Now What” series with a look at the Indiana Pacers. A disappointing 34-38 scored them a place in the Play-In tournament, where they crushed the Charlotte Hornets but were then destroyed by the Washington Wizards. They have crossed the finish line limping, and now face an uncertain turmoil that can be filled with change.

After wild rollercoaster season, the Pacers find themselves at a crossroads. Expectations have been high for the upcoming squad this season, with a new coach and a renewed roster. Early in the season things were rolling around well, but the Pacers were finally the victims of an injury error amid the intense season. Only for the second time in the past decade will they be a lottery team heading into the 2021 NBA Draft.

The primary focus of the front office, like last year, will be finding their next coach. And the team announced, on Wednesday, that Nate Björkgren will not return next season. After seizing the opportunity for a first-year coach, the turbulent season finally led the organization to search for a coach with more experience.

There are plenty of other puzzles to solve, both in draft and in free agency. There are decisions to be made regarding this list, none of which can be considered a minor at this point. Indiana swims in the river of mediocrity, and this must change.

The future for this team has been cloudy but getting answers to so many questions this season will help clear things up.

strength point

Despite all the uncertainty surrounding the Pacers, they have some good things going in their favour. After jumping at the chance of getting a young talented player like Caris LeVert, they had to wait for his recovery after treating the lump found in his kidney. His return to Earth in March was a sight to behold, and his fitness along with his new teammates were harmonious.

LeVert was thriving as a member of the Pacers, but was cut short before the Play-In tournament began when he was forced to sit out due to health and safety protocols. Despite his absence, Levert has established himself as the man on this team who can create for others, as well as get his own shot whenever they need it.

When they don’t need to take that route, the Pacers are perfectly fine with managing their attack through the Domantas Sabonis. The big man had a career year, serving as the engine for the team’s offense. Sabonis has averaged career highs in points (20.3), assists (6.7), steals (1.2) and blocks (0.5) this season. He also pulled 12 rebounds per game and reached the free-throw line more than ever during his five-year career.

Just getting the whole group of players back in good health is something this organization can feel good about. With TJ Warren essentially missing out for the entire season and Myles Turner shortening his impressive season due to injuries, the Pacers will only improve with their return to the fold. Jeremy Lamb missed half of the season, Malcolm Brogdon missed 16 games and Sabonis missed 10 games due to injuries as well.

Indiana’s attack should be among the most dynamic in the league next year, with Levertt, Sabonis and Brugdon leading the way. The other players on this list will need to role play, hit open shots, and defend. If those needs can be met this season, the Pacers should return for the playoffs next year.

Weak points

Injuries may have hit them towards the end of the season, but what really killed the Pacers was their inability to defend, rebound and close matches. They had the fourth-worst rebound differential (-4.1) during the season and blew 17 leads in the fourth quarter. These two ingredients are a recipe for disaster.

The biggest question surrounding Indiana was answered earlier this week. Kevin Pritchard met Björkgren on Tuesday and decided it was time to move on. He admitted that they took the opportunity last season and it didn’t work out. He also talked about what he is looking for in their next leader.

The real question is how much of the blame for this turbulent season should lie with Björkgren? He didn’t have Warren, Turner, LeVert, Oladipo or Lamb for most of the season. He was reluctant to play Aaron Holiday for whatever reason and relied heavily on the defense and availability of Justin Holiday and TJ McConnell. Despite all this, he still had this team win one away from the playoffs.

Both Brogdon and Sabonis thrived on Bjorkgren’s attack. Brogdon had a career-high average scorer while the team averaged a franchise score of 115.3 points per game. It was a huge leap from the old, slow pace they had under former coach Nate McMillan. In the end, the disconnect between the players and others within the organization was something that could not be ignored.

Indiana will have many candidates to choose from, including some they met last summer. The front office will be looking for former Los Angeles Clippers assistant player Chauncey Billups, former Portland Trail Blazers coach and Terry Stotts of Indiana, as well as Mike D’Antoni, who was the favorite for the job last season before joining Steve. Nash’s crew in Brooklyn.


Indiana will have a chance to pick up some high-end talent for the draft this summer. This will be the second time they will have a lottery selection in the draft in the past 10 years. The Pacers likely won’t land the cream of the crop with the 13th or 14th pick, but there are plenty of strong talent throughout this draft category.

One name that has appeared frequently in phantom drafts is Keon Johnson, a relentless winger defender. It’s been a void since Victor Oladipo suffered his quadruple injury in January of 2019. If the Pacers don’t bring back Doug McDermott, they can look at Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert, an elite shooter. Other names to watch are James Bouknight of UConn and Jared Butler of Baylor. Pacers usually want the best talent available, no matter what the job is.

In terms of free agency, the Pacers team has already crossed the salary cap. Despite how little cash to throw away, Richard has a reputation for finding bargain deals. There are many strong role players available that can help this team next season. Under the radar players like Dewayne Dedmon, Wayne Ellington and Tony Snell will be able to fill in some of the weaknesses the team faced last season.

The roster is in flux, so while there isn’t one clear position they need to fill, it’s safe to say they will be assigned a starting center position with Sabonis or Turner. Even with Warren back, there are questions with the winger players, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go after someone like Tori Craig. It could become an exciting name when free agency kicks in, if the Phoenix Suns keep rolling in the playoffs. Regardless, this is the type of player Indiana desperately desires.

The silver lining with all the Pacers’ injuries is what they found in their absence. O’Shea Brissett has played 21 games for Indiana this season, and he’s shown some serious potential. After the regular season, Brissett scored 31 points and reduced ten rebounds against his former team, the Toronto Raptors. His range was also on display, shooting 42.3 percent from a three-point range during the regular season.

Brissett was 10-14 overall from the ground in his Play-In Tournament win over the Hornets, scoring 23 points to lead the Pacers. He signed a three-year contract, so the Pacers will have some flexibility in the situation going forward.


Indiana’s only free agents are McConnell, McDermott and Jacquard Sampson. At first glance, there didn’t seem to be much of a threat if they couldn’t keep any of these people. McConnell and McDermott both had career seasons and showed their value to other potential suitors this summer. McConnell led the league in 128 steals, 20 more than Jimmy Butler, who finished second. The average 29-year-old also had high occupational figures across the board.

McDermott also posted the best stats of his career, improving in many areas of his game. The former Creighton star, mostly known for his ocean shot, was a nightmare to be pursued as he made his way through screens and divided the lane in order to stop playing. After landing his fifth team, it looked as if he had found the perfect fit in Indiana State, but money always speaks.

The Pacers could certainly replace their productions if they decided to leave, but the toughest decision on the roster was a long time ago. It’s the elephant in the room – Turner or Sabonis?

Such as Tristan Tucker recently mentioned-This front yard pairing is over. While Pritchard reiterated that the two big men could take their time, it simply didn’t work out. Sabonis and Turner’s two-man lineup yielded a net rating of -2.3, which was the fourth-worst of the team’s top 15 pairs. On/off reviews also revealed that the best option going forward is to split the Turbonis experience.

Both players excel on one side of the ball. Sabonis fueled the Indiana offensive, scoring ten triple-doubles this season. he is too I scored 48 double my husband In only 62 matches. Turner was on track to break the record for most blocks in a season before his injury went out of his way. He still leads the league in every game (3.4) for the second time in the past three seasons.

For whatever reason, the numbers didn’t translate into the team’s success. With both players on contract for at least the next two seasons, it’s time to trade one of them now. It’s a risky proposition, but the organization must deliver. The big question is which player should Indiana move? The Sabonis will probably generate more revenue but is also the most important piece on this list as it is currently built.

Having said all that, many teams like to get their hands on the center of the floor spacing that protects the edge. Turner’s name has been brought up in several pre-season commercial discussions. One of the ones that almost paid off was with the Boston Celtics, which centered around Gordon Hayward. Several front offices have already set their sights on putting together a package for the 25-year-old, with the Los Angeles Lakers high on the list of interested teams.

The last time Indiana drafted a lottery player was in 2015 when they picked Turner with the 11th pick. Oddly enough, he might be the one being handled to bring this team out of the middle.



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