Don’t Let the Indiana Pacers’ 7-4 Start Fool You. They Have Major Issues.

The Indiana Pacers have started this season 7-4 after clobbering the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-85 on Tuesday night. They have won seven of eight after starting the season 0-3, Domantas Sabonis has been in beast mode ever since Myles Turner got hurt, and Malcolm Brogdon has emerged as a genuine All-Star-caliber player now that he’s out of the shadow of Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Everything should be sunshine and lollipops, especially with Victor Oladipo engaging in full court practice with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants squad today, right? Wrong. Because behind that 7-4 facade is an edifice that isn’t on …

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Making Sense of the Indiana Pacers’ 3-Game Renaissance

The Indiana Pacers started the 2019-20 season 0-3 and fans started to wonder if perhaps the team should tank for the first overall draft pick, all while wondering before a single college basketball game that counts has yet been played who’s going to be this year’s Zion Williamson. Then Jeremy Lamb came back, Goga Bitadze learned practically overnight how to basketball, T.J. Leaf had a whole NBA game in which he managed to not suck, Malcolm Brogdon emerged as the MVP, and now the team is 3-3 and “we’re going to win the championship!” The reality is somewhere in the …

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T.J. Warren and the “Loser’s Mentality”

In the earliest days of my writing career, I covered boxing, specifically as a beat writer reporting on ESPN’s old Friday Night Fights series between 2011 and 2013 (and again during the 2015 season.) On that show, which featured up-and-coming fighters getting TV exposure on their way to a title shot, there were plenty of guys who built up gaudy records on the club circuit but could never translate that into success at even the “mid-major” (to put it in college basketball terms) level. Those guys, once they’d lost a few close decisions or been knocked out once or twice, …

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Hey Indiana Pacers! Nate McMillan Needs to be Fired. Now.

It is not normally considered good form to complain about the coach based on one game of an 82-game season. But for the Indiana Pacers, they should’ve fired Nate McMillan…well, they never should’ve hired him in the first place, but if last year wasn’t enough to convince them to take the franchise in a new direction leadership-wise, then what’s it going to take? And I don’t want to hear the argument “but they won 48 games!” Yes they did. Because they have a ton of talent that in the right hands with the right offense could win 60 in any …

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Domantas Sabonis: The Best Contract Extension in the NBA

The Indiana Pacers, after some saber rattling and a slew of trade rumors, signed Domantas Sabonis to a four-year contract extension Monday that, according to various reports, is good for something in the $75-80 million range with incentives. The Indianapolis Star reported $74.9 million, as did Shams Charania, so that’s the figure I’m going to go with for this piece. At that salary, and given Sabonis’ .197 WS/48 last year (the same as Karl-Anthony Towns and Kyrie Irving), that gives him a Wiggins Factor of 203.55, which is spectacular for a guy making star money—anything below 300 is good, 250 …

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Nate McMillan and the Pacers’ Culture of Good Enough

Welcome back to Pacers Tuesday, here for another season on Pace and Space! We begin this season with a reminder that unlike Pacers and Pacers-adjacent media, I am not here for Nate McMillan as the coach. I have written more than once about McMillan’s commitment to Dark Ages basketball, his aversion to the 3-pointer, and his tendency to get outcoached even by objectively lousy coaches like Tyronn Lue in the playoffs. But Pacers media loves the guy. Pacers media has always loved the guys who at best coach the team to a high-40s win total and a first-round playoff exit …

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The Pacers are the NBA’s Most Fragile Team

The Indiana Pacers went from a 57-win team to a 37-win team in as much time as it took Victor Oladipo‘s quadriceps tendon to tell coach Nate McMillan what it thought of the amount of time Oladipo got left in blowouts that should’ve gone to garbage time players long before. The Pacers went 25-11 in games in which Oladipo appeared. They were 23-27 without him, including an awful 6-15 in the last 21 games including the playoff sweep against Boston. In fact, they managed to lose to the Celtics six times in the space of a month. This year, Oladipo …

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Kevin Pritchard is the King of the NBA Offseason

A GM in a big NBA market like Los Angeles or New York is under tremendous pressure to bring home the truly epic prizes, guys like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant, and with all the advantages in the world, any fool can close the deal—the Lakers, after all, got LeBron James for no better reason than because LeBron wanted to be closer to his media empire during the season. A GM in a small NBA market has to operate on the margins, bringing in value talent, drafting well, and winning trades in order to build even a perennial first-round playoff …

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The Pacers’ 2019 Draft Has Something For Every Fan

To say Kevin Pritchard had a whirlwind of activity on draft night Thursday is to say that Dorothy got caught up in a light breeze on a calm Kansas evening. Normally that kind of capacity for understatement is reserved for British political leaders in the midst of a war. No, what Kevin Pritchard did was a full-scale, F5 tornado whirlwind of activity that saw the Pacers acquire a known commodity (T.J. Warren, one of those guys I love to watch play because when his shot starts falling he scores a lot of points in not a lot of time) for …

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The Pacers’ Point Guard Options Are All Terrible

The Indiana Pacers have so many trade and free agency rumors swirling around who is going to start at point guard when the 2019-20 season tips off that you could plug any name from the entire NBA into a Mad Libs and send it off for editing and readers would tweet it far and wide with no regard for its credibility. Part of this is because every offseason for every team at every position of need is like this and part of it is the simple fact that the Pacers, by virtue of Darren Collison being about to turn 32 …

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