The Team Nobody is Talking About; Why the Pacers Can Compete in the East

For whatever reason, this is a team that nobody has talked about going into the 2017-2018 season. After stealing the fifth seed in the East last year, they came about as close as possible to beating a team that would eventually make the Finals. They had plenty of young talent, and they only improved with this off-season. Despite the lack of attention, I think that this is a team with realistic odds at claiming the Eastern crown.

This is a team that was full of young talent last season. It’s best player, Victor Oladipo, broke out in a big way by setting career marks in scoring, assists, rebounds, and steals. He even led the league in takeaways, as he became one of the most solid perimeter defenders in the league. If he can improve even further, he could go from all-star to super-star in a flash. Plus improvement from their bigs, Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, along with continued sharpshooting from point-guard Darren Collison, they might have one of the best inside-outside offenses in the league. They might have the firepower this year to keep up with any team on any given night if they can put all of that talent together.

On top of their young core, they also made a couple moves that could really help their chances. Their biggest lose this off-season was Lance Stephenson. Although he was a talented two-way player, they more than made up for it with the acquisition of Tyreke Evans. He is a talented guard who can both create for himself and for others, and he could really bolster their offense. On top of that, they added more sharpshooting to their backcourt by drafting UCLA’s star Aaron Holiday. He has the potential to put up huge scoring numbers if given the chance, and, if. he can make himself into a half-decent defender, can even become a terrific player in this league. While some teams may have fallen into complacency after a surprisingly good year like the Pacer’s had, they reloaded themselves instead.

It wouldn’t be impossible for this team to backslide. Young teams are always a threat to falter, especially after they weren't supposed to be that good in the first place. Nothing is going to be given to Indianapolis, and they are going to have to work for any repeated success. The pieces are their for a deep run, though, so don’t be surprised to see them last two or three rounds come play-off time.