Indiana Pacers: Climbing into the win column is the new normal?
The Indiana Pacers have played well in recent games and Myles Turner changes representation ahead of unrestricted free agency.
The Indiana Pacers finish a nice stretch of home games with a win against the Brooklyn Nets. They have beaten the Nets already this season and improved their record to 11-7 in doing so.
Now, Indiana is the 4th best team in the Eastern Conference and has won six of their last seven games. However, It isn’t always pretty. Slow starts have plagued this team over the last few weeks, but it hasn’t kept them out of games. No matter the deficit they find themselves in, a comeback has nearly been the case in each game, even if the result wasn’t a win.
When you have a rookie of the year candidate coming off the bench who can score and draw fouls to the degree Bennedict Mathurin can, anything is possible. He is averaging 19.4 points per game while shooting 44% from the field and 42% from deep. Oh, and does so in 28 minutes a game off the bench. So, yes he has been helpful and is a big reason why Indiana is able to stay in these big games that before the season we thought to be impossible.
We blamed the youth and lack of chemistry this group had for those predictions; the complete opposite has been true. This young group has been playing at a fast pace (tied for 7th in NBA) and there is clear chemistry on the floor and on the bench on a nightly basis. I’ve been thinking this for some time now, but this Pacers team is bound for at a minimum the play-in game, barring unforeseen trades. They're able to take punches from teams with big names and climb into games on the back of big momentum plays from everyone.
Myles Turner has been playing the best basketball of his career, as he said he would. The Pacers’ big man is averaging 18.9 points per game (career best), 8.4 rebounds (career best), and is shooting 57%from the field and 46.7% from deep. Oh, and he is also the league leader in blocks and blocks per game. Not bad.
His post-game has been most impressive thus far, being able to manipulate bigger defenders and score with touch while still spacing the floor with his three-ball. Then, his force on the defensive side of the ball has been to par with prior seasons which gave him the title of best shot blocker in the world.
While his future with Indiana is uncertain, I think the Pacers extending him would not be a bad idea simply due to what has elevated his production. Tyrese Haliburton is the league leader in assists and assists per game and has found a great connection with Turner early this season. Pair that with him having his role of full-time starting five and you have a career year for Turner (which it has been thus far).
There are too many factors to consider at this point, but Myles has recently changed representation ahead of his upcoming unrestricted free agency. CAA Sports, the same agency as Haliburton, will now represent him. Don’t read too much into that unless you want to.
The Indiana Pacers have lost just three of their last 13 games played and have done so without one of their better scoring options in Chris Duarte. Duarte provides depth on the wing and has the ability to stretch the floor when he is on. Nonetheless, Indiana keeps winning and I think Bennedict Mathurin’s early success has changed the trajectory of the season. The real test lies ahead, where Indiana will have a seven-game road trip out west.
They face the Clippers, Lakers, Kings, Jazz, Blazers, Warriors, and Timberwolves…
If Indiana can win half of those games, I think a playoff push is not unreasonable and the minimum puts them at a play-in spot. Making the play-in seems very possible at moment and as I said earlier, the only thing stopping that from happening is a trade. Now, if the Pacers go 2-5 on this trip I still think they can be a play-in team. I think you would need an “emergence” from a player of Duarte’s caliber to be a consistent scoring threat — not impossible.
When you have a career year from Myles Turner in the works, a Rookie of the Year candidate in Bennedict Mathurin, and an All-Star in Tyrese Haliburton, climbing into the win column is more than possible.