Rapid risers: Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are one of four teams on the right trajectory
Happy Thanksgiving, TrueHoopers!
David Thorpe, in particular, is thankful for four teams on the rise: the Magic, Pacers, Rockets, and Thunder. A couple of these teams have new stars becoming household names. Three are helmed by youthful coaches who have a chance to be significant postseason decision-makers in the near future—starting now. A fourth coach, an experienced hand, has a ring to his credit.
So, over the Thanksgiving holiday, David Thorpe has been profiling each of these teams, looking at what’s behind their rapid—and, in a couple cases, earlier-than-expected—rise to relevancy. Of course, he also has lingering questions.
Today, David examines the Indiana Pacers. Behind dynamo Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers are running teams off the floor. But can they survive with zero defense?
Let’s talk turkey.
It all starts with a budding superstar
As I’ve said on our podcast, Haliburton, just 23, is the closest thing we’ve had to Steve Nash. He’s shot 40-plus percent from 3 in each of his three seasons; that’s no fluke. He’s only 6-5 and not an explosive athlete, so he’s expectedly not great at the rim. However, Haliburton is shooting nearly 55 percent from mid-range and 92 percent from the line—that’s a super-weaponized offensive machine. Combine that with good decision-making, gifted passing, elite handles, and a green light to do whatever he wants, he’s a nightmare for any defense.