The Indiana Pacers have adopted a new approach to team building. The franchise is embarking on a long-term plan that features more development and more youth instead of chasing small improvements each season. The front office diverged from their old ways in the hopes that it will lead to a higher wins ceiling in the future.
While they may be right about the ceiling being higher going forward, their new plan means that the team is entering a season with lower expectations than any season since perhaps as far back as the 1980s. The Pacers are young and growing, but they aren’t projected to win much this season — most oddsmakers foresee the blue and gold being one of the worst teams in the league.
The Pacers very rarely enter a season with such low projected win totals — the franchise has reached the postseason 25 times since 1990. Entering a season with a new perception about the team he built, Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard wrote a message to the Pacers fanbase just before the team’s first game.
“Our goal is ambitious, but we are excited about our direction,” his message reads, in part. “Through a series of trades, free agency, and the NBA Draft, we have fundamentally re-constructed our roster — in the process becoming younger, faster, and more athletic — while maintaining the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities where we can continue to add to our team.
The Pacers stressed adding athelticism and shooting during the offseason. That was evident in their summer moves, such as drafting athletic players and adding quality shooters at their position including Jalen Smith and Aaron Nesmith. Indiana is going to play a style that many fans will enjoy, even if it doesn’t lead to many wins.
“There will undoubtedly be some growing pains along the way. However, our players have an unwavering desire to learn and an undeniable joy for the game and each other that will be evident when you watch them compete,” Pritchard added in his statement.
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The Pacers fell on opening night to the Washington Wizards, and there were some clear signs that growing pains will exist this season. But two of their key young players, Bennedict Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton, shined. They combined for 45 points and nearly spearheaded a comeback.
Other young players, such as Smith and Terry Taylor, also had impressive nights. While it wasn’t all pretty — Indiana’s defense was especially poor — there were signs that the Pacers long term plan will be successful.
“Along with Coach Carlisle and his staff, we’re excited and optimistic about both the present and the future of this organization,” Pritchard shared.
You can read the full statement below.
The Pacers, who are currently 0-1, play a back-to-back this weekend at home against San Antonio and Detroit, two teams who may finish near the bottom of the standings. The team Pritchard built will have a great opportunity to show how fun they could be this season, and they could nab two wins to boot.
- Bennedict Mathurin shows off skills with 27 points versus Knicks: ‘Lot of potential’. CLICK HERE.
- Myles Turner injures ankle during pre-game warmups, expected to miss a few games. CLICK HERE.
- Deadline passes with no contract extensions for Indiana Pacers players Goga Bitadze and Buddy Hield. CLICK HERE.
- The latest on a potential Pacers and Lakers trade involving Russell Westbrook. CLICK HERE.
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