The Pacers are entering year one without Paul George, but that doesn’t mean the team will slide out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference, according to the franchise’s longest tenured player.
“I feel like we’re definitely going to be overlooked this year,” Myles Turner said (via Matthew VanTyron of the Indianapolis Star). “A lot of people look at us as young team that’s going to rebuild, but we’re a young team that’s trying to compete. We’ve got a lot of guys who can come in and make an impact right away. I expect to make the playoffs this year.”
Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com projects Indiana to finish 11th in the conference and earn a lottery appearance, something that’s only happened once since the team drafted George back in 2010.
Pelton foresees the team struggling on offense and it’s easy to see why. Scour the roster for a No. 1 scorer. Will Victor Oladipo expand his game? How about Darren Collison? Should either Lance Stephenson or Bojan Bogdanovic lead a team in shots?
The questions on offense will likely persist all season, though that alone doesn’t mean a playoff birth is inconceivable. The Eastern Conference appears weaker than it has in several years and somewhere between 35 and 40 games could be enough to lock in a lower seed. Pelton projects the team to get 32 wins this season, a total that’s slightly behind his projections for the Magic, Sixers, and Pistons—the team that the statistician has in the conference’s eighth seed with just 35.1 wins in his simulations.
If the Pacers see just a few players outperform their expected output this season, the team could end up playing games that matter in April.
That leads us to tonight’s topic: Will the Pacers make the playoffs this season? If not, what moves can they make before the trade deadline to improve their chances? Please take to the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say!