33-37 • 9th in EASTERN CONFERENCE
|G||24||N/A||6' 0"||185 lbs||UCLA|
|G||26||N/A||6' 6"||205 lbs||MICHIGAN|
|G||21||N/A||6' 5"||190 lbs||DUKE|
|F-C||25||N/A||6' 11"||240 lbs||GONZAGA|
|F||29||N/A||6' 7"||225 lbs||CREIGHTON|
|G||25||N/A||6' 4"||196 lbs||XAVIER|
|C-F||21||N/A||6' 11"||250 lbs||N/A|
|F||28||N/A||6' 7"||214 lbs||ST. JOHN'S (NY)|
|G-F||28||N/A||6' 5"||180 lbs||CONNECTICUT|
|F-G||32||N/A||6' 6"||180 lbs||WASHINGTON|
|F||25||N/A||6' 5"||230 lbs||BUTLER|
|G||28||N/A||6' 5"||229 lbs||VIRGINIA|
|C-F||25||N/A||6' 11"||250 lbs||TEXAS|
|F-G||22||N/A||6' 8"||210 lbs||SYRACUSE|
|G||29||N/A||6' 1"||190 lbs||ARIZONA|
|F||27||N/A||6' 8"||220 lbs||NORTH CAROLINA STATE|
Prior to the start of the season, the Indiana Pacers did not make too many changes to their roster from the previous year. A few pieces that were moved and added, but all in all, the Pacers came into the 2020-21 season with pretty much the same lineup.
That all changed, however, in mid-January with the Pacers taking part in the four-team blockbuster deal centered around James Harden. The Pacers said goodbye to Victor Oladipo, whose final two seasons with Indiana were unfortunately characterized by injuries. The Pacers sent the two-time All-Star to the Houston Rockets, and in exchange, Indiana acquired an able replacement in Caris LeVert, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets.
LeVert's arrival in Indiana puts him in a prime position to be one of, if not the team's primary weapon on offense. We all know that the 26-year-old can put the ball in the basket, and it appears that he'll be given the greenest of green lights in Indiana. It will be interesting if LeVert really has what it takes to be a star in the NBA now that he's no longer playing under the shadow of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
During a physical prior to the trade being finalized, a small mass was discovered on his kidney. LeVert underwent cancer surgery to remove the mass and is expected to make a full recovery.
When healthy, LeVert should slot into the starting lineup as a like-for-like replacement for Oladipo, joining Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner. Guys like Aaron Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, Doug McDermott, and Goga Bitadze will all play a significant role as part of the squad's second unit.
The Pacers were a highly-effective team on the offensive end during the 2019-20 season. So much so that they were able to amass a 112.0 offensive rating throughout the campaign, which impressively ranked ninth in the entire league.
Indiana did not score the most points on a per-game basis. As a matter of fact, their 109.4 points per game ranked just 23rd in the NBA. However, they more than made up for their lack of field goal attempts (88.5 per game - ranked 18th) with their excellent efficiency from the floor. The Pacers were third in this particular category last season, behind only the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks, as they averaged 47.6 percent from the floor.
Indiana did not rely heavily on their long-distance shooting last season. In fact, they attempted just 28.0 triples per game, which was dead last in the NBA. Their 10.2 three-pointers made per contest was 29th in the league. The Pacers shot 36.3 percent from behind the arc (14th).
Something this team will want to work on in the 2020-21 season is their ability to get to the line. Last term, they took just 19.1 free-throws per game, which ranked 30th in the league. They were a relatively efficient team from the stripe, though, making 78.7 percent of their free-throws (12th).
One thing the Pacers did really well in 2019-20 was moving the ball around. They ranked seventh in the entire league in terms of assists, notching 25.9 dimes per game as a team.
The Pacers were an outstanding defensive team last season. They held their opponents to just 107.5 points per game which was third in the NBA. They allowed opposing teams to attempt 88.5 shots per game (15th), but they were able to hold them to just 44.6 percent shooting (sixth).
Similarly, Pacers opponents were able to take an average of 33.6 three-point attempts per contest (18th). However, Indiana locked down their opponents on these attempts, holding them to 34.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc (fourth).
Indiana committed the least fouls in the entire league on a per-game basis with 18.8 times per contest. This resulted in 21.6 free-throw attempts for the opposing teams (ninth).
The Pacers' main weakness on defense was their lackluster rebounding. As a unit, they collected just 42.8 boards per game, which was just 24th in the NBA. Their 34.1 defensive rebounds per contest ranked 20th in the league. The fact that their starting big man, Myles Turner, averaged just 6.6 rebounds per contest last season, is an undeniably significant factor here.
In his defense, Turner did swat 2.1 shots per game in 2019-20, which was a huge chunk of his team's average of 5.2 blocks per game (11th).
Indiana also forced opposing teams to 14.7 turnovers per game (13th) behind 7.4 steals per contest (20th).
All in all, the Pacers managed a defensive rating of 109.2, which at 13th in the NBA wasn't bad at all. However, they were unceremoniously eliminated by the Miami Heat in an embarrassing four-game sweep in the first round, and it goes without saying that their defense had at least something to do with that highly disappointing result.
There are currently four first-year coaches in the NBA. One of them is the Indiana Pacers' Nate Bjorkgren.
The Pacers front office parted ways with Nate McMillan in the offseason after what turned out to be another disappointing 2019-20 season. McMillan served as Indiana's head coach for four seasons, and in his place, the team decided to gamble on a rookie coach for the new campaign.
Bjorkgren, a 45-year-old native of Storm Lake, Iowa, has been an assistant coach in the NBA before taking on the head coaching post in Indiana. Bjorkgren served as a player development coach and an assistant with the Phoenix Suns between 2015 and 2018. He then joined the Toronto Raptors as an assistant to Nick Nurse for two seasons, including that memorable title run in 2019.
Bjorkgren currently has four assistant coaches listed in his staff: Kaleb Canales,Tyler Marsh, Greg Foster, and Calbert Cheaney.
Indiana's most recent signing comes in the form of 6-foot-5 small forward Kelan Martin. The Pacers signed Martin to a two-year deal worth $3 million as they look to add some depth in their wing.
Martin, who went undrafted in 2019, played with the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. The former Butler standout averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in 16.0 minutes off the Wolves bench.
The Pacers did sign a couple of players after Martin -- mostly on two-way or Exhibit-10 deals -- but all have since been waived by the team.
The Pacers did not do much in the offseason in terms of beefing up its squad via free agency. As a matter of fact, their only free agent signing during the break came in the form of 6-foot-5 small forward Kelan Martin.
Martin, who went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, played his debut season with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2019-20. In 31 games, the former Butler standout averaged 6.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per contest
Martin signed with Indiana on a three-year deal worth $2 million.
The Pacers were not expected to be very active in free agency during the offseason, and this turned out to be the case for them. Nevertheless, they were also linked with a number of free agents, including Jae Crowder, Harry Giles, and Rajon Rondo.
The Pacers was one of four teams involved in the blockbuster trade that saw James Harden take his talents to the Brooklyn Nets. As part of the deal which also involved the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana parted ways with two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo, who is now a member of the Rockets. In exchange, the Pacers acquired the services of 26-year-old swingman Caris LeVert.
In a bizarre turn of events, a small mass was discovered in LeVert's left kidney, which caused a significant delay in his Indiana debut. The good news is that the 6-foot-6 guard/forward is expected to make a full recovery and play a key role for the Pacers once he is able to return to the court.
LeVert had a breakout season with the Nets in 2019-20, averaging 18.7 points (on 42.5 percent shooting), 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.2 steals, while also connecting on 1.8 triples per game on a respectable 36.4-percent clip.
Since being established in 1967, the Pacers franchise has won the championship three times. All of these, however, came when the team was still in the ABA (1970, 1972, and 1973). The Pacers officially made the move to the NBA in 1976 during the historic merger, and if we're talking exclusively about the NBA era, there is one particular Pacers roster that stands out.
In the NBA era, Indiana has been to the Finals just once during their unforgettable 1999-00 season. Led by the great Reggie Miller, the Pacers won 56 games in the regular season to finish first in the Eastern Conference. They then went all the way to the Finals, where they would lose to Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Along with Miller, Mark Jackson, Jalen Rose, Dale Davis, and Rik Smits comprised Indiana's starting five that year. They had guys like Austin Crochere, Travis Best, Sam Perkins, Derrick McKey, Al Harrington, and a 36-year-old Chris Mullin.
None other than the legendary Larry Bird was head coach of that memorable Pacers side.
Per Spotrac, the Pacers enter the 2020-21 season with a total cap of $128.1 million. This puts them over the cap by a good $18.9 million.
Nearly 70 percent of Indiana's total cap is accounted for by the salaries of just five players: Malcolm Brogdon ($20.7 million), Domantas Sabonis ($19.8 million), Myles Turner ($18 million), the newly-recruited Caris LeVert ($16.2 million), and TJ Warren ($12 million). Combined, these five players will earn $86.7 million in 2020-21.
Other players earning a significant sum this season include Jeremy Lamb ($10 million), Doug McDermott ($7.3 million), and Justin Holiday ($5.7 million).
The early-season swap between Victor Oladipo and Caris LeVert is expected to have a significant impact on Indiana's rotation. While this like-for-like swap will likely require LeVert to take on most of Oladipo's minutes, there's no denying that there will be at least some change in the dynamics of the squad.
That being said, the Sixth Man role could be up for grabs for Indiana. The Holiday brothers, Aaron and Justin, had strong starts to the 2020-21 campaign, and the same can also be said about Doug McDermott. However, as it is, it appears that the Sixth Man role could fall in the lap of the returning Jeremy Lamb.
Lamb, who took nearly one year to rehab a torn ACL, wasn't able to make his season debut until Jan. 20. Nevertheless, he should emerge as a key player for the Pacers' second unit once he gets fully up to speed.
In his first year in Indiana last season as a starter, Lamb averaged 12.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 steals in 28.1 minutes per game.
With T.J. Warren out until late March and Lamb filling in the starting lineup, McDermott and Aaron Holiday get the nod here.
The Pacers were involved in a blockbuster four-team trade that centered around James Harden making the move from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets. For their part, Indiana sent two-time All-Star Victor Oladipo to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert, who is expected to be inserted into the starting lineup once he is able to overcome his kidney issue.
LeVert is expected to take over Oladipo's spot as Indiana's starting shooting guard playing alongside Malcolm Brogdon in the backcourt. T.J. Warren will operate in the wing, while the fearsome duo of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner will continue to serve as the squad's starting frontcourt.