Well, that’s all she wrote for the Indiana Pacers this season. The hickory hopefuls have been mathematically eliminated from NBA playoff contention. But let’s take a look at some of the best moments of the Pacers’ season.
The veteran T.J. McConnell
Many casual fans undervalue the importance of having a positive veteran presence in a team’s locker room. However, Pacer fans witnessed the impact of T.J. McConnell first-hand this season. When starting point guard Tyrese Haliburton missed a handful of games due to injury, McConnell was expected to carry the load. McConnell averaged 8.5 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds per game while Haliburton was active. With Haliburton sidelined, T.J. McConnell’s numbers skyrocketed to 14 points, 8 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. McConnell was also the key factor in the Pacers’ victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 31. In a news conference after the Thunder game, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle praised McConnell for his pesky defense and gritty playing style, saying “he just had the motor running” and that McConnell was the key “facilitator on offense.”
Myles Turner returns to the Indiana Pacers
For the past few seasons, Pacers big man Myles Turner has been a subject of trade talks, holdout conspiracies, and even of possible retirement. This season, however, Turner came back healthier than before. He played in 62 games this season, averaging 18 points, 7.5 rebounds, and nearly 2.5 blocks per game. Pacers fans were heartbroken with the departure of Domantas Sabonis because Turner’s health had been in question for the past few seasons. However, Turner’s ferocious defense, rim protection, and ability to stretch the floor (albeit inconsistently) kept the playoff hopes alive for the Pacers on more than one occasion. Fans witnessed him do it for almost an entire season in a respectable fashion.
Drafting Benedict Mathurin
The second-greatest moment of the season was the team drafting Benedict Mathurin during the 2022 NBA Draft even before the season started back in November. Mathurin has been a breakout star and Rookie of the Year hopeful, averaging 16.6 points per game on 56.6% true shooting. Mathurin has shown flashes of being a franchise player this season with a lot of upside. Many believe that Mathurin is a gem for the Indiana Pacers that will pay off in the long run.
Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers
Since joining the Pacers near the end of last season, Tyrese Haliburton has shown himself to be a facilitating marvel this year. Currently, Haliburton averages nearly 21 points, 4 rebounds, and a league-leading 10 assists per game. Haliburton also received his first all-star selection in February. The best part of the acquisition is the age youth of Tyrese Haliburton. The star guard has plenty of game left. It is evident that Haliburton is the future of the Indiana Pacers franchise for many years to come.
Handful of Picks
The Pacers also hold multiple draft picks. In recent years, the Pacers have turned draft picks into players such as Benedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and Chris Duarte. With first-round draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics as well as second-rounders from the Houston Rockets, the Indiana Pacers have a realistic chance of securing more generational talent in the draft this June.
Pacers fans are looking forward to the team being a playoff contender within the next two seasons.
Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Contact him via email at NoralP@IndyRecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.