The Indiana Pacers persisted in an up-and-down season to salvage a 48-34 record. Their resilience, among other factors, brought them back to the playoffs as the fifth seed for a second straight year.
In their first season after LeBron James‘ departure from the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers fought hard, edged out tough wins and finished with a 48-34 record as they did during the 2017-18 season. They even managed a good portion of those wins without Victor Oladipo, who was lost to injury in January. Despite their early exit from the 2019 NBA Playoffs, they kept things close in each game, suffering just one double-digit loss against the Boston Celtics.
It’s hard to tell if this team made strides from the previous season, since the rest of the East’s prominent stars in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving, have still managed to hold the spotlight and propel their respective teams to top seeds in the playoffs. A fully healthy Kawhi Leonard super-charging the Toronto Raptors certainly made it tougher to stand out in the conference as well.
But for what it’s worth, this season showed the Pacers’ sustainability, how they handle adversity and that Kevin Pritchard is establishing a unique culture in Indiana that makes this team an atypical foe on a night-to-night basis. Not being loaded with 3-point shooters, this Indiana Pacers team made defense its priority and is nurturing the talents of Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
Here are the takeaways from the 2018-19 season that should give promise to Indiana Pacers fans.