With a mostly-new roster, which Indiana Pacers are on the hot seat as the team tries to crack the Eastern Conference top 4?
The Indiana Pacers are coming off two seasons where the only thing similar between the two is the identical 48-34 won-lost record and first-round playoff exit.
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In 2017-18, the team was expected to end up in the lottery, but Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis emerged as stars, the Pacers snagged the fifth seed and there are plenty of Pacers fans who will go to their grave believing the league rigged the playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers to ensure that LeBron James got another trip to the NBA Finals.
On the whole, fans were thrilled at the wild ride and expected even better the following year.
In 2018-19, a catastrophic injury to Oladipo turned what was at that point a season on pace for 55 wins into a much more disappointing feeling when, including a first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics, Indiana lost 13 of their last 17 games.
The same fans who were thrilled with 48 wins the year prior found a repeat performance infuriating.
But most of the roster from last year’s team is gone — only Oladipo, Sabonis and Myles Turner remain to make up the core of a team anyone from last year would recognize.
Everyone else is either an acquisition by free agency or trade or else they’re part of a recent crop of promising but underachieving draft talent from the past two years.
Everyone on this roster has their own big questions to answer, but these three Pacers face the biggest questions of all.