NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers – Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #7: Indiana Pacers

Compared to some of the teams on this list, the season that the Pacers had offered more optimism than many had coming into the year. Tyrese Haliburton was named to the all-star team, Benedict Mathurin had a great rookie year, and even players like Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith, both of whom didn’t have much hype, established themselves as rotation players.

Even with a great creator at point guard, the Pacers limped to just 26th in net rating in the NBA. They stagnated on offense for too many stretches this year, while also not having the personnel necessary to field a competent defense even with Myles Turner inside.

Still, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the team, even if they won’t make much playoff noise next year. Another year in the Haliburton offense, with the addition of more shooters and wing defenders, should help plays like these go from highlights to regular occurrences:

A lottery pick, more internal development, and some potential low-level free agent additions should be enough to keep Indiana in the running for the play-in spot. With Rick Carlisle and Tyrese Haliburton at the helm of the offense, it shouldn’t be too long before the Pacers are back to playoff relevance.