It’s only preseason — many teams are working through issues, and teams are traveling to foreign countries to play basketball; but, the Indiana Pacers sporting an 0-3 record shows signs of greater issues.
The Pacers were not known for their scoring output last season, ranking 23rd in the NBA with 94.7 points per game. However, that issue was supposed to be fixed by the return of Danny Granger and the revamping of the bench. Three games in, and the Pacers’ scoring has actually gotten worse at 90 PPG.
Granger is still searching for his shot and he isn’t 100 percent healthy. Once he’s able to settle back in, the Pacers should see more 15-point games from Granger. When it comes to the rest of the bench however, they’ve failed to show an improvement over last season other than C.J. Watson.
But at least the defense hasn’t been affected, right? Nope, that has taken a step back too. The Pacers gave up 90.7 PPG last season, second-best in the NBA. But in this preseason thus far, the Pacers have allowed 101.7 PPG. More significant than that is the fact they’ve been out-rebounded in all three game, the lone area that they were the best in the NBA at.
In no way should preseason basketball cause anyone to jump off a bridge, especially with head coach Frank Vogel trying out new lineups and opposing players getting more playing time than the Pacers’ starters. But, it is somewhat of a bewilderment to see the Pacers play as badly as they have.
Whether it’s chemistry, lineups, jet lag or effort, the Pacers look like the team that started 8-8 last year, not the one who took the Miami Heat to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This is a “Championship or Bust” season for the Pacers and luckily, they have six more games before the losses begin to mean something.