It seems the major sports media outlets are doing their best to try and discredit the Indiana Pacers‘ franchise record setting start, and their go-to stat has to do with the Pacers’ strength of schedule. While the Pacers have had a pretty easy schedule to begin the year, it’s not been as easy as many might be led to believe.
First of all, the Pacers cannot control their schedule. Secondly, they cannot control how their opposition plays after they get done beating them. So when a team continues their dumbfounded downfall (I’m looking at you New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets), that shouldn’t be added to the case that when they initially played it was an easy matchup. Thirdly, the Pacers are a small market team so the lack of respect is not a huge surprise, but it’s becoming more noticeable across the NBA landscape and it doesn’t appear to be getting better.
I took the time to go through the Pacers’ schedule up to today and research what their opponents’ records were when the two teams met. Including the beginning of the season when the Pacers played two teams who were 0-0, they have played eight games against teams with .500 or better records. Then, add in the five games against teams who were one game under .500 and the “easy” schedule picture becomes a little more complicated.
Now I won’t disagree that the Pacers have had an easy schedule when it pertains to competition. The bizarro Eastern Conference isn’t even close to playing out how everyone thought it would. Many analysts picked the Chicago Bulls to finish ahead of the Pacers this season, but they are currently 7-8 and sixth in the Eastern Conference. And let’s not forget the big market boys out in the Northeast. The Nets and Knicks were supposed to be top 5 Eastern Conference teams, but they currently sit 13th and 14th respectively with a combined eight wins.
At this point it appears the Pacers could finish 81-1 and no one outside of Indiana would give the Pacers the respect they have earned. It’s pretty sad to try and tear down the best team in the NBA, but if the media thinks they must do it then they should probably do a little more research on the ammo they are going to use. And while they sit idly by the Pacers are going to continue doing their thing: winning.