When the Indiana Pacers started the 2013-14 NBA season at 9-0, everybody was ready to crown them as the new contenders to win the championship. But with several up and downs since that terrific start, it seems like the Pacers are quickly spiraling downward.
In fact, since the Pacers’ terrific 9-0 start, they have gone 43-23 and have lost six of their last eight games. While they remain at the top of the league in defense, the Pacers have struggled to score more than 80 points over their last six games. What’s even more troubling is the list of teams they’ve been losing to, including the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers — two teams that are well below the .500 mark.
There is also discord amongst the players in the locker room. Center Roy Hibbert indicated that the Pacers have selfish players on the team, which would explain the lack of chemistry. One of the selfish players that Hibbert could be implying is the newly acquired Evan Turner. Turner — a third year guard out of Ohio State University — was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Pacers on Feb. 20. Indiana also unloaded team veteran Danny Granger to acquire Turner’s services in the deal.
Since the trade, Turner is averaging seven points, two rebounds and two assists in 20 games with the Pacers. That’s a far cry from his 17 points, six rebounds and three assists he averaged in Philadelphia. Basically, Turner went from a future star with the dismal 76ers, to an average player with the Pacers.
Indiana’s biggest problem as of late is their lack of spacing on the floor. This makes it easier on any defense that is trying to crowd the ball. It also keeps the Pacers out of the paint, which forces them to take deep shots. They need to go back to what was working early on — spacing the floor and getting the ball to big men Hibbert and David West in the paint. This would also create easier shots and open up lanes for players such as Turner, Lance Stephenso, and All-Star Paul George.
Ultimately, the Pacers picked a very bad time to regress. They fought most of the season for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and now lost that to the Miami Heat and have fallen to No. 2. If they continue to play selfishly and fail to find any chemistry moving forward, the Pacers can also expect an early exit in the playoffs as well.