Kevin Pritchard and the Indiana Pacers were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last season, nearly knocking off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs. That success came after being forced to trade franchise player Paul George during the offseason.
Victor Oladipo became an All-Star back home in Indiana and the Pacers had a great team atmosphere. He was surrounded by talents like Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic, Cory Joseph, and Thaddeus Young. Lance Stephenson also played a big role for the Pacers last season.
That being said, the Pacers are returning all of those key players except Stephenson. Pritchard knew that a couple moves needed to be made in free agency for the Pacers to compete for the Eastern Conference title. James heading to the Los Angeles Lakers has also opened up the East even more.
Indiana has quietly had a huge offseason that should make them a dangerous threat to teams like the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Bleacher Report has listed the Pacers as one of the teams with the best moves in free agency this offseason.
“To gain so much value while maintaining access to around $50 million in space next summer, even after accounting for Myles Turner’s restricted free-agency hold, is absurd. In doing so, the Pacers have struck the most delicate balance of all—especially for an overachiever like themselves. They’ve done a lot without doing too much.”
For those who have not followed the Pacers this offseason, they have made a few quality moves. Tyreke Evans was the prize free agency signing for Indiana and he will replace the void left by Stephenson. Indiana also went out and signed one of the best shooters in free agency, Doug McDermott.
Last, but certainly not least, the Pacers signed big man Kyle O’Quinn to replace Al Jefferson. O’Quinn is an extremely underrated pickup for Indiana, who will bring some scoring and defense to the second unit.
Nate McMillan will have a better and deeper roster than he had last season. His entire starting lineup is back and the Pacers will have a much better bench unit with a lot more scoring to work with.
It will be fun to watch the Pacers’ development this season. They have quite a few young players who will take their games to the next level in the 2018-19 season. Add in the free agency acquisitions and Indiana might end up making a leap from the 48-win season that they had last year.
Expect to see Evans, McDermott, and O’Quinn make a major impact this coming season. Pritchard made some key moves this offseason, but the Pacers are still in great shape to make a splash next offseason should they choose to do so.