The Indiana Pacers have gone through a massive offseason of change, including the trade of superstar Paul George. It was not the route that Indiana thought they would be taking heading into the offseason, but general manager Kevin Pritchard was given no choice after George informed the team that he would not re-sign with them following the 2017-18 season.
After weeks of trade rumors and speculation, the Pacers traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Indiana may not have gotten a star in return for George, but they believe that both players will be major building blocks throughout the upcoming rebuilding process.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the national media has been looking at the Pacers as a pushover team. New face of the franchise, Myles Turner, does not believe that will be the case. He has made it clear in recent interviews that he believes the young Pacers will make the playoffs this season.
“I want to start establishing myself as a leader in this league and on this team,” he said. “I know I’m quite young compared to a lot of guys on this team, but the best time is to start young. I feel like we’re definitely going to be overlooked this year. A lot of people look at us as [a] young team that’s going to rebuild, but we’re a young team that’s trying to compete. We’ve got a lot of guys who can come in and make an impact right away. I expect to make the playoffs this year.”
Needless to say, those are high expectations to put on the Pacers this season. They are a young team that has not played together, which could mean a slow start to the season, but they could prove everyone wrong.
All of that being said, what bold predictions can be made for the Pacers heading into the 2017-18 season?
Myles Turner Will Be An All-Star
First and foremost, a big season is on the horizon for big man Myles Turner. He is expected to make a major leap now that George is gone. Indiana will give him every opportunity to put up big numbers, and he will do so and end up making the Eastern Conference All-Star game.
Lance Stephenson Will Win Sixth Man of the Year
There are very few bench players that will be asked to handle as large of a role as Stephenson will have in Indy this season. He will be the Pacers’ sixth man and will make a major impact. Stephenson will prove that he is indeed back to his old self and will win the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.
Victor Oladipo Will Average 20 Points Per Game
To all of those saying that the Pacers got nothing in return for George, Victor Oladipo will have something to say about that. Oladipo is a young player that has yet to come close to his full potential and that will change this season with a much larger role. He will average at least 20 points per game and give the Pacers a lethal back-court scorer.
Indiana Will Win 40 Games and Make the Playoffs
That’s right, Myles Turner’s prediction will end up coming true. They may not have Paul George, but they still have a lot of talent on their roster. Due to the weak Eastern Conference, 40 wins and a playoff appearance is very much a possibility.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers have a shot at making the playoffs? What are your thoughts about the other predictions? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Michael Conroy/AP Images]