The Indiana Pacers are coming off a very surprising season. Nobody thought they were going to be that good that fast, but coach McMillan truly put together a strong, young, promising group that could compete for many years to come.
Add a couple of reinforcements to the mix and you’ll have a dark horse in the Eastern Conference for sure, especially when Victor Oladipo is finally ready to come back after suffering that gruesome injury.
So, without further talking, let’s go ahead and discuss the projected starting lineup for the Indiana Pacers as they try to build on last year’s success and compete at an even higher level this season:
Bench: TJ McConnell, Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, Goga Bitadze, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, TJ Leaf
Point Guard: Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon is one of the most underrated players in the league. He’s not exactly an entertainer, but he’s just what the Pacers need to take some pressure off of Victor Oladipo’s shoulders once he’s ready to come back at full strength.
Brogdon can play on and off the ball as equally as effective. He can knock down threes, and his length helps him match up vs. bigger players as well. He’s a bit of a swiss-army knife that can do a little bit of everything on the court, so he’ll be a major addition for them for sure.
Shooting Guard: Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo is the face of this franchise following the Paul George era. The Pacers are hoping he can keep on his great performances from last season and become the perennial All-Star he can be, but he must come back from injury first.
Oladipo’s likely to miss an important part of the season and there’s likely going to be some rust there, but once he’s back at full strength, he’ll pick up things where he left them as one of the most promising two-way combo guards in the world.
Small Forward: TJ Warren
TJ Warren was a perfect fit for the Indiana Pacers. He’s long, strong, and athletic enough to match up vs. some of the best scorers in the league. Defensive-wise, he has the potential to be a ton of help to hide Domantas Sabonis’ flaws at that end of the floor.
Obviously, Warren isn’t the most prolific scorer you’ll find, but he’s skilled enough to create off the dribble if needed, and he won’t be asked to he this team’s go-to-guy anyway. If he improves his stroke from three, he’ll be a solid 3-and-D player.
Power Forward: Domantas Sabonis
Domantas Sabonis lacks the range of modern power forwards and the size to play at the five, but he makes up for it with his efficiency, basketball IQ, and ability to finish below the rim. He’s a walking double-double threat every night out there.
Sabonis isn’t the ball handler and playmaker his father Arvydas was, but he’s got true All-Star potential as a prolific and effective scorer in the paint. Also, his presence allows Myles Turner to play near the perimeter and knock down threes.
Center: Myles Turner
Myles Turner has the skillset to become one of the best, most dominant two-way big men in the league. He can lead the NBA in blocks and knock down three-pointers with ease and is a virtually flawless player that could really take a step forward this season.
However, there are serious concerns about his drive and feel for the game, as he tends to turn off the intensity from time to time and disappear through stretches of the season. Hopefully, he’ll put an end to that narrative and finally dominate this year.