The Pacers were known as one of the best teams in ABA history, winning 3 championships in the 70s. In the era of the NBA, the Pacers have yet to bring a Championship trophy to Indiana. The Pacers had only had one chance back in 2000 to win an NBA title but were defeated by the Lakers.
The Indiana Pacers haven’t been gifted with the greatest scorers in history. But, they have made some mistakes that could have led to having one. For example, In 1980, the Pacers traded Alex English to the Nuggets for former ABA star- George McGinnis. McGinnis was far out of his prime and did not perform very well in his return to a Pacers uniform. While Alex English went on to become one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.
Later on came the Era of Reggie Miller, the most impactful player in Indiana Pacer history. From 1987-2005, Reggie Miller spent his entire 18-year career in a Pacer uniform and made this team the most competitive it has ever been. They were actually regarded as the best team in the league for a few years in the early 2000s. The “Malice in the Palace” documentary on Netflix is a great doc to watch if you want to learn more about the Reggie Miller teams.
After that were the years of Paul George in Indiana. 2010-2017. The Pacers built some solid teams around PG13 in Indiana and became one of the top teams in the East. They only had one problem, their arch-nemesis the Miami Heat, who defeated the Pacers multiple times in the playoffs.
Most recently the Pacers are building their team around All-Star Domantas Sabonis & former Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon. They’ve been able to stay pretty competitive for the past few years but weren’t able to make it to the playoffs last season. With the addition of Caris Levert and the return of TJ Warren, I can see this team making a run back into the playoffs this season.
This list consists of the top 10 PPG scorers in Indiana Pacer history.
No. 1 may surprise you…
10. Paul George - 18.1 PPG
(7 seasons, 2010-2017)
The name Paul George will forever be praised in Indiana. In 7 seasons, PG13 led the Pacers to the playoffs 5 times, and the Eastern Conference Finals twice. If it wasn’t for the Big 3 in Miami, this team could have made it to the finals.
Paul George didn’t take the league by storm his rookie year. He averaged only 7.8 PPG in his rookie season and then 12.1 PPG the next year. It wasn’t until his third season that he started to make a name for himself, averaging around 20 PPG for the next few seasons.
Unfortunately, he experienced a gruesome injury in 2015, breaking his leg in a Team USA exhibition game. Surprisingly, he came back from this injury even better than before and played two more seasons for Indiana. Paul George then decided to request a trade, looking to join forces with another All-Star and try and compete for an NBA championship.
9. Reggie Miller - 18.2 PPG
(18 seasons, 1987-2005)
The greatest Pacer in history, Mr. Clutch. Reggie Miller is known as one of the best 3 point shooters of all time. He shot 40% from the 3 Point line throughout his entire career and ranks third for total 3 pointers made.
The only reason he’s low on this list is because he spent his entire career in Indiana, so his averages were lower in his first couple of seasons and then dropped toward the end of his career. During his prime years he averaged around 20 PPG & in his best season he averaged 24.6.
Pacer fans absolutely loved watching this guy play because he would go out and give it his all every single night. Reggie knew how to talk trash and back it up. He had countless situations getting into scuffles with players and hecklers. One of his most legendary moments was when he scored 25 points in the 4th quarter versus the Knicks and gave Spike Lee the notorious “choke taunt”. Oh, & not to mention he scored 8 points in 9 seconds to finish off that game.
8. Billy Knight - 18.4 PPG
(8 seasons, 1974-1982)
Billy Knight spent his early career playing for the Pacers in the ABA. He averaged all the way up to 28.1 PPG in the ABA, and then was able to maintain his high scoring by averaging 26.6 PPG in the first year that the ABA merged with the NBA.
His numbers took a little bit of a drop after that, but Billy Knight remained a great player for the Pacers for many years.
7. Jermaine O’Neal - 18.6 PPG
(8 seasons, 2000-2008)
Jermaine was drafted 17th overall to the Trail Blazers and the organization had high expectations for him, but he was never given a real chance to shine. He was drafted straight out of high school at the age of 18 and put in a backup position where he wasn’t even able to scratch 15 minutes a game. Luckily enough, Jermaine O’Neal was able to revive his career in Indiana after four disappointing seasons in Portland.
Portland wasn’t putting him to any use, so the Pacers decided to take a shot with Jermaine and ended up making a smart decision. Jermaine immediately made an impact in Indiana becoming a 20 PPG scorer and dominant shot blocker. Jermaine was a 6-time All-Star during his time in Indiana.
In the early 2000s this Pacers team with Jermaine, Reggie Miller, Ron Artest, and Stephen Jackson was one of the best teams in the entire league.
6. Malcolm Brogdon - 18.9 PPG
(2 seasons, 2019-2021)
2016 Rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon recently joined the Pacers in 2019. He jumped into a much more pertinent role in Indiana and his numbers have seen an uptick. Brogdon is an extremely efficient player, coming very close to 50/40/90 status almost every season.
At 6’5 230, he bullies other point guards in the paint and can also hit from outside the arch. Last season he has really started to prove himself as a scorer, improving his PPG to 21.2. He’s also got a high basketball IQ and only averages 2.1 turnovers per game.
5. Clark Kellogg - 18.9 PPG
(5 seasons, 1982-1987)
No, not the inventor of Kellogg’s cornflakes, but Indiana Pacer - Clark Kellogg. Clark was drafted 8th overall to the Pacers. He was set out in 1982 to become the league’s next breakout superstar.
During his short career in Indiana he put up some great numbers, but the team didn’t perform so well. In his 3 full seasons, the Pacers record was 68-178.
In his fourth season, he started having chronic knee issues and was forced to retire at only 25 years old. Clark then converted his career into a basketball analyst/commentator.
4. Chuck Person - 19.0 PPG
(6 seasons, 1986-1992)
Chuck Person had a solid career in Indiana. He was selected fourth overall in 1986 to the Pacers. He became the rookie of the year after averaging 18.8 PPG and 8.3 RPG in his rookie season. In his best season with the Pacers, he averaged 21.6 PPG.
Chuck Person went on to coach for 17 years after his NBA career. His coaching career outlived his playing career, but it came to a halt when Chuck was caught in a scandal that involved bribing players. Fortunate enough, he was only sentenced to probation and 200 hours of community service for his wrongdoings. Chuck was regarded as a good Person around the community with a long record of giving to charity, so the judge let him off without having to serve any prison time.
3. Mel Daniels - 19.4 PPG
(6 seasons, 1967-1973)
Mel Daniels started his career in 1967, the year the ABA formed. He was a dominant big man during his time in the ABA averaging 19.4 PPG and 16 RPG. Mel Daniels was a 2-time ABA MVP, 3-time ABA champion, and the all-time leading rebounder in ABA history.
He went on to play in Italy for a single season and then tried to make a return to the league after the ABA merged with the NBA. He lasted for 11 games before being waived and then made the decision to retire.
2. George McGinnis - 19.6 PPG
(7 seasons, 1971-1975 1979-1982)
George McGinnis is one of the most well-known players in Indiana Pacer history. He led the Pacers to win their 3 ABA championships averaging in the high 20s in PPG. In his best season, George averaged 29.8 PPG.
He left Indiana to play elsewhere for a while but ended up making a return late in his career. George wasn’t the same player he was in his earlier years, but he still helped contribute for a few seasons.
1. Victor Oladipo - 20.6 PPG
(4 seasons, 2017-2020)
Victor Oladipo was a part of the trade that sent Paul George to OKC. The Pacers also received Domantas Sabonis in that deal, so I’d say they came out pretty well.
In Victor’s first season in Indiana, he averaged 23.1 PPG and also received the Most Improved Player award. After some mediocre seasons in Orlando and OKC, he was placed in a role that suited him perfectly. Victor had proven himself to be a consistent 20 PPG scorer in Indiana.
After he dealt with some injuries over the next few seasons, Indiana decided to move on from him. The Pacers included Victor Oladipo in the massive 4-team deal that sent James Harden to Brooklyn and Victor to the Rockets. The Pacers received Caris Levert from the Nets, which was a pretty fair swap, and honestly, I think the Pacers came out better off in this trade. Victor didn’t last long in a Rockets uniform and was traded to the Miami Heat after only 20 games.
Despite the injuries, Victor Oladipo had some great moments in Indiana. And he can also say that he is the leading scorer in Pacer history…
Most Points in Indiana Pacer History
And in case you were wondering, here’s a top 10 list for most total points scored by players in Pacer history:
1. Reggie Miller - 25,279
2. Rik Smits - 12,871
3. Billy Knight - 10,780
4. Roger Brown - 10,058
5. Jermaine O’Neal - 9,580
6. Danny Granger - 9,571
7. George McGinnis - 9,545
8. Vern Fleming - 9,535
9. Mel Daniels - 9,314
10. Freddie Lewis - 9,257