The Curious Case of the Indiana Pacers

Aglets. You overlook them every single day.

Honestly, you’re probably thinking about Googling them right now so let me save you the trouble.

You overlook them every day. But trust me, when you try to thread a shoelace through that hole in the shoe without an aglet, it’s downright impossible!

That got me thinking, what are some of the other things that I overlook?

Here is a personal list of things I take for granted:

  • people taking me places in their car and using their gas
  • grocery stores full of food
  • the ability to post on social media wherever I am
  • the Indiana Pacers

Wait. What? Oh yeah, the Pacers. I used to take them for granted. They aren’t flashy at all, but if you are a basketball purist you won’t take them for granted either.

In case you haven’t heard, the Pacers lost their bonafide superstar to a crushing injury (Prayers for you Vic, you’re a baller), and despite getting absolutely no praise from the national media, have a 38-20 record.

That record is good for 3rd in the East and is ahead of teams like the Sixers and Celtics. I just recently predicted that the Bucks, Raptors, Sixers, and Celtics were the four best teams in the East, so where does that leave the Pacers?

Aglets are important. They save your laces. Much like aglets, there are three Pacers players who are keeping Indy relevant in a battle-hardened East.

More Myles!

Myles Turner is the best-kept secret in the league right now!

He is only 22 years old, averaging 2.7 blocks per game, and possesses a 100 defensive rating. (Yes, I know you just did a double-take. Please re-read the previous sentence)

A defensive rating of 100 is better than rim-protecting bigs such as JaVale McGee, Anthony Davis, and Clint Capela.

That defensive rating matches Rudy Gobert’s.

Do you want more?

Turner is hitting 40% from beyond the arc. He needs to shoot MORE! He’s only taking four threes a game. To put this in perspective, Joel Embiid also takes four threes a game and is shooting 29%. The Pacers should focus in on Turner’s smooth stroke. Unleash the beast!

Now, often people point to his rebounding (7 rebounds per game) and make some bogus argument claiming that Myles is a softie.

But this shows an ignorance of the Pacers defensive system under Dan Burke. Much like the Thunder, Indy has their big men defend the rim and attack the shooter. This strategy allows their physical forwards and guards to grab the rebound. It’s a much more team-oriented approach than just sending DeAndre Jordan to get 16 rebounds.

I think Turner’s rebounding would improve on a different team. Now I think there is some room for improvement. But this stat doesn’t mean Myles is soft.

Check the 2:58 mark. That block on Kuzma is nasty. Not soft. Angry actually.

Captaining one of the best defenses in the league (Indy gives up 102 ppg), Turner is playing vertical but also gets a bunch of little touch blocks due to sheer athleticism.

He showcased this ability a couple weeks ago against the Clippers.

He bothers shooters so much. In defense, it’s less about actually stopping the shot and more about just taking the offensive player out of their comfort zone. Turner is excellent at that.

Myles is awesome. The national media doesn’t cover him. Hey you, yah you, stop taking him for granted.

Bojan BogsomethingIcantpronounce

Bojan Bogdanovic is a really really efficient player.

He is a huge reason that the Pacers are shooting 36% from three. Many say the Pacers need to bomb from distance at a much higher rate, and looking at their efficiency I would tend to agree.

Bojan is impressive. He can LeBron smaller players if they get switched onto him, and also sprint around screens for open threes like a mini-Kyle Korver.

He’s also a defensive stalwart. He is probably the most attacked player by opposing teams. This season his defensive rating is 108. That’s incredible for someone that the other team gameplans to attack.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s not the best athlete, but Bojan is always in the correct spot and really thinks things through when rotating to help.

Not so Young-Youngblood

Consistency. That’s a word to define Thaddeus Young and his career. The dictionary agrees with me.

“Conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness. Everyone recognizes this on the basketball court in the form of Thad Young’s career.”

Okay, okay. I wrote that last part. But check these stats.

Eleven years in the league and Thad Young has NEVER played less than 63 games in a season. Not counting his rookie year, he has NEVER averaged less than 11 points and three rebounds. He has always averaged at LEAST 1 steal a game.

He’s known around the league as one of the ultimate professionals.

On top of that, he can guard five positions at 6’8 and is boasting a defensive rating of 104.

He’s a beast. He’s a consistent beast.

The Pacers aren’t flashy, and it’s sad they lost Victor Oladipo because they would have made the Eastern playoffs even tougher.

I wouldn’t count them out though. They’re the definition of tough, and these three players get taken for granted. They are doing extraordinary things in Indy, and it’s about time they started getting the credit they deserve.

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