The Fan Reacts: Where Does This Pacers Team Rank Among All-Time Favorites?
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In September of last year, you didn't think this Pacers team had a chance to do anything besides battle for the lottery this season.
No one did. Maybe Mark Montieth. But other than that it was doom and gloom for 2017-2018. They had lost their best player, and on paper only received a slightly above average player in Victor Oladipo and an unknown in Domas Sabonis.
Fast forward to the final Sunday in March, and the Pacers have already clinched a playoff position with an opportunity to hold home court advantage in the first round of the postseason.
What a God-send they've been after a tough 16 weeks of Sundays in the fall.
We asked our followers on Twitter, plus our guys at The Fan where this team ranks among their all-time favorites, and here are some of the responses:
I Like This Pacers Team Better Than I Like The 2013-2014 Playoff Rin Pacers— Jeremy Tackett (@ColtsFanatic24) March 26, 2018
This is true x10000. Sure, the first 42 games were a hell of a lot of fun. BUT the second half of the season and postseason mess still keep me up some nights. All that drama. Sheesh. No thanks.
Right behind the 1999-2000 team.— Matt Jones (@thematt_jones1) March 25, 2018
Tough to beat the only team in franchise history to go to the NBA Finals. Fair point.
One of my favs for the fun and team chemistry. A good playoff run will put them in the #1 spot.— Steve-O! (@slicksteele) March 26, 2018
Very true. This team is already up there for what they've acheived despite low expectations. But if they can give us Pacers and Racers again in May? Watch out.
#1. I’ve watched 82 games a year for ten straight and I don’t recall having this much fun.— ptothehizard (@paulmicheal20) March 25, 2018
That's investing a lot of time right there. But hey, got to appreciate people who care to watch every game, right? Keeps us in business. Anyways, he's right. Whether they lose, it's in a valiant effort, and if they're down by 20 in the first half, guess what? They could very likely come back. What matters to us is that even if they don't, you know it won't be for a like of effort from this group.
I didn't get to watch Reggie till late. The teams with JO were good but didn't feel like Indiana teams. This team may not be super talented but since Reggie they're definitely the most fun to watch and represent Indiana the best.— Cody Fowler (@fowler2133) March 25, 2018
This is really interesting, and telling of how Indiana fans connect with their teams. The JO teams were good and talented, but they didn't feel like Indiana. I'd agree with that. Fans would rather have a blue-collar less talented team that they connect with than a squad full of egotistical divas who are really good.
David Dearing (@DD1070) - Producer of The Grady & Big Joe Show:
"For me, nothing will ever top the Pacers teams from 1994-2000. That was "my" team; my introduction to basketball as a young kid. My first Pacers memories are the memorable run in '94, and growing up with the team and watching them evolve over the next several seasons, all culminating in the run to the NBA Finals. It was Peak Pacers. People in our neighborhood had IndyStar articles and posters on their windows. Whenever I think of the Pacers, the first thought will always be the NBA on NBC theme, Racers & Pacers, and Hicks vs. Knicks.
But this team......this team might be my next favorite. Unlike some of the previous "groups" over the years, you can tell this team loves each other. They represent Indianapolis proudly. They're a deep team, and not relying on just one or two guys to do everything. In all honesty, I think one of the biggest reasons this team is so likable is because nothing was expected of them. Vegas had them winning 32 games, I myself thought I was being a homer by saying they'd win 37-38 games, and they've shattered both of those projections. They still have a collective chip on their shoulder despite the fact that they're playing with house money.
It's hard to put a definite slot on where this team ranks, simply because the ride is still going. But, as of now, I'm loving every minute of it, and hope this ride doesn't end for a long, long time."
Greg Rakestraw (@Gregrakestraw) - 107.5 FM & 1070 The Fan, Post-Game host on Colts Vectren Radio Network:
"Favorite in a long time, let's put it that way. '94 was like a comet, a great season and postseason run out of nowhere. Then you had '98, the one team that truly took a Jordan team to the limit in a postseason series. And I still love and hate the '05 team for getting one last great run out of Reggie, but throwing it all away in the brawl. We've all fallen in love again with the Pacers, that's this year's takeaway."
Joey Mulinaro (@JoeyMulinaro) - Producer of Kevin's Corner:
"I was a freshmen at Ball State in 2012-2013 when the Paul George-Roy Hibbert-David West era of Pacers was really starting to come together. That year was similar to this season in terms of the team's core was just so strong. They played with that underdog mentality, that togetherness that everyone has fell in love with about this team. No drama. No noise. Just a joy to watch night in and night out. Plus, that team dominated the Knicks in the playoffs, then pushed LBJ's Heat to the brink. If this squad can do anything similar to that, then they take my number one spot in recent memory over 2012-2013. (I was only 6 when they went to the Finals.)
Tony Donohue (@TonyD1070) - Producer of The Ride with JMV:
"This is my favorite Pacers team to watch. Not once have I been frustrated with this team for more than 24 hours. The bench celebrations and the way the team plays together makes it enjoyable to watch the road games, and makes it so much fun to cheer along at a game."
Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) - Multi-Media reporter 1070 The Fan:
"2017-18: We were debating if this team should tank or not back in September. Now, 6 months later, we are debating if they can get home court in the playoffs. For how bleak things looked when Paul George made his future intentions known back in the summer, it's incredible how much this team has exceeded expectations, while playing a style that fans have absolutely loved.
2012-13: How things would be different today if the Pacers had held on to their Game 4 lead at home over the Heat. The emergence of Paul George gave the Heat everything they wanted and more in a 7-game series in the Eastern Conference.
1999-2000: Any trip to the finals has to reign. With the days of MJ stopping the Pacers finally over, this Indiana team finally helped Reggie Miller earn the finals' trip he so long deserved."
Kyle Knezevich (@ProducerKyle) - Producer of The Dan Dakich Show:
"This is a tough one. I like to get nostalgic talking about my favorite sports teams, Pacers, Colts and Steelers. I can’t mention favorite Pacers teams without mentioning the Reggie Miller era. The Danny Granger era. Heck, even though I’m glad it’s over, I enjoyed a lot of basketball during the Paul George era. How fun was it going to ECF games against the Miami Heat. The rivalry against the Big 3. However, I think I’m going to go with the current team. This team has been more than fun to watch. The complaining is at a low and the hustle is at a high. The fact that the supposed big star is gone and they are doing this well is pretty impressive. I would love to see them make a deep run in the playoffs but even if they don’t, it’s been one heck of a fun year watching Pacers basketball. This is Victor’s city. "