Pacers Believe Their Core Is Entering Prime Seasons
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INDIANAPOLIS – The main objective for the Pacers this offseason was to make sure the top 7 players were returning.
That was Indiana’s first priority.
Really, the only questions were out of their control though, with two player options for Cory Joseph and Thaddeus Young. Joseph wasted little time opting in for a second season in Indiana. Young flirted with testing the free agent waters before also exercising his player option.
With that, the Pacers had their top 7 players back in minutes played from last season.
They are just 1 of 3 playoff teams, in either conference, that have such a distinction entering the 2018-19 season.
Chemistry and continuity are two words the Pacers use often when talking about their current (and what they hope is future) success.
Even though the Pacers have several key players in contract years next season, Kevin Pritchard sees players like Victor Oladipo (26), Myles Turner (22) and Domantas Sabonis (22) entering their prime ages.
“We really wanted a timeline that is really congruent,” Pritchard said of his hope this offseason. “We want everyone peaking at the right time in the next couple of years. We really think we have that.
“We have a couple of young guys coming up, but you have a lot of guys on our team that are right in their prime and have a chance to be playing their best basketball.”
That can be said for the Big 3 of Oladipo, Turner and Sabonis, with the Pacers having the ability to keep that trio together for at least 2 more seasons.
If Indiana can find some/any contributions from a Doug McDermott, T.J. Leaf and/or Aaron Holiday, then that would add to the solid foundation and upward trajectory that Pritchard is hoping for moving forward.
The true make or break sort of point for the Pacers could very well come from the development of Turner and/or Sabonis.
A significant jump by either into an All-Star talent is vital for the Pacers ascending to a true championship-type contender in the East.
For now, the Pacers are on foundation they could only have dreamed for this time last year.
“We think we have a chance,” Pritchard says, “to be a really good team in the future.”