PacersrecaP #19: Ivica Zubac dominates the Indiana Pacers who start their long road trip with a loss

The Indiana Pacers did not get off to a good start to their long Western adventure with their worst offensive game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers who dominated behind a 30 point, 29 rebound game from center Ivica Zubac.

This isn’t a game that any Pacers fan is going to want to spend too much time thinking about. Just one of those nights in a long NBA season where the team is unable to make anything. The Pacers made just 38% of their shots overall and just 21% from deep. It was a sad, painful watch. A rare sight for a team that has been able to at least make games interesting when they fall behind early even when they weren’t winning many games at the start of the year.

This game was as frustrating as a Pokémon trainer’s trek through Mt. Moon and hitting Zubat encounters every three steps.

Ivica Zubat hit every member of the Pacers with supersonic and they were unable to shake off the confusion of his crossmatches and bruising play inside. They kept hurting themselves with missed open jump shots. Whenever the Pacers forced a miss of their own, Ivica Zubat used Leech Life on each of his offensive boards and putbacks as he sucked the life out of any sorry attempt that the Pacers could muster at momentum yesterday afternoon.

Usually it’s the Pacers lack of wings that doom their defense but in this one they could have used an electric type. No encounters with the rarely sighted Clefairwhi Leonard or Paul Geo(rge)dude as the pair of stars were at their usual spots in street clothes. It didn’t matter Zubat took care of the whole roster. Somehow TJ McConnell managed a few quick attacks that led to fouls on Zubat who finally fainted onto the bench with six fouls.

1) Jalen Smith has a career high and gets out of his slump a bit

The Clippers crossmatched Myles Turner and Jalen Smith because of both Smith’s struggles and Turner’s hot shooting. While they dared Smith to shoot and left him wide open, he was able to break out of his cold spell a bit. But it did the intended effect of keeping Turner out of the play far more often and Turner didn’t do himself any favors by getting into foul trouble in the first half. Smith meanwhile scored 19 of his 23 in the first half and kept the Pacers close.

Credit to Jalen Smith for being a highlight to this one as he scored a career high 23 points (previously he had scored 19 points on five separate occasions) and added 9 rebounds. He made more 3-pointers in this game (3 for 7) than he had in his previous six games combined (2 for 23). He also played very aggressively, didn’t shy away from taking those open looks, and tried to posterize Zubac when he had the opportunity and drew a foul.

We’ll probably see more and more crossmatches as team’s adjust to Turner’s great play and try to take advantage of Smith’s streaky outside shot. It will be fascinating to see how the team continues to adjust from here.

2) Tyrese Haliburton continues to rack up assists

Even in a game where the Pacers couldn’t make anything, Haliburton still managed to find 11 assists in this one. It was his second straight game with zero turnovers and he’s at 26:0 ATO in those pair of games. He, like the rest of the team, missed a ton of shots that he normally hits in this one. Floaters inside, his patient layups that he earns with nice footwork, a beautifully played 3-pointer off of him throwing an inbounds pass and then racing to the corner. So many great looks and so few results. His 15 points took 16 shots to get there and he was unable to get to the free throw line.

3) There’s just nothing else I really want to talk about with this game.

It was bad. Let’s move on. Here’s a list of guys with bad shooting nights: Buddy Hield (3 for 14), Myles Turner (3 for 9), Aaron Nesmith (1 for 7), Isaiah Jackson (1 for 5), Oshae Brissett (0 for 3). Oddly, without Zubac, the Clippers and Pacers game might have been the equivalent of that Colts and Broncos Thursday Night game a few weeks ago. Both teams were completely inept outside of the Croatian big man. Without Zubac’s 14 of 17, the rest of the Clippers roster was 28 for 77 which is good for a whopping 36.3%. They made less 3-pointers than the Pacers managed in this one at 18.8% (6 for 32). Let’s hope this game with the Lakers tonight is more entertaining. We know Bennedict Mathurin is going to be ready for his first matchup with LeBron James and we have the neverending chatter about every good and bad Myles Turner and Buddy Hield game in Lakerland finally reaching its zenith or nadir tonight with the teams facing each other.

PacersrecaP #14: Pacers make yet another double-digit comeback, Haliburton will “be fine”

The Indiana Pacers moved to 8-6 after their third straight double-digit comeback victory. This time it came against the Houston Rockets who led 30-10 near the beginning of the second quarter.

Yes, the Pacers scored only 10 points in the first quarter, the lowest amount that any team has scored in the opening quarter this season so far. I don’t know if it was just a matter of underestimating the youthful, tanktastic Rockets or if they were having flashbacks to the pandemic arenas with how empty the place looked at the start of the game, but the Pacers couldn’t do anything right during the first 12 minutes of the game. Eric Gordon was just driving through the lane and getting anything he wanted on offense. 

Rick Carlisle was so fed up with the effort that he took advantage of a no call in the second quarter as an opportunity to get a couple technicals and get ejected from the game. Either he would fire up his team or he wouldn’t have to watch this ugly one any longer. Seems like a win-win to me outside of the fines.

Rick Carlisle if he had hair to pull out before he got ejected.

Carlisle was ejected with 3:49 remaining in the second quarter and the Pacers down 46-33 after Jalen Green hit one of two technical free throws. The Pacers outscored the Rockets 66-45 for the remainder of the game. 

None of this looked to have mattered for a moment with Tyrese Haliburton went down in pain after making his running layup, hook shot to ice the game with 37 seconds left as Usman Garuba landed on his ankle. But after being helped to the locker room by the training staff, Tyrese Haliburton, who finished with 19 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds, told Lloyd Pierce that he was “okay” though Pierce noted that they all say that and that he is icing his ankle. Fingers crossed it’s just a short-term ankle sprain. Haliburton went straight to Twitter to ease any fears of a long term injury.

1. The Comeback Kids

This was the third straight comeback from a big first half deficit for the Pacers. They trailed by 15 against the Raptors, 13 against the Hornets, and 20 tonight against the Rockets. They also had a fourth comeback earlier in the season when they came back from being down 14 against the Pistons. Lloyd Pierce credited the team’s chemistry with each other for why they’ve been so good at fighting back this season. Continue reading PacersrecaP #14: Pacers make yet another double-digit comeback, Haliburton will “be fine”

PacersrecaP #11.1: Detective Tyrese Haliburton and the case of the many wing Raptors

The Indiana Pacers are back to .500 after a dominate fourth quarter to beat the Toronto Raptors by a final score of 118-104.

It was a tale of two halves for the Pacers who found themselves down by 13 at halftime but in the final frame they outscored the Raptors 36-14 and cruised to a victory.

The Pacers continue to have good scheduling luck as they finished up a 4-game home stand and on two days rest while the Raptors were playing their 5th game in 7 nights and without Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. It didn’t matter much in the first half though as the Raptors collection of large wings destroyed the Pacers on both ends in the second quarter to push to their 13-point halftime lead.

Don’t look now but the Pacers remain tied for 6th in the Eastern conference and their next four games are against the Hornets, Rockets, and Magic twice. Winning streak on the way?

Woah, the Pacers know how to win games?

1. Detective Tyrese Haliburton and the case of the many wing Raptors

Haliburton arrived at the scene prepared to investigate Toronto’s rare collection of these players called wings that have been so rare in Indiana these last few seasons. But in the first half, the detective’s probing resulted in little offense for himself as the Raptors length bothered into a 1 for 8 start with just two points Continue reading PacersrecaP #11.1: Detective Tyrese Haliburton and the case of the many wing Raptors

PacersrecaP #10.2: Tyrese Haliburton talks trash, Myles Turner defends the MVP, and more

PACERSRECAP #10.2: The Denver Nuggets brought the Indiana Pacers back down to Earth and came back from an 18-point deficit to win 122-119. 

If you missed part 1 on the Bennedict Mathurin experience and Isaiah Jackson’s ultra-efficient, prophecy-fulfilling 18 minutes, read that here.

3. Myles Turner vs. Nikola Jokic

If you look at Jokic’s overall numbers for the game, you might not think Myles Turner had the best defensive night against the 2-time MVP. 24 points (10 of 20) in 21 minutes with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but Turner played fantastic defense down the stretch to give the Pacers a chance to salvage a win after blowing their big lead.

In the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, Jokic went 1 for 7 from the floor with just four points. Continue reading PacersrecaP #10.2: Tyrese Haliburton talks trash, Myles Turner defends the MVP, and more

PacersrecaP #9.2: A glimpse into the Pacers future and eye-popping stats through 10 games

The Indiana Pacers beat the New Orleans Pelicans and I decided to break it all down in two parts. If you missed part one on the excellent vibes of this group and a dive into the rollercoaster of Myles Turner’s first five games, check that out right here.

Let’s jump right into things.

Bet you weren’t expecting a jumping TJ Leaf to show up in this one. Me either; I don’t know what to tell you. This caption is too long, my gif choice is bad, let’s just move on.

#2 Tyrese Haliburton is too fun, man.

In what has become a classic Tyrese formula in the team’s first 10 games, Haliburton started off this one slowly offensively, taking only four shots in the first half, focusing on getting his teammates going, and then he just took over in the second half. In this one, the slow start for his own point total came at least partially due to the coverages he was seeing from the Pelicans defense, but he came out in the third quarter and just drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer with the briefest windows as the Pelicans switched on Hield’s ghosted screens or pulling up on a big in drop coverage. Continue reading PacersrecaP #9.2: A glimpse into the Pacers future and eye-popping stats through 10 games

PacersrecaP #9.1: Wait, are the Pacers good?

The Indiana Pacers (5-5) have won four of their last five games and are tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference after beating the New Orleans Pelicans by a final score of 129-122. 

So are the Pacers actually … good?

“We’re not going to get carried away,” Rick Carlisle said after the game in an attempt to temper any expectations from this nice stretch. 

Speak for yourself, Rick! All aboard the playoffs hype train!

“We’re going to keep working every day,” Carlisle continued in his wise, non-reactionary way.  “We’ll come back and get ready for Denver. But tonight was a great night. I was impressed with every player that stepped on the court, and every player that did not step on the court. We had a real spirited effort.”

The wild thing about the start to this season is when you compare it to last year’s start with a team full of veterans that were supposed to be pushing for the postseason. The Pacers never reached .500 over the course of last season, nor did they ever win 4 of 5 games. The closest they ever came to doing so was when they were 6-8 and had won 5 of 7. 

The difference in the vibes of these two teams is immense. Some of that is the no expectations and the still fresh newness of the roster but it’s much easier to buy into the hope of this group than the staleness of praying for the health of the last iteration.

This hot stretch may not last forever, veterans like Hield and Turner may eventually be traded as the team shifts it’s focus to the future (you do have to wonder if the Pacers are hovering around .500 how into trading these guys Pacers owner Herb Simon will be), but if they continue to be this fun, it’s going to be a great ride no matter what happens.

1. Speaking of rides, the Myles Turner roller coaster reaches a new peak in a dominate performance

37 points (11 of 18), 12 rebounds, 3 blocks. In arguably the best game of his career, Myles Turner was a force throughout the game. Continue reading PacersrecaP #9.1: Wait, are the Pacers good?

PacersrecaP #8: Bennedict’s Simple Math, Pacers balanced attack beats Heat

The Indiana Pacers (4-5) returned home to the fieldhouse after three days off with a win over the Miami Heat (4-6) by a final score of 101-99.

The Pacers defense played well as they held the Heat to shooting just 38.3% overall and 28.2% from deep. It was a schedule win if there ever was one with the Pacers well-rested and the Heat coming off of a tight win the previous night against the Sacramento Kings and sitting Jimmy Butler out. As was said in ages past: Beat the Heat.

The offensive attack was well spread out: Buddy Hield with 25, Bennedict Mathurin with 23, Tyrese Haliburton with 22, and Myles Turner with 16 led the way. A balance even Thanos would be proud of.

1. Bennedict Mathurin lives at the free-throw line

As a rookie, Mathurin is shooting 6.2 free throws per game and looks like he may end up as the best foul drawer / free-throw earner that the Pacers have ever had. His 8 free throws per 36 minutes and his free throw rate of .448 rank highly among the Pacers best players’ best free throw seasons over the last 30+ years: Continue reading PacersrecaP #8: Bennedict’s Simple Math, Pacers balanced attack beats Heat

PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

The Indiana Pacers lost the game, but Steve Nash lost the war. After fighting back to tie the game at 100 after being down 48-24, the Pacers couldn’t quite finish off their comeback against the Brooklyn Nets, who won by a final score of 116-109, split the miniseries, and promptly fired their head coach the next morning.

Back to the classic formula for the Pacers (3-5) season in this one: fall behind, keep fighting, make a couple big runs, never quite take the lead, eventually lose the game. It’s a script that would be frustrating in a typical season, but with the team focused on growth and development of their young players it has made for an entertaining start to the year.

#1 Chris Duarte breaks through his sophomore slump

Second straight game with a Pacers guard setting a career high against the Brooklyn Nets. Last time, it was rookie Bennedict Mathurin. This time, it was second-year player Chris Duarte, who scored 30 points Continue reading PacersrecaP #7: Chris Duarte breaks through his slump, the predictable patterns of Myles Turner

Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

Myles Turner went on the Woj Pod with ESPN’s NBA newsbreaker Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about dealing with years of trade rumors and even dove into the specifics of the oft-discussed Lakers deal.

“That’s such an intriguing question,” Turner said when asked whether the Lakers should make the deal. “I think personally when you look at this business of the league and know the landscape of the league, you have to go off of your future. We all know picks are so valuable in this league and with someone like myself heading into the last year of my deal you want to make sure you’re getting a return for your assets. If I’m the Lakers, I’m taking a very hard look at this with the position that you’re in. I know what I can provide for a team–my leadership, my shot blocking, my 3-point ability, and just my ability to make plays out there on the floor–and I take a very long look at it. As far as pulling the trigger, I get paid to shoot not to make these calls so I couldn’t answer that.”

It’s bizarre to hear a player both being asked and then answering a question about whether a team should trade for him but here we are. Turner, who did admit the appeal of playing in a bigger market like LA later in the podcast, is certainly in a unique position where he’s been in trade rumors maybe longer than anyone in NBA history and is acutely aware of the Pacers situation with him and his upcoming free agency. Continue reading Myles Turner is likely gone and he knows it

PacersrecaP #6: Haliburton and Mathurin put on a show

The Indiana Pacers (3-4) are on a winning streak after hitting a franchise-record 23 3-point shots as they beat the Brooklyn Nets (1-5) by a final score of 125-116. 

The backcourt dynamic duo of Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin led the way in this one as they gave everyone an enticing glimpse into the Pacers future while combining for 58 points and twelve 3-pointers. They dominated the Nets to the point of their head coach Steve Nash calling his team’s performance a “disaster.” That’s what happens when you don’t play Edmond Sumner, Steve.

#1 Bennedict. Mathurin. Wow.

32 points off the bench for the Pacers rookie sensation. After a so-so performance the previous night in D.C. where he wasn’t his usual ultra-aggressive self, Mathurin made his impact immediately and efficiently after entering the game with 4:19 left in the first quarter. Over four straight possessions, Mathurin drawed a foul, hit a layup on a drive, found Goga Bitadze inside for an assist, and hit a 3-pointer quickly cutting the Nets lead from 19-11 to 22-20 in the process.

The Pacers offense started off a little timid like they had a hint of stage fright with the stage lights in Brooklyn. Mathurin, never afraid of a challenge and already seems to be the kind of guy that rises to the occasion, was the perfect antidote to wake the team up from its back-to-back slumber. Continue reading PacersrecaP #6: Haliburton and Mathurin put on a show

PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

The Indiana Pacers didn’t lay an egg on national television! It felt necessary to start there. They beat the Washington Wizards as they played well throughout the game on their way to a 127-117 win in what is their only scheduled game on ESPN or TNT this season.

In what was a reverse game script of the first five games, the Pacers were the ones that blitzed their opponent to start the game as a 22-2 run turned an 8-13 deficit into a 30-15 advantage and the Wizards were suddenly the ones trying to put together runs and constantly working uphill. Much like the Pacers in their losses, the Wizards also kept fighting but couldn’t get it any closer than 6 points as Indiana was able to consistently hit timely 3-pointers (15 of 29) or get to the foul line (30 of 33). Every Pacers starter scored at least 15 points and played over 30 minutes in this one. 

#1 Tyrese Haliburton puts on a show for the national audience.

Tyrese Haliburton has repeated his personal goals on a few outlets in the last few months:

  • Average 20 points and 10 assists
  • Be an All-Star

And well, both of those are well within reach. After he scored 25 points and dished out 12 assists on ESPN, he’s checking that first goal off his list about every night as he has averaged 23 points and 10.3 assists. Continue reading PacersrecaP #5: The Haliburton leap, Monster Myles, and TMNT

PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PACERSRECAP #4: The Indiana Pacers lost their fourth game of the season last night as the Chicago Bulls lit their defense on fire in the first half with back-to-back 38-point quarters and cruised to a 124-109 win.

The pesky Pacers refused to go away and did get the deficit down into single digits a few times including once at 95-91 but couldn’t string enough stops together to overcome the gigantic hole they put themselves in at the start as the Bulls hit five of their first six 3-point attempts and were ahead 30-15 with 4 minutes left in the first. It’s a similar story to about every game this season except for the Pistons game where they completed the comeback after the terrible start.

#1 Myles Turner is back but he isn’t saving this defense.

No one should have expected Turner to magically fix the many flaws of perimeter defense on this team but tonight was the quick confirmation that they had plenty of issues that go beyond missing their Rim Protector Supreme.  Continue reading PacersrecaP #4: Myles Turner is back; Bennedict Mathurin refuses to quit until the final buzzer

PacersrecaP #3: Pacers fall to Sixers, Mathurin’s confidence unshaken by rough start

PACERSRECAP #3: The Indiana Pacers (1-3) couldn’t overcome a shooting drought in the first half or find enough stops against the Philadelphia 76ers’ (1-3) duo of Joel Embiid and James Harden and lost by a final score of 120-106.

With the contending-hopeful Sixers entering the game at 0-3 and the rebuilding Pacers fresh off their first win of the season, this was a game that met expectations much like a Michael Bay blockbuster. We got what we knew we would get. With Bay, you get fast cuts and explosions. With Embiid and Harden, you get flailing arms and free throws. Like Bay, this game had story beats that made little sense when inspected with the tiniest bit of scrutiny (no, it would not be harder to make astronauts become oil drillers than the other way around, Michael). For the Pacers, it was the play where James Harden simply stood in the same place on the wing for ~5 seconds and ended up with a wide-open three as a defensive communication saw Tyrese Haliburton who expected a switch and another defender both leave Harden to go with an offensive player that ghosted a screen.

Still, in a season where losses are going to pile up, there were other things we can take from this game beyond the final score and the expected struggles of a young team against a team with title aspirations. Continue reading PacersrecaP #3: Pacers fall to Sixers, Mathurin’s confidence unshaken by rough start

PacersrecaP #2: Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero and everything’s coming up Goga

The Indiana Pacers are in the win column for the first time in the 2022-23 season after defeating their Central Division rival the Detroit Pistons by a final score of 124-115 behind the wizardry of Bennedict Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton and a forceful trio of young big men.

Welcome to PacersrecaP, a place for fans of the Pacers and palindromes where we have fun recapping the events of the latest 48 minutes of basketball with takeaways, scattered thoughts, and occasional tomfoolery.

After getting off to a slow start yet again, missing their first 12 3-pointers and allowing another 35-point quarter, the Pacers didn’t wait until the last few minutes to make things close and interesting. They won the second and third quarters by a combined 19 points and had easily their best defensive game of the season.

Let’s get to it:

#1 Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero.

His superpowers? Pull-up 3-point shooting, driving through the lane with fearlessness, putting the ball in the basket, flight, and making Pacers fans fall in love instantly. Continue reading PacersrecaP #2: Bennedict Mathurin is a superhero and everything’s coming up Goga

PacersrecaP #1: an ugly game turns thrilling late as Pacers lose against Spurs

The Indiana Pacers are 0-2 after a valiant effort to comeback came up short against the San Antonio Spurs as they lost 137-134.

Welcome to PacersrecaP where every column ends the way it began like a Christopher Nolan film. Think of it like Tenet, confusing at first, no one knows what I’m talking about but slowly it starts to make more sense as time goes on. Or maybe I just like palindromes and couldn’t resist being clever for the sake of being clever … like a Christopher Nolan film.

Alright, this article is already more off the rails than the Pacers defense over the first two games of the season or that train in Inception. I promise that’s the last Nolan reference—until I think of another one.

To the game! Continue reading PacersrecaP #1: an ugly game turns thrilling late as Pacers lose against Spurs

PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

The Indiana Pacers lost the season opener to the Washington Wizards by a final score of 114-107 but the loss doesn’t mean there were no positives to takeaway from the start of the 2022-23 season.

In fact, in the same spirit of the latest Locked On Pacers episode, it’s a great time for overreacting. And in this season of no expectations, there’s no reason to not think brightly about at least few pieces of the Pacers future.

#1 Bennedict Mathurin will be the greatest shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers since Reggie Miller.

Forget all of the potential rookie-related overreactions: Rookie of the Year, All-Rookie First Team, MVP of the Rookies / Sophomores game, etc. I’m diving straight into predicting Mathurin’s whole career based on his first very game and really just the final sixty seconds. Continue reading PacersrecaP #00: Three Overreactions to the Indiana Pacers season opener

Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

Myles Turner is not interested in an extension with the Indiana Pacers according to Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, who appeared on the podcast Setting the Pace.

“They have every reason to believe that Myles Turner is not going to sign an extension to stay here,” Kravitz said on Setting the Pace. “… It’s not me guessing here. Myles has no interest in staying in Indianapolis.”

Now, Turner has come out on Twitter to call “cap” at least on the second half of that statement (translation: saying that he is not interested in staying with the Pacers is false).

There’s a few possible reasons for the disconnect between what Kravitz reported and Turner’s feelings about his situation. Continue reading Deciphering the Myles Turner and Indiana Pacers situation

How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history

The beginning of the Indiana Pacers NBA history was a far cry from their ABA dynasty days. Financial struggles contributed to many poor personnel decisions which led to the team losing a lot in those dark days as they barely survived the merger between the two leagues. Ironically, the Pacers first NBA season with any amount of success led to perhaps the worst trade in team history and may have prevented the franchise’s NBA accomplishments dwarfing those three ABA championships.

But that one season of modest success might not have happened in the first place without a bicycle accident.

In the 1980-81 season, Jack McKinney led the Pacers to the NBA playoffs for the first time in his first season as coach of the team after taking over for the retiring Bobby “Slick” Leonard. The previous season McKinney was with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the title in Magic Johnson’s rookie season. So why would the Lakers get rid of their head coach after winning a championship? Continue reading How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history

Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers have discussed a deal that would send both Myles Turner and Buddy Hield to L.A. and Russell Westbrook and draft compensation to Indiana according to multiple media outlets.

Bob Kravitz of The Athletic reports the deal is currently “dead” as the Pacers would like an additional first-round pick to the current draft capital that’s being offered.

The biggest issue with the deal is that the Lakers are limited in what draft picks they have to even offer after sending so many out to get Anthony Davis and the limits on trading firsts in consecutive seasons. Continue reading Rumors: Details on the Pacers and Lakers Russell Westbrook trade negotiations

Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff

The Indiana Pacers are rebuilding. While doing so openly and without shame by accumulating draft picks and pursuing young talent, the foundation of it all is Tyrese Haliburton and everything they’ve done this off-season has giving their point guard every opportunity to make a leap in mind.

MFW when a Pacers front office isn’t scared of the word “rebuild”

The first step for the Pacers front office was to move Malcolm Brogdon who didn’t fit a rebuilding timeline and limited Haliburton’s impact when they shared the floor last season. It was only eight games, but in over 200 minutes the Pacers had a net rating of -16.3 with both guards playing together and Haliburton’s usage rate dropped to just 16.1% which was far below his 20.5% rate in his Pacers minutes without Brogdon.

In clutch moments, Brogdon was far too likely to be handling the bulk of playmaking duties instead of the more dynamic threat in the Pacers newcomer. Moving the veteran leaves no doubt about who should be running the offense and Haliburton, who can be deferential to a fault, knows his team will be relying on him more than ever next season.

“The load, or what I’m being asked to do, is more than probably I’ve ever been asked to do in terms of responsibility,” Haliburton, who averaged 17.5 points and 9.6 assists per game with Indiana, told USA Today. “So, yeah, I’m just really excited for it. It’s an opportunity that everybody wants in their life and grew up wanting this opportunity in the NBA.” Continue reading Pacers are trying to prep the runway for Tyrese Haliburton to takeoff