The Pacers Are Capable Of Making Noise In The Postseason
At +10000 to win a championship, the Pacers fetch the 12th-best odds
- The Indiana Pacers are currently the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference and have clinched a playoff spot. While the Pacers are heavy underdogs to win the Eastern Conference at +3300, Indiana’s novel and egalitarian style makes them a legitimate threat to any playoff opponent.
- The Pacers are one of the most interesting teams in the NBA because of their reliance on the lost art of the mid-range jump shot. Indiana ranks in the top-five in terms of field goal attempts per game from 10-14 feet and rank second in terms of field goal attempts per game from 15-19 feet.
- The four-month layoff has provided key Pacers with an opportunity to recuperate. Malcolm Brogdon has recovered from a hip injury that sidelined him for the final three games before the season’s suspension. The time off should have provided former all-star Victor Oladipo with additional time to round into playing shape.
- The Pacers will be underdogs in every playoff series. Indiana does provide bettors with value in a series against either the Miami Heat or Toronto Raptors.
Return Of The Mid-Range Jumper
The Indiana Pacers are trying to make the mid-range jump shot great again. While the emphasis on shooting efficiency has led nearly every NBA team to focus on three-point attempts and scoring in the paint, the Pacers have taken the opposite approach. Indiana shoots fewer three-pointers than any team in the league. They rank inside the top-five in shots attempted from 10-14 feet and second in shots attempted from 15-19 feet.
While mid-range jump shots are generally frowned upon due to inefficiency, mid-range jump shots are often the most difficult to defend. Unlike other playoff teams, the Pacers reliance on the mid-range jump shot means that they will not have to live or die from beyond the arc. The Pacers have shown that they can win games even when their long-distance shooting isn’t on target.
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Depth Is An Advantage
There are no superstars on the Pacers roster. No player will make an All-NBA team. Indiana’s two best players, all-star Domantas Sabonis and T.J. Warren, only average 18.5 points per game and 18.7 points per game, respectively. What the Pacers have that other playoff teams lack in the Eastern Conference is superior depth.
Seven Pacers average in double figures. Nine of their 10 regular rotational players have positive value over replacement ratings. Ten Pacers average more than 15 minutes per game. While depth is generally not as important once the playoffs start, this year’s postseason will be occurring under extraordinary circumstances. Depth may be more valuable considering that players have been idle for four months and will have only eight regular-season games to prepare for the playoffs.
Improved Health With Time Off
The four-month layoff has provided key Pacers with extra time to recover from injuries. While the Pacers will still be without the services of Jeremy Lamb after he tore his ACL in February, Malcolm Brodgon is ready to return from a hip injury that sidelined him before the season’s suspension in March. The point guard leads the Pacers in assists per game.
Former two-time all-star Victor Oladipo returned to the court in January after recovering from a ruptured quad tendon that had kept him on the injured list since January of 2018. The layoff should have provided Oladipo with an opportunity to round back into game shape. Oladipo struggled mightily in the 13 games he played following his return in January, averaging career-lows in field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
Chances Of Making It Through The East
The Pacers likely won't represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers may be too talented for the Pacers to overcome in a series. The Pacers do provide bettors with value against either the Heat or Raptors, as it would not be surprising if Indiana defeated either team in a playoff series. At +3300 to represent the East in the NBA Finals, the Pacers are long-shots with terrific upside.
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