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Keys To A Successful Indiana Pacers Offseason

Photo credit: Getty Images

Now that the offseason is in full swing with our first blockbuster trade of the season, the Pacers look to build off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The focal point of this offseason should be the development and building of a defense that could complement the offense.

Last season the Pacers lit up the scoreboard scoring 123.3 points per game. That is an elite number and that offense is efficient and doesn't turn the ball over. The defense, however, is another story. On paper, they averaged a good amount of blocks and steals with 5.9 and 7.7 respectively, but they gave up 120.2 points per game.

The Pacers are a team focused on high transition ball, hence the high scoring mixing with high steal numbers. The issue is that once their defense is set up against a half-court offense they struggle. It seems like once the opposing team is in half-court the Pacers rely a lot more on forcing drives to Myles Turner, for better and for worse. See it isn't a terrible strategy when Turner is one of the better volume shot blockers in the league, but there are only so many blocks he can get in a game.

How can the Pacers get better at defense in the offseason?

Well, there are many ways to do that whether it is through free agency or trades. The best option is already on the team, however. Rick Carlisle is the major key to the offseason. Fans saw early on when Aaron Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard started rough, but once the halfway point was crossed they both were solid defenders and adjusted during the year.

One major thing that helps the Pacers is that the offseason plan is focused internally. They could sign a player or two to round out the roster, but they will probably not make a major move. Their biggest move this offseason will be the extension of Pascal Siakam.

The Additional routes the Pacers could take.

The Siakam signing is a good step to bettering the defense and the team could extend another player to help that. TJ McConnell has become one of the weirder sixth men in the modern era. He isn't a volume scorer, but instead, his focus is on defense and passing while still providing 10+ points a game. With one year left on his deal it would also make sense for the Pacers to cut ties after this season, but giving him another year might be a solid move.

The issue with the Pacers getting aggressive in free agency is their current cap numbers as they are slowly getting closer to the luxury cap. If they sign anyone it won't be a Paul George or OG Anunoby. The biggest move that could happen for the Pacers is shopping last year's first-round pick Jarace Walker. That probably won't happen though.

The Pacers are entering a window of competition they haven't seen since the Paul George era when they made the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back years, with the core pieces in place for the team and one of the higher-scoring offenses in the league. The key to the offseason is to internally develop a defense to complement the offense.


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