Last year the Miami Heat shocked the basketball world when they made a run to the NBA Finals. The team, lead by Jimmy Butler, was able to sweep their first-round matchup against the Pacers. Then they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 and secured their spot in the Finals by beating the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-2. Although the Heat lost to the Champion, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami was praised for making it that far against the odds. They played hard on defense and shared the ball offensively. With that being said, I see those characteristics in the Indiana Pacers this year.
The Indiana Pacers are off to a hot start to begin the year. The Pacers are 6-2 and seem to be coming together well with rookie Head Coach, Nate Bjorkgren. The team's major contributors include Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner. Sabonis is averaging 20.8ppg, 11.4rpg, and 6.4apg. In each of those categories, he is in the top-2. Brogdon is averaging 23.6ppg and 7apg. Oladipo is scoring 20.4ppg and Myles Turner has been defending the rim at an elite level, averaging 4.1bpg. Indiana has 7 players averaging at least 10ppg and is ranked in the top-10 in scoring. They are also ranked in the top-10 in opponent's scoring. This balance of scoring and defense could be the reason the Pacers punch their ticket to the Finals.
The Pacers have the tools and potential to be this year's cinderella and make a playoff run just like the Miami Heat. I understand I am making a way-too-early prediction, but if they keep this up for a whole season, the Pacers will be a tough out when it comes time for the playoffs. The Pacers' next game is on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns (6-2). Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm est.