While it is still difficult to fully understand the differences after only two preseason games, the Indiana Pacers’ strengths and flaws are starting to become clear. Tyrese Haliburton, an All-Star point guard, has yet to participate in a game, and this changes many evaluations. It’s unclear, for instance, how effective the new starting lineup is or what Benedict Mathurin’s new position entails. Additionally, the squad has been without Andrew Nembhard twice, Daniel Theis once, and Myles Turner once, so making predictions still requires some guessing.
The club has still shown some of what can be anticipated from them this season as well as some crucial areas that will need attention moving ahead.
“I liked that we were able to see everyone in competitive NBA situations,” head coach Rick Carlisle said on Thursday. “We’re doing a lot of things well.”
Younger forwards have been among of the blue and gold’s strongest assets. Through two games, Aaron Nesmith, Ben Sheppard, and Aaron Nesmith have all shown promise, with Nesmith particularly standing out. Walker should see action this season, and Nesmith’s achievement is especially significant for the blue and gold since he has all but sealed himself a position in the rotation.
Sheppard may not be a regular player for the Pacers this season, but his impressive start will give him confidence. Additionally, the Pacers should be pleased with his ability to shoot from beyond the arc after only two games. They haven’t been accurate. In fact, it’s been terrible; in two games, they are 23/95 (24.2%) from beyond the arc. The fact that they were still able to make 95 threes without many of them being bad looks, even without Haliburton and Nembhard, should be seen as a success. Haliburton can produce excellent long-range shots for himself and others, but it is encouraging if the blue and gold are not dependent on him to be a strong shooting team.
Newcomer Bruce Brown said he’s been experimenting with his shooting and searching for moves that may or might not be in his repertoire this season. He might be performing any number of things throughout a game because of his dynamic role. Another advantage of preseason has been the ability to gauge his fit and that of his teammates. Everyone has access to the benefit.
“Just trying to get used to everything,” Brown said last Friday. He mentioned that it’s fairly easy for him to switch between roles.