Indiana Pacers: Setting the Pace Into Training Camp

The Indiana Pacers have developed an identity over the past two seasons ever since Paul George got traded. Nate McMillan is a tremendous head coach and Indiana has also been the number five seed in the east the last two season as well.

Had Victor Oladipo been healthy for the playoffs last season, I believe they would have beaten the Boston Celtics, but Boston swept them away.

I think the Pacers will be a very good team once again this season. If Oladipo is fully healthy after a season-ending knee injury last season, Indiana could be a dark horse team in the Eastern Conference.

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The Toronto Raptors do not have Kawhi Leonard anymore. The Boston Celtics took a step backward. The Brooklyn Nets will be very good this season, but they may not be a championship contender with Kevin Durant being sidelined with an Achilles injury.

The Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks could make things interesting in the east this season as well. Miami always plays hard under Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and Atlanta is a young and upcoming team in the east.

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers will most likely be the two best teams in the east this season. In fact, I think this is the year Indiana could get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The last time the Indiana Pacers had home court in the first round was when they were the number one seed in the east in 2013-2014. That season, Indiana lost to the Miami Heat in six games.

The projected starting lineup this season will be: (C) Myles Turner, (PF) Damantos Sabonis, (SF) T.J. Warren, (SG) Victor Oladipo, and (PG) Malcolm Brogdon.

Some of the key players off the bench will be: (C) Goga Bitadze, (PG) Aaron Holiday, (PG) Justin Holiday, (F) Alize Johnson, (SG) Jeremy Lamb, (PF) T.J. Leaf, (G) T.J. McConnell, (F) Doug McDermott, and (G) Edmond Sumner.

This team will have a deep bench and it could be one of the best in the NBA this season. The backcourt of Oladipo and Brogdon could be very good especially on the defensive end of the floor. Nonetheless, they both are injury prone which could be a problem. Thus Indiana acquired Malcolm Brogdon in a sign-and-trade with the Milwaukee Bucks in the offseason.

This team is also very young and they could have some growing pains to start the season. Indiana does not have to really worry much about the bottom teams in the conference because those teams are going to be really bad this season.

It would be tougher for this team to make it to the playoffs if they were in the Western Conference. Although, if for some reason Milwaukee or Philadelphia did not reach the NBA Finals this season, the Indiana Pacers might be the team to represent the Eastern Conference.

A training camp date has yet to be announced for this team. Their first preseason game will be against the Sacramento Kings on the road on Friday, October 4 and those two teams will play each other the next day in Indiana.

Finally, the Pacers will begin the regular season at home against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, October 23.

How do you feel about the Indiana Pacers heading into 2019? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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