Indiana Pacers

The Pacers’ breakout player will be…

The Pacers’ breakout player will be Domantas Sabonois. With so many new faces and new roles for young players, there are a variety of breakout candidates. Malcolm Brogdon as a point guard. TJ Warren as a consistent scoring threat. Aaron Holiday raising his game in a reserve role. But Sabonis starting for the Pacers for the first time, will give the young big man more minutes and a chance to impose his will on the game at both power forward and center.

It all goes wrong if…

It all goes wrong if the sketchy health history of key players and problems with the double-big lineup rears its ugly head. Victor Oladipo is already on the shelf for the start of the season, so how healthy Vic can return remains unknown. Brogdon and Warren have also missed significant time over the past two seasons, which remains a concern. Finally, if Sabonis doesn’t break out playing next to Myles Turner, one of the bigs will likely be on the trading block which would further dampen the prospects for the current season.

What we’ll be saying about the Pacers at the end of the season…

What we’ll be saying about the Pacers at the end of the season is, “This team can beat you in a variety of ways that has a solid young core to compete with over the next few years.” Over the past two seasons, the Pacers were built to be flexible with solid veteran’s on short-term deals. This year the roster changes added younger talent, capable of mixing and matching with plenty of size, length and athleticism. That depth of flexible talent should help the Pacers continue to be a team that plays better than the sum of their parts.

Final prediction

Vegas currently has the Pacers at 47.5 wins this season which seems like a challenge for this team pending the return of Victor Oladipo. The Pacers have burned Vegas the past two seasons by exceeding expectations and part of that has been their ability to consistently play harder than opponents throughout the long regular season. With so many questions surrounding all of the new faces in the playing rotation to go along with the injury concerns, I feel like the Pacers will fall just under that expected win total but still make the playoffs where they should be built better to succeed in the postseason.

Final prediction: 44-38

Tom Lewis (@IndyCornrows)