The Most Exciting Indiana Pacers Team Ever: Even in Their Youth

When reflecting on the Indiana Pacers’ teams of the past, several eras come to mind. The Paul George days, going up against a historic Miami team in the early 2010s, the Jermaine O’Neale-led Pacers of the 2000s, and the Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Mark Jackson combinations in the 1990s all contribute to the franchise’s legacy. Despite not having won a title, the memories of former lineups shape the team’s history. It can be challenging to recognize when such moments are being made in the present, but this year’s Pacers have the potential to be remembered as one of the franchise’s most memorable teams. Although their current defensive identity has been lackluster (they have a 120.9 defensive rating (DRTG), second worst in the league), their electrifying offense has contributed to the NBA’s most efficient opening month ever. After 18 games, the Indiana Pacers lead in offensive potency with an offensive rating (ORTG) of 123.6. If this number were to hold until the end of the season, it would be the greatest statistical offense of all time.

The driving force behind this historic performance is the young star Tyrese Haliburton. Acquired through a trade with the Sacramento Kings last season, the 6’5” guard has made a significant impact on the wider NBA scene after showing real promise in Sacramento. Haliburton excels in playmaking and shooting, and his athleticism is at the top level of explosive guards. His multitasking on the court is showcased through his elite level playmaking and shooting. In addition, Haliburton’s shot form, while unconventional, has consistently performed well. His changes in acceleration around multiple screens in the half-court consistently pressure defensive rotations. With a high-assist rate and the highest box creation score in the league, Haliburton is on the path to becoming an All-NBA guard. Despite his instrumental role, the Pacers’ offense doesn’t solely rely on him. The team’s willingness to sprint up the court on every possession, its fast pace, and the presence of other talented players contribute to their high-scoring offense.

Indiana’s roster construction, with additions such as Bruce Brown and Obi Toppin, has also played a role in creating a high-flying offense. The historic offensive output in Indiana is a result of this balanced lineup. In recent years, offenses have been finding more ways to expose defensive inadequacies, and the Pacers have followed suit. Their rapid and high-volume approach to offense, led by Haliburton, has positioned them as an exciting team to watch in the current NBA season.