Indiana Pacers: Perimeter Defense
One of the more interesting parts of Nate Bjorkgren’s dismal season in charge of the Pacers was the fact that he managed to have one of the worst defenses in the East despite having one of the best defensive players in the conference in Myles Turner. Unfortunately, it might take a while for things to turn around in Indiana.
Rick Carlisle is without question a better coach than Bjorkgren, and he should have Indiana close to the playoffs, but his Mavericks teams were upended by poor defense, and with the Pacers having ranked 25th in points per game allowed on defense, it will take some time to fully rehabilitate that part of the equation.
The Toronto Raptors may be a stronger defensive team than the Pacers.
Even without Kyle Lowry, the Raptors have enough perimeter scorers to give Indiana a real headache. Trent will be ready to uncork a barrage of 3-pointers, VanVleet is still as lethal as ever, and Anunoby is taking steps as an offensive player. Expect a shootout if Toronto ever makes the trip to Indianapolis.
This isn’t to say that Indiana will be bad this year, as Turner and Domantas Sabonis going to work inside alongside Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert on the perimeter is one dynamic duo. Unfortunately, their defense will take some time to fix, and Toronto could exploit that in some pivotal games late in the season.