Ease those worries Pacers fans. It’s gonna be okay.
After starting off the season in rather frightful fashion, the blue and gold are finally starting to look like the team we all thought they might be. Having now won three of their last four games, the Pacers currently stand at 4-4 despite unexpected injuries to several key players including Myles Turner and Edmund Sumner.
While many individuals have shown flashes of brilliance during these first eight games, no player has been more impressive than new acquisition Malcolm Brogdon. Known for his two-way prowess and high basketball IQ, the former Milwaukee Buck has adjusted well to his role as starting Pacers point guard, running the offense with poise and precision to the tune of 22.3 points and 9.9 assists per game. Albeit early, Brogdon’s 9.9 assists average puts him at second in the NBA, behind only that of LeBron James.
Heading into the season, Brogdon was fully aware of the role he would play on this 2019-20 Pacers squad.
“As a point guard, it’s your duty to make sure that everybody feels involved and everybody feels like they’re getting their opportunity and their shots,” he said at 2019 Pacers Media Day.
Brogdon has surely done an excellent job of this, serving as a rock at the center of Indiana’s injury-ridden starting lineup. With each and every game, he’s been sure to find the hot hand, knowing that the Pacers are fully equipped with a multitude of scoring threats.
“We have so many guys that can score the ball,” said Brogdon prophetically at Pacers Media Day. “We won’t have to heavily rely on any one person, especially on the offensive end. Some nights will be one guy’s night, and other night’s will be another’s. That’s the versatility of this roster.”
In their last three games, the Pacers offense has shown signs of its potential, despite varying results. In wins over Chicago and Washington, the team notched 28 and 35 assists respectively, marking their highest assist totals of the season thus far. After the team’s 121-106 win over Washington, Coach Nate McMillan spoke to the Pacers’ improved chemistry.
“We talked about trusting each other. We showed that trust,” McMillan said. “That is how we have to play. If a guy is open, get him the ball and trust your teammate to make the right read. Tonight we did that, and we had 35 assists.”
Not surprisingly, this improved ball movement led to 12 made 3-pointers, including three from Aaron Holiday and four from Doug McDermott.
“I think the 3’s are gonna come with the ball movement. Tonight we were able to shoot the 3 ball and knock it down,” said McMillan, whose Pacers team currently ranks second to last in the NBA when it comes to 3-pointers attempted.
As the Pacers continue forward, the team’s offensive chemistry will certainly be something to keep watching. Despite injury woes, Indiana has shown they can hurt opponents in a variety of ways. Going forward, the team will need to continue building trust, with Brogdon remaining the catalyst of it all.