NBA 2023-2024 Preview: How Far Can Tyrese Haliburton Take the Indiana Pacers?

Indiana Pacers NBA Preview 2023 2024

The 2023-2024 NBA season is looming on the horizon, and the air is thick with anticipation. Among the many storylines to follow, one that stands out prominently revolves around Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers. Haliburton, who has been nothing short of sensational since entering the league, has now become the beacon of hope for a Pacers squad thirsty for deep playoff contention. But as we gaze into the approaching season, the burning question remains: Just how far can this young star carry Indiana? In our NBA 2023-2024 preview, we dive deep into the strengths, challenges, and the potential of Haliburton’s Pacers as they gear up for what promises to be an electrifying year.

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2022/2023 Recap: A strong season start followed by Tyrese Haliburton’s injury

In his first “full” season with the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton once again showcased his exceptional talent for the world to see. Across the 56 games he played, the point guard averaged 20.7 points and 10.4 assists. His statistical growth has been on the rise ever since he set foot on an NBA court, and with his on-ball prowess, Tyrese Haliburton has established himself as one of the league’s elite point guards. He’s now the face of the franchise, having recently signed a 5-year extension worth $260 million.

Suffering a significant injury in January, Haliburton’s absence was felt as his teammates struggled without him. At the time of his injury, the Pacers held a balanced record (23-23 on January 19th). Benedict Mathurin emerged as a pleasant rookie surprise, overshadowing Chris Duarte. As of the writing of this article, Buddy Hield and Myles Turner have not been traded, even though there was a recent request from the guard which the franchise approved.

The Pacers were a delight to watch throughout the season. However, their defensive performance and the extended absence of Tyrese Haliburton proved too costly for a Playoff run. For a more in-depth review of the Pacers’ 2022/2023 season, feel free to check out the full recap here.

Offseason Moves

Departures

George Hill, Chris Duarte, James Johnson, Lance Stephenson, Oshae Brissett, Gabe York, Goga Bitadze.

Extensions

Tyrese Haliburton.

New Arrivals

Bruce Brown Jr, Obi Toppin, Jarace Walker (drafted 8th overall), Ben Sheppard (drafted 26th overall).

Indiana Pacers Starting Five

Tyrese Haliburton – Buddy Hield – Bruce Brown Jr – Jarace Walker – Myles Turner.

Bench Rotation

  • Point Guards: Tj McConnell, Andrew Nembhard.
  • Shooting Guards: Benedict Mathurin, Ben Sheppard, Kendall Brown (two-way contract).
  • Small Forwards: Jordan Nwora, Isaiah Jackson, Isaiah Wong (two-way contract).
  • Power Forwards: Obi Toppin, Jarace Walker, Oscar Tshiebwe (two-way contract).
  • Centers: Daniel Theis, Jalen Smith.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Weaknesses

Last year, the Pacers’ defense was a point of concern, ranking 26th, which quickly exposed the roster’s limitations. Despite adding Bruce Brown Jr and defensive-oriented rookie Jarace Walker, it seems unlikely that the Pacers will transform into an elite defensive team. Tyrese Haliburton is immensely gifted on the offensive end, but his defensive impact leaves room for improvement.

The team’s young players lack experience and will need to step up. Daniel Theis and Bruce Brown, with over 650 NBA games between them, will play crucial roles in the locker room, along with coach Rick Carlisle. However, even with the addition of Bruce Brown Jr, the roster hasn’t undergone any significant overhaul. After finishing in the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference last season, the Pacers saw several of their rivals strengthen their squads during the offseason.

Strengths

Having the league’s top assist provider on your team is a massive advantage. Having shooters like Buddy Hield and even Myles Turner receive passes from a guard of Haliburton’s caliber significantly bolsters the offense. The offseason additions are promising, and having a seasoned coach like Rick Carlisle (who will surpass 1,700 career games during the season) mentoring the younger players will be immensely beneficial.

Player to Watch: Bruce Brown Jr

Forty-five million over two years. Bruce Brown Jr, freshly arrived from the champion Denver team, has signed a handsome contract in Indiana. It is now up to him to prove that he deserves such an amount. Comfortable in almost every position on the basketball court, Bruce Brown Jr is one of the NBA’s best Swiss Army knives. The Boston native will undoubtedly defend against the opposing team’s best attacker, but he will also need to increase his scoring average (11.5 points last season). It’s his responsibility to remain the ultimate team player who brought joy to the Nuggets while becoming more dangerous offensively.

End-of-Season Prediction: 9th in the East

The Pacers must deliver. Apart from the play-in tournament last season, they are expected to finish ninth this year. If Tyrese Haliburton continues his current performance, anything is possible for the Indiana franchise. However, they must be wary of the competition. Buddy Hield, who averaged 17 points per game last season, is expected to depart in the coming weeks. And Myles Turner has often been associated with trade rumors in recent years. So, one must stay attentive in the coming months.

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