Pacers May Benefit Significantly From Extended Time Off


Infamous Day

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020 is a day that will live in infamy. Set to take the court for a pivotal game in the Western Conference race, the Utah Jazz were in Oklahoma City for a battle with the Thunder. The winner would take 4th place in the West. Players fist bumped and tested the ball. Just as the game was about to tip, referees ordered everyone to return to the locker room with little-to-no explanation.

Twitter was in a full uproar, and the NBA world was in a frenzy. There was something suspicious about this move. Less than 12 hours later, the sports world shook as the NBA, NCAA, NHL, XFL, and other sports leagues suspended play indefinitely. The sports world had come to a complete halt. No games, no practice, no community events. Nothing. Just players in quarantine as COVID-19 takes its toll on the United States. Although everything is at a halt, there is still a possibility some NBA franchises benefit. The Indiana Pacers are one of those franchises.

Exceeding Expectations

This year, the Pacers have far surpassed expectations, starting with a reasonably good 39-26 record. They have lost 117 games due to injury and illness (based on ten current rotation players), and are tied for 5th in the Eastern Conference, just two games back of the Miami Heat. Victor Oladipo, who had missed over 365 days of basketball, is starting to look like his former self. Averaging 13.8 points in just 13 games, he is still a little rusty, and this break in the middle of a playoff push may certainly stall his development. Given his current work ethic, however, he should be good for the long haul.

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Other major injury trouble includes a lingering back problem for Malcolm Brogdon, who has missed 19 games this season with a toe injury. This injury was the same one that kept sixth-man Doug McDermott out for an extended period. This break will give the Pacers a chance to get back to 100 percent.

Time To Refocus

Additionally, it gives the team the time they need to focus on themselves. I have always been a huge “NBA season is too long” person. Sometimes spanning over eight and a half months, the NBA season is far too lengthy. The Pacers started their preseason on October 4th and were on pace to finish around May 17th, or about 226 days of NBA action. Having this break coming with 40 days left in the regular season, though, the team gets to take some much needed time with their families and friends to focus on themselves a little more.

Lastly, it allows a build-up for fans again. There are a lot of fans who are missing basketball right now, more than ever. When it returns, we could see a massive swing in numbers for this team and many others. I think there were a lot of fans who burnt out in the mid-season. It was the “mid-season blues” if you will. This break gives a new hype for when the NBA returns. It also allows workers to unwind a little as well. I know from interviews of friends who were interns with the team that they too get burnt out around this time of year. They miss having extra free time with their families and time to hang out with friends. Several devout employees avoid taking time off, and the workers of NBA teams are no exception. 

Even in one of our most trying times as a country, there are still some excellent outcomes that will unfold. For many teams, including the Pacers, they will get healthier, get a break, and allow their fans and workers to have a build-up for the rest of their season!

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About Zach Barnett

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