Indiana Pacers Details
The Pacers are named for Indianapolis’ rich racing history. The team originally hoped to play periodic “home” games in other locations throughout the state, so the team is named for all of Indiana, rather than for the city of Indianapolis, where the Pacers currently play their home games at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers formed along with the ABA in 1967. The team won three ABA championships in four years (1970, 1972, and 1973). By the league’s demise in 1976, the Pacers had been to more ABA Finals than any other team. The Pacers joined the NBA when the ABA folded after its 1976 playoffs.
After finding little success upon joining the NBA, the Pacers reversed their fortunes by drafting Reggie Miller with the first overall pick in 1987. Miller is one of the NBA’s all-time most precise three-point shooters. The Pacers made their first finals appearance in the 2000 playoffs thanks to strong performances from Miller and from coach Larry Bird. They would ultimately lose to the Lakers in six games. The Pacers are still seeking their first championship, and have not been back to the finals.
Up to the end of the 2016 season, the Pacers had been led by Paul George, who won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2013 and has been a consistent all-star ever since. He averaged a career high in points per game last season and led the Pacers to the East’s 7th seed in the playoffs, where they swept in the first round by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Pacers will be in unfamiliar territory next season, as they traded Paul George this offseason to the Thunder. In return, they received two former first round picks: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The Pacers are likely in a rebuilding phase, but their young talent may be able to battle for a playoff spot in a comparatively weak Eastern Conference.