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The next team of the East?

Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo drives the ball (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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9th July, 2018
5

After trading away their lone all-star in Paul George last season, the Indiana Pacers were perceived to enter a rebuilding stage.

But that has not been the case. The Pacers acquired Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis from the Oklahoma City Thunder in what was believed to be a lopsided trade in OKC’s favour. An incredibly determined Victor Oladipo went through the biggest summer of his life, where he took his physicality and game to the next level.

A correlation between Indiana and Oladipo has spelt nothing but success. This was evident when Oladipo spent his college career at Indiana University, coming out to be selected with the second pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Putting on the Pacers jersey for the NBA season saw Oladipo have a breakout season and establish himself as the new face of the franchise. Leading the league in steals combined and jumping from 16 points-per-game to nearly 25 a game saw him lead the Pacers to a better record than the Pacers previous season and the fifth best record in the East.

This regular season success awarded him his first all-star selection, Most Improved Player award and an all-defensive first team appearance.

If his stint in the regular season wasn’t enough then his first-round thriller against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly concreted Oladipo’s status as one of the best in the game. A completely unexpected 30-point blowout in Game 1 left the Pacers setting the tone of the series.

An incredible streak of greatness from LeBron James combined with a game winner is what eventually decided the series as well as a few unlucky shots in Game 5 and a matter of points in Game 7 that would’ve left Cleveland and The King packing in the first round.

Luck dribbled the Pacers way in the 2018 NBA draft where they held the 23rd. Somehow Aaron Holiday slipped all the way into the arms of Indiana at 23, leaving the Pacers front office and fans ecstatic. The brother of Jrue Holiday averaged over 20 points throughout his college campaign and has so far carved out successful performances in the summer league.

A perfect point to compliment to the Pacers, Holiday adds length, scoring and playmaking to compliment Oladipo.

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Third-year big man Myles Turner is another star in the making. The seven-footer is already a top three rim-protector in the league and can shoot from behind the arc as well as play with his back to the basket.

He was thought to be the next face of the franchise before Oladipo emerged and has not lost any of his potential to be a great player. The anchor of one of the best defensive teams gives Turner a big role to play on both sides of the court.

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