This past offseason was an blessing in disguise for the Indiana Pacers. The Paul George era had run its course and the Pacers did what they had to do to try to get good return for their All NBA shooting guard. The Oklahoma City Thunder parted with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, in exchange for George in what the overwhelming majority believed was bad return. Everyone knew these two were good, but they never expected they could have had the success they are having this season. And their success has given the city of Indiana another postseason of hope.
The Indiana Pacers have locked up the 5 seed and set themselves up with a tough test in Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pacers have found themselves in the exact same first round matchup as last season, except for the fact that they were in the 7 seed. So after trading away their best player since Reggie Miller, they actually improved behind their new best player in Victor Oladipo. By the time this series is over, Lebron will have wished he never picked him for Team Lebron on All-Star weekend.
Once upon a time, Lance Stephenson used to be Lebron’s biggest annoyance during his Miami Heat days. Stephenson is having one of the best seasons of his career when you look at the advanced metrics, posting his highest usage rate, highest rebound percentage, and his second lowest turnover rate. These two big scorers will dominate the defense of the Cavs who have been the worst in the NBA over the course of the season. Lebron will put up his numbers, but the lack of big men will show greatly. Miles Turner will dominate the boards and will get whatever he wants in the paint against either Tristan Thompson or Larry Nance Jr. In a high scoring series, Stephenson will get into Lebron’s head in Game 7 and will draw him into a brawl that will get him ejected for the first time in his career. Sorry Lebron, you’re reign is donezo.
After knocking off the King, the Pacers will be playing with an unbelievable amount of confidence. Their second round matchup with the Toronto Raptors will be a cakewalk. Thaddeus Young will finally break through and have his shining moment in the playoffs. Young has been the sidekick to Oladipo all season, but this is the perfect series for him to take over. With the great backcourt of the Raptors, all of the focus will be on Oladipo, while Young will be dominating his matchups against inexperienced guys like Jakob Poetl and Pascal Siakam. The Pacers are 23rd in the NBA in terms of pace of play, and their ability to slow the game down will allow them to keep games close. Cory Joseph and Darren Collison will come up with clutch three’s and the Pacers will sweep Canada out of the playoffs.
The Eastern Conference Finals will set up a matchup between the two biggest surprises of the season, when they face off against the Philadelphia 76ers. This will be the Al Jefferson series, as he will be matched up against the young Joel Embiid and won’t need Twitter to troll him on the court. The experience of the Pacers will prove too much for the 76ers and they will force them to make far too many mistakes. The Pacers are 1st in the NBA in forced turnover rate, and Jefferson will force Embiid to overthink his every move and turn the ball over at a high rate. The 76ers commit the second most fouls in the NBA, and good free throw shooters like Trevor Booker and Bojan Bogdanovic will get to the line for easy points. The Pacers will win in 6 games and Jefferson will go on Twitter and put the Jordan crying meme over Embiid’s face.
The hot play of the Pacers will set the basketball world on fire, and David will have to knock off Goliath in the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry will not be able to overcome his injury, and Kevin Durant will have to carry much of the load for the Warriors. Victor Oladipo will prove to the world that he should have been the NBA regular season MVP. There were only two guards this season that led their team in dunks, and that was Oladipo and his former teammate in Russel Westbrook. This shows the aggressiveness and intensity that this guy has played with all season. His ability to get to the rim and create And1 opportunities like he did all season will prove too much for defenders like Quinn Cook and Nick Young.
Domantas Sabonis will prove that he was a key piece in their offseason trade as well as he will have no trouble with Zaza and Javale McGee. Kevin Durant will put up big scoring numbers, but the depth of the Pacers will prove too much for him and the Warriors. The Pacers will win in Game 7 and Finals MVP Victor Oladipo will one day get a statue put up of him in Indiana.
Vic got big time hops...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.