Pacers Aim for Playoff Return in 2023-24: ‘Is Our Foundation Done? Maybe Not’

What do the Pacers have to do to return to the postseason?Tyrese Haliburton talks with teammate Myles Turner

Well, how about just learning from this season and banking on the idea that they will have a little more experience? After all, the likes of point guard Tyrese Haliburton, talented rookie wing Bennedict Mathurin and plenty of others will be another year older. This past season, the Pacers did indeed play in some big games, and big-game experience can carry a team a long way.

Center Myles Turner said has experienced both the Pacers’ postseason runs and the past three seasons, when they’ve failed to qualify.

In fact, the Pacers haven’t advanced beyond the first round since 2013-14.

“I think getting spoiled coming into the league and being in the postseason three, four years in a row, and then seeing the flip side, having the young guys come in and be more part of a developmental group as opposed to a postseason group, it’s an interesting perspective,” Turner said, via Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “… To answer your original question, yes, I’m very upset that it’s the third year of a row of being so close and yet so far at the same time. But I don’t hate it for our young guys to get the experience they got this year. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, because experience is everything.”

Early on, the Pacers were one of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises. But then injuries and inexperience settled in, and as Dopirak noted, Indiana won just 12 of its final 41 games.

“This team was so fun to be around and I wanted them to get a taste of the playoffs,” president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said, “but I’m not sure it was the right thing.”

Most of the Pacers’ key players are expected to return, with point guard George Hill and forward Oshae Brissett being the key free agents. 

They also own a lottery pick (with the seventh-best odds of winning) and two other first-rounders (Nos. 26 and 29). So, yes, they do have some offseason assets.

“You truly have to build your foundation,” Pritchard said, via Dopirak. “Is our foundation done? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe we need a little bit more on the foundation side, if you guys know what I mean. But once you get the foundation done, the walls go up, and that’s a little easier. And then the roof goes up and that’s a little easier. We are obsessed with making sure we get the right core. That’s our goal. We have to get the right core and we can build from there.”

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