• A season without expectations might be the best time for an NBA franchise, and that’s where the Indiana Pacers found themselves heading into the year. A few months removed from pivoting away from the treadmill of mediocrity, Tyrese Haliburton and co. gave the Blue and Gold not just something to cheer for in the 2022-23 season, but also something to be excited about for years to come.

    How’d It Go?

    It went pretty well, with a few minor exceptions. The first full season of Tyrese Haliburton was a treat, and he played at an All-Star level throughout, elevating his teammates and looking like a true franchise cornerstone for years to come. While Domantas Sabonis has also delivered big success in Sacramento, it’s a trade that both teams would do again in a heartbeat.

    The Pacers weren’t exactly expected to contend for the postseason but they played hard, won a few more games than anticipated, and were able to get some good looks into the development of younger players. Bennedict Mathurin showcased his scoring upside with some gaudy lines. Aaron Nesmith mostly held up as a starter. Andrew Nembhard definitely held up as a starter. TJ McConnell returned to form after suffering a major wrist injury last season.

    Expected to be traded for the third or fourth straight year, Myles Turner backed up his offseason chatter about proving himself as more than a complementary option. The squeaky wheel got the grease on a roster that finally had space for him to spread his wings, and he didn’t disappoint. Turner produced the finest statistical season of his career and earned a big contract extension, ending one of the league’s longest running trade sagas.

    If there was one quibble it’s that their younger frontcourt guys were unable to make the leap. Jalen Smith, fresh off a breakout second half of last season, re-signed with the Pacers on the expectation that he’d be the starting PF. He flopped and would fall out of the rotation at times. Isaiah Jackson was in a similar boat besides the re-signing bit, and he couldn’t break through to the next level. Turner’s play had a lot to do with this, but at the end of the day Smith and Jackson left a lot on the table. In a year where so many other big-picture issues were resolved, the two bigs have left questions to be answered.


    Rick Carlisle hasn’t ever been known as a coach that loves to play with pace. His teams in Dallas had an average pace of 20th in the league across 12 years, with just four above-average seasons…but Carlisle has never coached Tyrese Haliburton before. The Pacers ended the 2022-23 season fourth in the NBA in pace at 101.1, and that was a purposeful choice to compensate for their second-worst defense in the league. Carlisle also hasn’t ever been known as a rebuilding or developmental coach, but he’s taken that in stride. He still keeps his players accountable, most exemplified displayed by how strict he was with Bennedict Mathurin’s playing time in games where the rookie had multiple defensive lapses, but also clearly had no issue with players finding their way through some issues.

    One knock for Carlisle this year was how the frontcourt rotation was handled…or maybe, how it was mishandled. There were some expectations for Jalen Smith after re-signing in free agency, but there were also high hopes for Isaiah Jackson in his second year despite Myles Turner still being on the team. Instead the Pacers leave the season without really learning what either young center might be, either as a player or on this team moving forward, and an expectation to make the playoffs next year might not leave Carlisle much time for discovery. The biggest takeaway to apply to next year with Carlisle is that he values shooting and defense, plus is considered a partner by the Pacers front office alongside Haliburton. So if there are any transactions this summer, we can be sure that Carlisle had at least some part to play in the decision, which likely speaks well of that player’s fantasy outlook playing alongside Haliburton.

    The Players

    Tyrese Haliburton
    PG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 56 56 33.6 7.4 15.0 49.0 3.1 3.6 87.1 2.9 7.2 40.0 20.7 3.7 10.4 1.6 0.4 2.5
    21-22 IND 77 77 35.0 5.6 11.8 47.3 2.1 2.5 84.2 2.1 5.1 41.4 15.3 4.0 8.2 1.7 0.6 2.6
    20-21 SAC 58 20 30.1 5.0 10.7 47.2 0.8 1.0 85.7 2.1 5.1 40.9 13.0 3.0 5.3 1.3 0.5 1.6

    ADP: 14/14 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 25/23 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 9/8 (8/9-cat)

    We’re all familiar with silly season, and how rare it is for a massive change in production for a few weeks to carry over into the following year. It’s even more rare for a player to *improve* on that production, but that’s exactly what Haliburton did. A top-10 per-game player regardless of format, Haliburton had a career year in almost every single category on the way to his first All-Star selection. Unfortunately for head-to-head managers, he was also on a Pacers team that mailed it in for the last couple weeks of the season and caused his total value to take a hit.

    The best part about Haliburton is not just how sustainable his production is moving forward, but that his isolation scoring taking such a big jump hints that there’s even more of a ceiling than what we’ve already seen. The Pacers front office has hinted at some big changes to meet their internal goal of making the playoffs, but it was resoundingly clear that Haliburton is the center of everything moving forward. The pace that the Pacers play at and the eagerness with which Haliburton spreads the ball around are the identity of the team, and fantasy managers can expect top-10 production in every format for the 2023-24 season – if not better.

    Myles Turner
    C, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 62 62 29.4 6.5 11.8 54.8 3.5 4.5 78.3 1.5 4.0 37.3 18.0 7.5 1.4 0.6 2.3 1.7
    21-22 IND 42 42 29.4 4.8 9.4 50.9 1.9 2.5 75.2 1.5 4.4 33.3 12.9 7.1 1.0 0.7 2.8 1.3
    20-21 IND 47 47 31.0 4.4 9.2 47.7 2.4 3.0 78.2 1.5 4.4 33.5 12.6 6.5 1.0 0.9 3.4 1.4

    ADP: 73/41 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 49/34 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 29/20 (8/9-cat)

    Another aspect of fantasy basketball that is always present is the idea of “just wait until Player X gets into his ideal role, he’ll break out!”. I’m certainly guilty of that train of thought when it came to Turner, but he proved me right. Turner had a career-high in scoring, efficiency and rebounding despite not playing 30 minutes a game on the season. Obviously Tyrese Haliburton gives every Pacer a chance to raise their game, but Turner’s aggression and effectiveness as the lone center was everything he (and some Pacers fans) had been saying was possible.

    Turner’s ADP last year had a lot to do with his future with the Pacers being uncertain throughout the summer of 2022, but Turner kept producing while the Pacers kept overachieving, and that combination resulted in a rare extend-and-trade that put him under contract for another two seasons. Turner did enough as the center surrounded by perimeter talent to raise our expectations from here on out, even if he does miss some games. However, the tanking of the Pacers can’t be ignored in that evaluation, and there should be no hesitation to take Turner in the third or fourth round next year.

    Buddy Hield
    SF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 80 73 31.0 5.9 13.0 45.8 1.3 1.6 82.2 3.6 8.5 42.5 16.8 5.0 2.8 1.2 0.3 1.7
    21-22 IND 81 32 30.8 5.5 13.6 40.6 1.4 1.6 87.4 3.2 8.8 36.6 15.6 4.4 2.8 0.9 0.3 1.9
    20-21 SAC 70 70 34.3 5.7 14.0 40.6 1.2 1.4 85.1 4.0 10.2 39.4 16.6 4.7 3.5 0.9 0.4 1.8

    ADP: 78/82 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 29/26 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 57/48 (8/9-cat)

    Hield’s list of strengths obviously starts with his shooting, but immediately after that is his availability. He missed only two games this year, which is miraculously tied for the most games he’s missed in a season for his entire career. While he didn’t quite match the type of 9-cat production he was putting up to close out last year, Hield is as predictable as they come with what he provides. The only uncertainty for next year is whether he’ll be asked to fill the same role, and that’s where the trajectory is trending down. Hield will clearly still be a standard-league player, but it’s more likely that his 9-cat finish ends up closer to the top-100 level we saw across his last two years in Sacramento than the top-50 we’ve seen in Indiana – whether he’s on the Pacers or not.

    T.J. McConnell
    PG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 75 6 20.3 3.8 6.9 54.3 0.8 0.9 85.3 0.3 0.8 44.1 8.7 3.1 5.3 1.1 0.1 1.9
    21-22 IND 27 8 24.1 3.7 7.7 48.1 0.7 0.9 82.6 0.4 1.2 30.3 8.5 3.3 4.9 1.1 0.4 1.1
    20-21 IND 69 3 26.0 4.0 7.1 55.9 0.5 0.7 68.8 0.2 0.7 31.2 8.6 3.7 6.6 1.9 0.3 2.0

    ADP: 141/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 106/120 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 140/157 (8/9-cat)

    McConnell is one of the steadiest backup point guards in the league, and continues to flirt with fantasy relevance in standard leagues despite his minutes load going down each of the last three seasons. Here’s a crazy stat: McConnell joined Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan as the only seven players in the league to be positive contributors in assists, steals, field goal and free throw percentage. There is more than a small chance that Andrew Nembhard might push McConnell out of standard league relevance, but he can still give deep-league fantasy managers a unique combination of production that surprisingly few players can match.

    Aaron Nesmith
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 73 60 24.9 3.5 8.1 42.7 1.6 1.9 83.8 1.6 4.3 36.6 10.1 3.8 1.3 0.8 0.5 1.0
    21-22 BOS 51 3 10.9 1.4 3.5 39.9 0.4 0.5 79.2 0.6 2.2 27.0 3.7 1.7 0.4 0.4 0.1 0.6
    20-21 BOS 46 1 14.5 1.7 3.9 43.8 0.5 0.6 78.6 0.9 2.3 37.0 4.7 2.8 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.5

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 159/149 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 191/188 (8/9-cat)

    Nesmith came into the season as a throw-in to the Malcolm Brogdon trade with an uncertain future, but ended as a staple in the Pacers rotation that can do a little bit of everything. He doesn’t stand out in 9-cat formats because he doesn’t do any one thing well, and his minutes were limited to under 25 minutes per game due to his physical defense and being assigned to the most difficult forward assignment. Nesmith did end up a positive in free throw percentage and threes, but everything else was in line with what would be expected from a low-usage forward.

    However, Nesmith is someone to check on in dynasty leagues. This was his first year as a lock in a rotation, and he showed plenty of flashes throughout the year in terms of athleticism, shooting and improved comfort off the bounce. In the 18 games he played over 30 minutes, Nesmith produced at a top-100 rate even after reducing his hot shooting in those games to his season average. It’s not a guarantee that he gets that sort of role, but two-way forwards with athleticism are always going to have a place in the league, and the implied improvement that usually comes from getting a huge boost in game reps should make Nesmith an intriguing player for years to come.

    Isaiah Jackson
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 63 12 16.5 2.8 5.0 56.3 1.5 2.3 65.1 0.0 0.2 14.3 7.2 4.5 0.8 0.5 1.5 0.8
    21-22 IND 36 15 15.0 3.2 5.7 56.3 1.7 2.4 68.2 0.1 0.4 31.2 8.3 4.1 0.3 0.7 1.4 1.1

    ADP: 140/124 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 211/199 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 222/201 (8/9-cat)

    Maybe the fantasy hype leader of last summer, Jackson came into this year with high expectations tied almost entirely to the seemingly inevitable Myles Turner trade. Turns out, putting stock into a player based on a role change that hasn’t happened yet doesn’t always work out. IJax was able to rack up 1.5 blocks per game in just 16.6 minutes, which was enough to be a top-10 producer in that category for the season, but still ended outside the top-200 for 8- and 9-cat. That finish has more to do with minutes than his production rates though, because Jackson not only maintained his great rebounds, field goal percentage and steal rate for a center, but also showed improved passing chops that could be worth monitoring.

    The Pacers seem primed to make some changes to the rotation heading into the 2023-24 season, and they somehow still have a logjam at center for what seems like the sixth year in a row. Whether it’s in Indiana as the primary backup or elsewhere after being moved, Jackson should be considered a late-round flier in standard leagues next year with a friendly per-minute fantasy game that could lead to him being the steal we were hoping for this year.

    Andrew Nembhard
    PG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 75 63 27.6 3.8 8.6 44.1 0.7 0.8 79.0 1.2 3.5 35.0 9.5 2.7 4.5 0.9 0.2 1.7

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 138/156 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 178/212 (8/9-cat)

    One of the most surprising rookies of the year, Nembhard came into the league and forced the Pacers to keep him heavily in the rotation with his steady play and legitimate defensive talent. He ended the year outside of per-game relevance for most leagues, but his 13.8 points, 7.0 assists and only 2.4 turnovers in games without Haliburton are worth noting heading into the 2023-24 season. Not that those numbers are what to expect for his sophomore campaign, but it does go to show us (and the Pacers) that Nembhard is very capable of running an offense. It would take some combination of a rise in minutes, more responsibility with the second unit and/or a boost in efficiency to put Nembhard on standard league radars, but offseason consolidation for the Pacers could make him a target in the last round or two.

    Jalen Smith
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 68 31 18.8 3.6 7.5 47.6 1.5 2.0 75.9 0.8 2.8 28.3 9.4 5.8 1.0 0.3 0.9 1.1
    21-22 IND 51 8 18.1 3.5 6.9 50.3 1.5 2.0 76.5 0.8 2.4 32.8 9.2 6.0 0.5 0.3 0.8 0.8
    20-21 PHO 27 1 5.8 0.8 1.9 44.0 0.2 0.3 71.4 0.1 0.6 23.5 2.0 1.4 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.3

    ADP: 120/116 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 185/188 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 215/215 (8/9-cat)

    Another one of the hotter names from the end of last year heading into this one, Smith was overdrafted after being announced as the starting power forward during a Rick Carlisle press conference. In some ways he was another casualty of the Turner trade that wasn’t, but Smith also just didn’t hit shots this year. After a scorching hot 22 game sample of 37.3% from deep to close out the 2022 season, Smith fell back to 28.3% for the year and eventually stopped putting them up as his confidence fell just as far.

    The good news for those that invested in Smith in dynasty or keeper leagues was that he did make strides as a defender, and still has the outline of someone who can have a friendly fantasy game thanks to his (maybe theoretical) ability to make threes with solid percentages. Smith could end up close to standard league relevance if it looks like he will get the primary backup role next year, but otherwise he might be someone that’s left alone except for deeper formats.

    Bennedict Mathurin
    SG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 78 17 28.5 5.3 12.2 43.4 4.8 5.8 82.8 1.3 4.0 32.3 16.7 4.1 1.5 0.6 0.2 1.9

    ADP: 140/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 143/179 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 193/246 (8/9-cat)

    Mathurin’s rookie season is one that takes some nuance to evaluate. On one hand, he walked into the league scoring almost 20 points per game and was an all but guaranteed trip to the free throw line if he chose to attack the rim. On the other, those points and trips to the free throw line were the only positive contributions Mathurin had as far as categories go. Rookies aren’t always efficient, so we can excuse the field goal percentage, but averaging more turnovers than assists for a player that had the ball as much as he did is almost as concerning as his free throw rate was impressive. 0.6 steals and 0.2 blocks for a player that has above-average athleticism and played almost 29 minutes a game is also quite low, and getting only 4.1 rebounds a game for a team that doesn’t have a lot of great rebounders also leaves room for criticism.

    All that said, Mathurin’s scoring (21.1 points per-36) and relentless rim pressure on the way to a .477 free throw percentage needs a bit of context to really drive home just how unprecedented it is. Here’s the list of rookies over the last 40 years that have approached or exceeded Mathurin’s proficiency in those two areas: Paolo Banchero, Zion Williamson, Joel Embiid, Blake Griffin, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, and Michael Jordan. (Filtered for greater than 20 min/game played, per https://stathead.com/tiny/n4DOY)

    Are there concerns with his 9-cat game for the 2023-24 season? Sure, he likely doesn’t end up as a top-150 9-cat player without a massive boost in efficiency or defensive stats. But combine THAT list of THOSE names with the improvements that were definitely there towards the end of the season, and Mathurin is a player to buy into before it’s too late in dynasty leagues.

    Chris Duarte
    SF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 46 12 19.5 2.7 7.2 36.9 1.3 1.6 84.7 1.2 3.8 31.8 7.9 2.5 1.4 0.5 0.2 0.9
    21-22 IND 55 39 28.0 4.9 11.3 43.2 1.6 2.0 80.4 1.7 4.6 36.9 13.1 4.1 2.1 1.0 0.2 1.6

    ADP: 140/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 317/320 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 324/341 (8/9-cat)

    Duarte’s second season likely couldn’t have gone any worse. Coming into the year with high expectations after a successful rookie year, Duarte injured his ankle in the ninth game of the year, just one game after scoring a career-high 30 points. He would go on to miss the next 20 games, watching as Aaron Nesmith and Andrew Nembhard took the minutes and repetitions that were likely going to be his. Even when coming back from the injury, Duarte hit only eight of his next 37 threes (21.6%) and had a stretch where he missed 21 straight shots across six games. It’s unlikely that Duarte just isn’t going to be good at basketball after the really solid season we saw in 2021-22, but his role on this Pacers team is in question and he shouldn’t be on the radar for anything but deep leagues.

    Jordan Nwora
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 62 14 19.2 3.1 7.2 43.6 1.1 1.4 79.1 1.4 3.4 40.8 8.7 3.7 1.4 0.4 0.2 1.1
    21-22 MIL 62 13 19.1 3.0 7.5 40.3 0.6 0.7 83.7 1.3 3.7 34.8 7.9 3.6 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.9
    20-21 MIL 29 2 8.2 1.7 3.9 42.9 0.6 0.7 81.0 0.8 1.9 44.4 4.7 1.6 0.2 0.5 0.2 0.7

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 254/259 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 283/295 (8/9-cat)

    Nwora was a weird player this summer since he was a restricted free agent that didn’t end up signing with the Bucks until late September, almost a full three months after free agency started. He went on to play just 15.7 minutes per game across just 38 games with the Bucks before the trade deadline and his move to Indianapolis. Once he got to his new home, Nwora jumped right in to 24.6 minutes per game and posted 13.0 points on 48/42/72 shooting splits plus 4.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists. While that was only enough to put him around the top-200 from the deadline to the end of the year, Nwora has the size and scoring proficiency that should warrant some extra time in the rotation next year for the Pacers. However, it’s unlikely that Nwora ends up worth drafting except for deep leagues with him likely keeping a role off the bench for a team that wants to improve their talent.

    George Hill
    PG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 46 1 18.1 1.7 3.6 47.0 0.9 1.2 76.4 0.7 2.1 35.8 5.0 1.8 2.4 0.6 0.1 0.7
    21-22 MIL 54 17 23.2 2.2 5.1 42.9 1.1 1.1 91.9 0.8 2.5 30.6 6.2 2.9 2.2 0.8 0.1 0.8
    20-21 PHI 29 16 22.4 3.1 6.6 47.1 1.3 1.7 79.6 1.0 2.6 36.8 8.5 2.1 2.4 0.8 0.2 1.1

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 314/315 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 318/319 (8/9-cat)

    Hill came back to Indiana at the deadline and did more in the locker room than in the box score. We can expect more of the same next year regardless of what team he’s on, even if he ends up on a contending team after his unrestricted free agency this summer.

    Oshae Brissett
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 65 2 16.7 1.9 4.9 38.6 1.6 2.2 71.7 0.7 2.4 31.0 6.1 3.4 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.5
    21-22 IND 67 25 23.3 3.1 7.6 41.1 1.7 2.4 69.5 1.2 3.5 35.0 9.1 5.3 1.1 0.7 0.4 0.8
    20-21 IND 21 16 24.7 3.5 7.2 48.3 2.4 3.1 76.9 1.6 3.7 42.3 10.9 5.5 0.9 0.9 1.0 0.5

    ADP: 141/144 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 304/305 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 382/371 (8/9-cat)

    Brissett had no business being drafted in the 140s across any format, and that comes from one of the leaders of the Oshae fan club. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, so there’s a chance Brissett chooses to go where he feels he can get the most opportunity, but it’s safe to say he’s best left alone in even the deepest of leagues.

    Daniel Theis
    C, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 7 1 15.6 3.0 6.3 47.7 0.7 1.7 41.7 0.3 1.6 18.2 7.0 3.1 1.3 0.3 0.9 0.4
    21-22 BOS 46 26 20.7 3.2 6.2 51.6 1.0 1.5 67.6 0.7 2.3 31.1 8.1 4.8 0.8 0.4 0.7 1.0
    20-21 CHI 65 51 24.6 3.9 7.2 54.1 1.1 1.7 67.3 0.8 2.3 32.2 9.6 5.5 1.7 0.6 0.9 1.0

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 475/472 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 386/372 (8/9-cat)

    Theis spent most of the season recovering from a knee procedure that was best for both him and the team, and played only seven games right around the trade deadline for this young Pacers squad. Surprisingly, Theis’s $9.1 million contract for next year is one of the bigger salaries on the Pacers’ cap sheet, and it’s more likely he ends up as salary matching than a member of the team in October. That could be a good thing for his fantasy relevance, but Theis is a second or third big in a rotation and not someone to pay much attention to for 2023-24.

    James Johnson
    PF, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 18 1 9.0 1.2 2.7 44.9 0.2 0.4 50.0 0.2 0.8 20.0 2.8 1.7 0.8 0.4 0.3 0.4
    21-22 BKN 62 10 19.2 2.3 5.0 46.9 0.5 0.9 52.7 0.4 1.4 27.1 5.5 3.5 2.1 0.5 0.5 0.8
    20-21 NO 50 11 20.3 2.8 6.3 44.9 0.9 1.5 61.6 0.6 2.4 26.3 7.2 3.5 1.9 0.8 0.8 1.1

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 444/443 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 436/432 (8/9-cat)

    If being voted as the player the NBA would least like to fight was a category, Johnson would be a first rounder. Instead, he should remain on the waiver wire in the same way he should remain on the bench as a locker room presence that rarely sees the floor.

    Kendall Brown
    SG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 6 0 6.7 0.7 1.2 57.1 0.2 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.7 0.0 0.3

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 493/490 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 450/439 (8/9-cat)

    Brown is someone the Pacers speak highly of, but had season-ending surgery to address a right tibia stress fracture. He’s only worth noting in 30-deep dynasty leagues where there are minor league stash spots, and even then there’s an argument to move on for someone that has a clearer path to contributing.

    Gabe York
    PG, Indiana Pacers
    22-23 IND 3 0 18.7 2.7 7.0 38.1 0.7 0.7 100.0 2.0 6.0 33.3 8.0 2.0 1.7 0.7 0.0 0.0
    21-22 IND 2 10.5 1.0 3.5 28.6 1.5 2.5 60.0 0.5 3.0 16.7 4.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 0.5 0.5

    ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 489/478 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 277/224 (8/9-cat)

    York played only three games as a two-way player during silly season, but boy was he putting up threes in his 18.6 minutes in those games. York will not be someone to keep in mind regardless of format next year.

    Fantasy Star

    Despite career years from a lot of Pacers, most of them have fantasy and real-life star Tyrese Haliburton to thank for it. Haliburton was just the 15th player to ever average 20 points and 10 assists, and likely would have led the league in total assists and assists per game if not for the Pacers shutting him down with ping pong balls in mind. His self-creation alone was far beyond what was expected, but doing so while maintaining almost positive contribution to field goal percentage along with his great free throw percentage is what pushed him into the top-10 on a per-game basis.

    Fantasy Letdown

    There were a couple Pacers who shouldn’t have been drafted as high as they were, but Jalen Smith is the choice for fantasy letdown considering the expectations from the close of last season and the projection of what he could be if Myles Turner was traded. Staying in Indiana and being named the starting power forward was a fairly big deal, but Smith’s inability to hit shots from outside or guard power forwards quickly made it apparent that double bigs wasn’t the answer. (At least it didn’t take the Pacers four seasons to figure that out like it did with Turner and Sabonis, huh?). But even when he was put at his more natural position as the backup big, Smith was still less effective than expected and couldn’t cement himself into anything but 18.8 minutes per game.

    One to Watch

    This category for the Pacers might as well be named after Isaiah Jackson, because it’s impossible to quit how good his fantasy game can be if he gets even just 23 minutes per game. He talked in end of season interviews about working on his shooting and ball handling to be able to play at the 4 should he be asked to, and there’s a shooting base there that could develop into at least not being a drain on free throw percentage. If that doesn’t develop, Jackson still should be someone to pay attention to throughout the summer and probably inquire about in dynasty leagues. (Honorable mention to Bennedict Mathurin for somehow figuring out some of the hardest parts of the NBA game, the kind of things that only players at the top of the league end up nailing down, but not some of the easier things. We’ll be watching his career with great interest.)

    One Burning Question

    Last year the question was, “who is going to be on this team?“, but somehow that’s still the case even after the roster being significantly different after 12 months. The Pacers have a logjam at center behind Turner with Smith, Jackson and Theis, and there’s a surplus of guards with Mathurin, Nembhard, Duarte, Hield and McConnell, not to mention three first-round picks in the 2023 draft. It’s safe to say Haliburton will be running the show, almost certainly alongside Mathurin, Nembhard and Turner, but anything beyond that could be considered up in the air. There are some intriguing fantasy games that could be involved in some changes, and there’s no shortage of meaningful forward minutes available that could boost the draft stock of whoever ends up the main beneficiary, so the Pacers are going to be hard to accurately project until the dust settles in July.

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