Indiana had a disappointing 2022/23 campaign, as they ended in the 11th position of the Eastern Conference with a 35-47 mark by the end of regular season. This meant they weren’t even able to compete for the Play-In Tournament and were off early for summer vacations.
However, they did have a positive start as they registered 23-18 in the schedule’s first half, reaching in their division’s sixth place by January 2023. Led by their point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who became an All-Star in his first season with the Pacers, they ranked right in the middle of the league’s table both defensively and offensively.
After working hard all summer, head coach Rick Carlisle is ready to bounce back this upcoming competition. The franchise from Indianapolis has made plenty of roster changes in the last couple of years, and he believes Haliburton’s star power has helped bring in other stars like Bruce Brown.
— All Pacers on SI (@SIPacers) September 24, 2023
“We like the direction we’re headed. There has been a lot of change to the roster, obviously, over the last few years. Haliburton has changed everything for us. He’s not only a tremendous player but someone other people are going to want to play with. Without him, we don’t get Bruce Brown in free agency,” he assured.
One remark in particular that caught our attention was his take on the new In-Season Tournament, which he believes ‘makes a lot of sense’ as most sport leagues around the world have other complimentary competitions in which they can try out younger players and different tactics.
“This is another trophy. The Premier League in soccer has been doing this for decades with a high level of success, so it’s time to jump in,” the trainer said. “It sounds to me like it’s very well-organized and makes a lot of sense. I’m sure a lot will be learned in Year 1 that will be adjusted for Year 2 as needed.”
Carlisle is convinced they’ve been lucky these past NBA drafts, and can’t wait to try out their newest arrivals in Indiana.
“Our draft has been terrific the last two years,” the Pacers coach said. “And the acquisition of [Knicks 2018 lottery pick] Obi Toppin is going to give him an opportunity and gets us one of the best transition players in the world on a team that led the league in fast-break points [18.1 per game] last year.”
Carlisle is convinced that if star Haliburton stays healthy throughout the campaign he can lead Indiana to an NBA title
Last season, Haliburton lost many games due to injury right when the team was playing their best basketball. As he recovered, the Pacers went on a losing streak. Coach Carlisle believes it is key to keep Tyrese healthy throughout the campaign in order to aspire for the playoffs and beyond.
“Had Tyrese not gone down for 12 or 13 games in January … we were 23-18 when he got injured, then he missed the better part of a month. We went 1-9 right after he got hurt. That speaks to the importance he has to our team,” he said.
In the video above, check out the former Mavericks trainer’s final press conference as they exited the 2022/23 season.
After Haliburton’s participation in the last FIBA World Cup with Team USA, he received positive feedback as a player who improves his teammates around him.
“Oh yeah, yeah. He allows those around him to achieve at a high level. That’s one of the consistent definitions of greatness of NBA players. So he’s very special,” Carlisle added.