Tyrese Haliburton’s Impact has the Pacers Fast-Tracking in the NBA

The NBA’s Three Tiers: Haliburton, Young, Morant and the Race for Offensive Excellence

Three tiers of NBA teams once existed: stagnant teams, those vying for a championship, and future contenders. Before Tyrese Haliburton’s opening full season as a Pacer, Indiana lacked direction and seemed destined for failure. With Haliburton, they found hope. However, their talent pool was not as deep as other teams like Oklahoma City or New Orleans. The emergence of Benedict Mathurin marked a turning point for the franchise. Despite this, The Ringer ranked the Pacers 14th in future rankings, behind the Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and Charlotte Hornets, who all boasted potent, young point guard-led offenses.

FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR player ratings illustrated Haliburton’s standing among his peers before his first full season as a Pacer, ranking him 81st. By the end of the 2022 season, he had climbed to 30th. However, the Pacers still struggled, with a sub-.500 record and a bottom-third offense.

In comparison, young players like SGA and Morant are leading teams with promising futures. Meanwhile, Haliburton’s impact has transformed the Pacers’ offense, setting NBA records for offensive efficiency. As a result, Indiana is making a name for itself on the grand stage of the NBA Cup, taking down top opponents.

While Indiana’s chances in a seven-game series may be slim due to their weak defense, the team’s YOLO basketball thrives in single-elimination matchups. Additionally, the $500,000 prize for winning the tournament carries significant weight for Indiana’s young stars.

The addition of defensive players like Bruce Brown and rookie Jarace Walker will help bolster Indiana’s defense in the long run. Small-market teams are rising in prominence, with the Pacers positioning themselves as contenders in the NBA. As they continue to develop, their future looks bright.