The Indiana Pacers are entering familiar territory early in the season when it comes to fighting relevancy. While this franchise is certainly no stranger to national irrelevancy, the national tone in this week's various power rankings is almost...dare I say, lethargic. But it's not as if the blame should be divvied up to those ranking the teams, the Pacers haven't really broken stride on their season at any point this year. Each game is either a nailbiter against a bad team or a +1 in the loss column against a good team with too many of the former, and not enough of the latter to draw a larger sample size.
But the Pacers, who are 3-2 in their last five games, have shown a little more hope towards this team at least continuing to stay on that relevancy bubble as they hope to find the ultimate answer in the return of their five-time leading scorer in Danny Granger. So even while last week's wins against the 0-12 Wizards and Anthony Davis-less Hornets weren't barnburners, they did give the Pacers a lot of solid all-around play from a number of guys, which put them in position to make a statement against the Spurs. But a loss like that eating away at this team all weekend, SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal sums it up well by saying, "It'll be interesting to see whether the collapse disrupted their momentum." With a week of games in California against the Lakers, Kings, and Warriors, we'll find out how far this team has come.
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The Pacers are at 22 in Rosenthal's rankings, with concern coming from the way the team lost their game to San Antonio.
NBA Basketball Power Rankings - National Basketball Association - ESPN
Marc Stein holds the Pacers steady at #20, noting one of the reasons the Pacers may have lost to San Antonio; only one of the Pacers top five scorers is above .411 on the season shooting, that being David West.
The Pacers are No. 21 in John Schuhmann's rankings, Schuhmann having kind words for the Pacers offense when Roy Hibbert and Paul George can have the kinds of nights they had this past week.
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Kurt Helin drops the Pacers to #22 with some snark, dismissing this team's positives for the fact they're not in a good place in the standings.
NBA Power Rankings - Top 30 NBA Basketball Teams - FOX Sports on MSN
Sam Amico edges the Pacers up at number 18, showing it's not all a lack of Danny Granger when you've got a lack of guys like Roy Hibbert as well.
Jeff Sagarin NBA ratings - USA TODAY
The Pacers are a spot up to 18th, very nearly the perfect spot for the team, who is 0-5 against the top 16 teams and 6-3 against the competition below them.