The Indiana Pacers salvaged an otherwise winless week with a close win against a Washington Wizards team still winless on the season, a positive considering the realistic alternative of losing four straight so early in the season. The Pacers have struggled, yes; they've needed to make plays to sit at 3-4 on the season instead of simply having things go awry, but faced without Danny Granger, faced with one of the league's worst offenses, they almost find themselves back at square one in everything they're doing.
The good news is that there might be good news. Though they couldn't run away from Washington, the wing play as a whole was a positive, the team has shot better, and turnovers have been much less frequent. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't lead to anything but a roller coaster.
Power rankings this week are justifiably pessimistic, but in looking for positives, perhaps the Pacers are building upon their heartbreaking loss in Minnesota and win at home. That's the hope anyway. The Pacers face a tough week with Toronto, Milwaukee, Dallas, and New York, giving them plenty of opportunities to show steps of progress.
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The Pacers are at #21 in Seth Rosenthal's latest rankings. A common theme this week is questions about Roy Hibbert's whereabouts, but Seth has little reason to be optimistic given the competition Indiana has faced so far.
NBA Basketball Power Rankings - National Basketball Association - ESPN
Marc Stein keeps the Pacers in the better half of the league, albeit at No. 15, noting there isn't concern for the team's record based on their road heavy schedule, but does wonder about Hibbert.
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Indiana comes in at 18 according to John Schuhmann, the biggest drop on his list, showcasing concern for the Pacers chances at staying in the playoff race with such an anemic offense.
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Kurt Helin asks the appropriate question for the 17th ranked Pacers: Where does the offense come from without Granger? He's still looking at Paul George and Hibbert to make up that difference.
Jeff Sagarin NBA ratings - USA TODAY
Sagrain's rankings have the Pacers at 18, with a note on the 27th ranked schedule.