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Kevin Pritchard Playing 4D Chess for Pacers

It’s the dog days of NBA Summer. With no major headlines this week I decided to have a little fun.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game One
A view of the Eastern Conference Finals logo on the court during Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers at AmericanAirlines Arena on May 22, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Note: This is purely for fun and not meant to be taken seriously, enjoy!

Deep in a vault somewhere the government keeps its plans for every possible scenario that could happen in the world. These plans might include something like what to do if aliens attacked. I like to dream that every sports team has one of these too, but on a much less serious scale.

Every basketball GM wants to be seen as smart. They’re all trying to play four-dimensional chess. If Kevin Pritchard was one of these heads of basketball operations how would he draw up Indiana’s plans for the next three years?


The Pacers are on a collision course with a 28-54 season that results in them not getting a top-five pick and still missing the playoffs by a decent margin. Myles Turner continues to improve. He goes from averaging 11 shots a game to 16. He goes from averaging one three-point shot per game to three. He improves his ability to draw fouls. He shoots 55 percent from the field and 38 percent from three, averaging 20 points a game.

Victor Oladipo emerges as a quality starting shooting guard. Oladipo returns to his 2014-15 Orlando Magic form but with slightly worse shooting percentage shooting percentage. He picks up some assists thanks to his pick-and-roll game with Turner. He averages 17 PPG and 6 APG.

Glenn Robinson proves he can be a starting small forward in the NBA. Lance Stephenson, his typical Lance things and is the team’s utility guy, playing everything from point guard to small forward.

Nobody else shows any significant promise. The Pacers trade Bogdanovic and Young at the trade deadline, accumulating an extra late first round pick and second rounder. Nate McMillan manages to keep his job for another season.


Indiana releases Al Jefferson at the end of the season. The team brings back Darren Collison and lets Cory Joseph walk.

With the seventh pick in the 2018 NBA draft the Indiana Pacers select point guard Collin Sexton from Alabama. Following the draft, Myles Turner signs a five year $156 million max extension. Glenn Robinson signs a four year, $68 million extension. The Pacers don’t bring in major free agents - owner Herb Simon doesn’t want to waste his money like last season.

The Pacers starters this season are Collison, Oladipo, Robinson, Turner and Domantas Sabonis. Stephenson, Leaf, and Sexton are the main three players on the bench. The Pacers get off to a good start as Turner emerges as one of the best centers in NBA. But a lack of real talent causes the team to fade late. Finishing 37-45, the Pacers just miss the playoffs.

Nate McMillan is fired. Recently fired Magic coach Frank Vogel finds his back to Indiana. The Pacers bring in Eric Bledsoe by giving him the David West deal, overpaying for leadership. Stephenson resigns with the Pacers - he knows he can never leave. With the 12th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the Pacers select power forward Shareef O’Neal out of Arizona. O’Neal is Shaq’s son.


Indiana has a new coach and optimism is high. Myles Turner receives a top 15 preseason ESPN ranking and Pacer fans go nuts. The starting lineup is Bledsoe, Oladipo, Robinson, T.J. Leaf, and Turner. Stephenson, Sexton, Sabonis, and O’Neal come off the bench.

President Kevin Pritchard gets his first playoff team of his tenure. Turner averages 25 points and 10 rebounds and makes third team All-NBA, behind Anthony Davis and Karl Anthony Towns. Second-year point guard Collin Sexton wins the starting job halfway through the season - he looks like a future All-Star. T.J. Leaf emerges as a 40 percent three-point shooter.

Indiana wins 45 games and snags the six seed in the Eastern Conference. In a frisky first-round matchup against the Toronto Raptors, Indiana takes them to seven to only to get beat by a throwback 30 point game from Demar DeRozan.