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Column: Pacers have an opportunity to start 3-0 and the myth of finding a stretch-four.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) shoots the ball while Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith (5) defends in the first half of game six in the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the regular season is finally here and it couldn’t come soon enough.

Preseason basketball is BORING!

I’m coming around to the belief that preseason games shouldn’t be watched, tweeted about or even discussed on podcasts (hyperlink).

In two weeks, will there be anything that happened in the preseason that we can say helped us better understand what would happen in the regular season?

I’ll visit this question in two weeks. But until then, the preseason is, in my opinion, useless.

The good news is the Pacers have three games this week:

Wednesday (10/17): Memphis Grizzlies at Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. EST on Fox Sports Indiana and 1070 the fan

There is a reason starters from neither the Pacers nor Grizzlies played in their preseason game two Saturdays ago: Both teams didn’t wanted to give away their playbooks.

One thing to watch: There are a lot of ways to go with this because it’s the first game of the season, but one thing I’ll be looking at is Tyreke Evans leading the bench.

There a few big questions coming into the season but only one of them can be answered in the first game: Can Evans prove why Indiana gave him $12 million?

He played for the Grizzlies last year and had all that time to practice against much of the bench unit he’ll be up against. Evans should know their weaknesses and be able to exploit them.

It’ll be interesting to see how many times he brings the ball up and how plays in the pick and roll with Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis is one the best role pieces and seems to fit next to any player.

Evans should be set up to succeed in the first game of the season.

Friday (10/19): Indiana Pacers at Milwaukee Bucks 8:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports Indiana and 1070 The Fan

This is the first division game of the season and could possibly be the future 4-5 seed matchup in the playoffs.

One thing to watch: Last season Milwaukee’s coaching was a disaster and that’s why the Pacers were able to beat them in all three of the games Victor Oladipo played.

The Bucks brought in Mike Budenholzer, who is considered one of the top coaches in the NBA. Combine Bud with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee is suddenly very scary.

Indiana was better than Milwaukee last season but the Bucks might have closed that gap.

The Pacers have their sights set on a division win and a top-four seed for home court in the first round. Beating Milwaukee would give them an early leg up on that.

Friday (10/19): Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers 7:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports Indiana and 1070 the fan.

One thing to watch: Last season Oladipo torched the Nets, leading the team in scoring in all four of their wins with 22, 26, 38 and 25 points per game, respectively.

This could be Oladipo’s first 40 point game of the season. Though Brooklyn is getting better they don’t have anyone good enough to guard Oladipo; factor in the pace of play and this could very likely be Indiana’s highest-scoring game all season.

It’s also a lucky back-to-back for Indiana, especially if they win in Milwaukee -- we could be seeing the Pacers start 3-0.

Mailbag questions:

When does “failure to launch” become a real issue with Myles Turner and would the Pacers be better off trading him than hanging on to him if that is the case long term? Unknown respondent.

If Myles Turner starts off slow there will be two problems the Pacers face.

First, Turner is in the last year of his contract so his value to other teams is slightly less; if you trade for him you have to pay him. Even if he puts off similar or slightly worse stats than last season, he’s probably still looking at a four-year contract ranging from $40-60 million.

Second, for that kind of money, the Pacers are better off keeping him because even if he’s only averaging 10 points, seven rebounds and one block per game he has a ton of value in both stretching the floor and defensively.

The more interesting part of the Turner saga is whether Sabonis come out playing better than him and clearly overtakes him as the starting center.

Then Turner might get traded for a real asset, but I’m of the opinion barring just a terrible start to the season I see Turner being a Pacers for the foreseeable future.

Do you foresee the Pacers bringing in a legit stretch four by the trade deadline, and if so, whom would they bring in? I feel like that’s one area they didn’t really address this off-season. Josiah, Pendleton

The elusive stretch-four is something Pacer fans have been clamoring for since the Paul George days. But look around the league and you won’t find any stretch four better than Thaddeus Young, who’s available.

Young shot 32 percent from three last year, admittedly pretty bad. According to NBA stats Young ranked 61st out of starting forwards who played 50 or more games. But of the 61 players ahead of him only a few are possibly available and, of those, almost none of them are better than Young.

Two of the names who could be available and would start over Young are Tobias Harris and Kevin Love, but both guys would take considerable assets to acquire.

Indiana is better off trying to use Sabonis, Bojan Bogdanovic or Doug McDermott as a stretch-four. There is also a chance Young will shoot better from three, forcing teams to guard him on the perimeter, thus opening the floor up.

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