The Pacers weren’t supposed to be good. They weren’t supposed to obliterate their 30.5-win projection prior to the All-Star break. They weren’t supposed to have the last laugh at the expense of those who panned what they accepted in exchange for their franchise player, and they definitely weren’t supposed to finish with a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference.
Yet, here they are — wildly exceeding expectations behind the rapid ascension of Victor Oladipo while playing for and with each other and rarely allowing themselves to believe they’re out even when they’re down.
That’s the feel-good story.
Here’s how the Pacers came to be 15 games over .500 and why the surprise team of the regular season could be the surprise team of the playoffs.