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Looking back at Pacers preseason predictions

It didn’t take long for the Pacers to crush the preseason hopes, let along the under for number of wins.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA All-Star weekend upon us, it seems like a good time to take a look back to the preseason and evaluate the IC preview and predictions for the Pacers season.

Spoiler alert: They were a bit off.

Well, the win total predictions were off, but the worst case scenario wasn’t too far off. Even the ‘best case scenario’ came with qualifiers, including the word healthy — twice — in the first sentence, so this was always going to be a season in transition even at its best. And as for health concerns, the Pacers are 60 games in and have yet to be healthy, so their best case scenario never had a chance.

As for the ‘worst case scenario’ it was sadly prophetic and quickly turned into the ‘most likely scenario’ as the losses mounted.

The injury bug continues to ravage the Pacers rotation while the double-big combo of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis fails to be a plus under a third coach, leading the team to finally pull the plug and make a midseason deal that will not pay immediate dividends and have the Pacers missing the playoffs as they finally reshape the team by making additional deals with an eye toward the future.

What I was most looking forward to, was the final judgment (good or bad) on the Turbonis pairing and with Domas Sabonis now suiting up for the Kings, we now know this was indeed the last stand for the double-big, salary cap clogging duo. The surprising development is that Myles Turner and not Sabonis remain with the Pacers going forward...at least for now.

As for the win total, DraftKings had the Pacers O/U at 42.5 wins prior to the season while I had the win total at 44 games which I felt was a pretty reserved at the time, assuming the team could suit up a relatively healthy lineup for most of the season.

Not even close!

The Pacers are at the All-Star break and could win their remaining 22 games without cracking the DK O/U let alone my 44 wins. At 20-62, your under wins bets are safe to cash.

So what about the rest of the season?

The Pacers were a rough watch for the first few months of the season as the injury list remained bloated and losing close games became the norm. New coach Rick Carlisle never seemed too frustrated by the losses considering the circumstances and continually ripped through different lineups with players in varying roles (Sabonis in the corner?). Oddly, it quickly became apparent that player evaluation was more important than actually winning.

Some of the young players eventually getting an opportunity, like Duane Washington Jr. and Terry Taylor at least made the team more fun to watch. Lance Stephenson was also added to infuse more juice to the viewing experience.

Finally, the trades of Sabonis and Caris LeVert in particular which landed a dynamic, young playmaker in Tyrese Haliburton along with Buddy Hield and now set up the 20-win Pacers to be quite entertaining for the remainder of the season. Carlisle has the team in full player development mode, which will make things interesting after the break when Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon are available to return.

Could TJ Warren return from his week-not-months foot injury rehab? As a friend of mine opines, Warren has been out so long, he must be growing a new foot. Until we see those familiar faces, the Pacers will struggle to stop teams on defense while putting on a show at the offensive end. Take the over!

Bottom line: The Pacers are in rebuild mode which is obvious if you watch what the organization is doing as opposed to listening to what they are saying. Actions are far more informative than words in this case, so enjoy the process along with the Tyrese Haliburton show!

Speaking of Haliburton, he is among the players getting odds for the Most Improved Player award. Ja Morant (-450) is a heavy favorite to win the award, but Haliburton is listed at (+20000) along with Fred Van Vleet, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Cole Anthony.

Chris Duarte is also a long shot for Rookie of the Year with Evan Mobley (-500) an even heavier favorite than Morant. Duarte has the 7th best odds at +10000 which is not bad for the 13th pick who has been nicked with the injury bug a few times so far.

So how many wins do you think the Pacers will end up with now?

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.