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Pacers Links: Now what? Pacers rebuild depends on answers

The Pacers head into the offseason with plenty of questions to ponder.

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Pacers were beating the Hornets, 79-59 early in the third quarter of the opening game of the season in Charlotte.

Remember how fun that was? First game on the road? Pounding a team comparable playoff expectations?

It got better.

Rookie Chris Duarte then hit a three-ball, his fourth of the game in which he would eventually splash six total threes and finish with 27 points in his Pacers debut. This rook, alongside Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner and Domas Sabonis? The perfect addition with Justin Holiday filling in nicely while we waited for TJ Warren to return.

The Pacers were up 23. Making a statement. Oh, yeah!

Little did any of us know, this would be the highlight of the season. Yep, the 2021-22 Pacers peaked with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter of the first game.

After a 1-6 start to the season, things would fluctuate between goofy and absurd for the rest of the season. The Pacers had 28 different players play at least one minute this season.

Oshae Brissett was a player oft overlooked for minutes over the first six weeks of the season, but thanks to the vile combination of injuries and trades, Oshae would ultimately lead the team in games played with 67. Among the players still on the roster at the end of the season, Goga Bitadze was second in games played at 50, even though it seemed like Goga was rarely available. Rookie Duane Washington Jr., a two-way player until the last week of the season finished third on that list with 48 games.

This is how a team wins just 25 games, posting the worst record since winning 22 games in the 1984-85 season, to sit in the fifth spot for the NBA draft lottery. This is also how a team rebuilds in the modern NBA.

Rebuild is a tough word to absorb and one few around the FIeldhouse ever want to utter, although Rick Carlisle did recently in a moment of clarity. Will one top five pick flip this thing around? That’s a big ask. Following the 22-win season in ‘85, the Pacers won 26 games. As painful as that sounds after plodding through this past season, the Pacers were able to rebuild through that mid-80’s rut without returning until this season.

So, now what?

The Pacers wait to see if they will have an extra first round pick if the Cavaliers can beat the Hawks on Friday night. Then there are other roster adjustments. Malcolm Brogdon is signed and happy to stick around, but the fit seems clunky after watching Tyrese Haliburton play with and without Brogdon, not to mention considering a healthy Duarte (remember him, the guy who looked incredible to start the season before injuries and clogged rotations altered his role) in the mix. Brogdon may be more valuable to the Pacers by fetching picks or players that fit the rebuild timeline better.

That’s one question in need of an answer. There are plenty more. Please share your open offseason questions in the comments.

Check out the links:

Pacers Enter Lottery with Eyes on Top Pick | Indiana Pacers

Game Rewind: Pacers 126, Nets 134 | Indiana Pacers

The Indiana Pacers’ Miserable Season Is Over. They Must Learn From It.

Notes from Pacers exit interviews 2022 - Fieldhouse Files

Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon on future despite rough season, rumors

Pacers: Myles Turner is ready to come back, show Indy what he's got

Pacers: T.J. McConnell ties career high in 3s during loss to Nets

Indiana Pacers: Ranking the past 5 city edition uniforms

Russell Westbrook Trade Rumors: Pacers Are a 'Potential Suitor' for Lakers Star | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Should the Pacers Trade for Former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook? | 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan

NBA free agency: Jalen Smith should get big contract, not from Pacers

Pacers assistant coach Jenny Boucek is single mother, NBA trailblazer

Pacers: The future NBA player humbled Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton