What's Next for Indiana Pacers After 2013 Playoff Breakthrough?

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What's Next for Indiana Pacers After 2013 Playoff Breakthrough?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers played the majority of the 2012-13 season without their face of the franchise, and still found a way to lay the groundwork for one of the brightest futures in the NBA.

Their magical run appeared over before it ever got started. Forward Danny Granger, the eighth-best scorer in franchise history, started the year sidelined by a bothersome left knee and remained off the floor for all but five games.

With one All-Star plucked from the rotation, though, the Pacers relied on a first-year All-Star (Paul George) and a pair of former All-Stars in the middle (Roy Hibbert and David West) to push the organization to sights largely unseen for the past decade.

Indiana's prolonged postseason push finally came to a close with a humbling Game 7 loss to the defending champion Miami Heat.

But rather than get bogged down by thoughts of what could have been, the Pacers took comfort in their new standing among the league's elites.

Their work is only beginning, though. A strong offseason bolstered by a savvy showing on draft night and the free-agent market could make this year the expectation, not the exception to the rule.

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