While the Indiana Pacers have gotten off to a franchise-best start on the young NBA season, there are multiple weakpoints that must be spotlighted in order for the Pacers to take that next step. And as the Pacers have proven the last few weeks, even the best teams have weaknesses.
Indiana's weaknesses, though little, must be addressed if Indiana plans on challenging Miami for the Eastern Conference crown. Here, we'll spotlight a few of those weak points.
Fatigue in Back-to-Back Games
Though a very minor weakness, three of Indiana's four losses on the season thus far have come on the second night of back-to-back games.
On December 2, after beating the Los Angeles Clippers by five, Indiana lost by four to the West-leading Portland Trailblazers in what has arguably been the most exciting game thus far in the young NBA regular season.
Though the Pacers will not face any back-to-back games in the postseason, the big losses on second-night games translates to a tiredness and fatigue that can be attributed to two games in two nights. As previously stated, this is not a major issue—something that can be fixed quite easily. But it is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Inconsistent Play of Roy Hibbert
Whether Indiana Pacers fans have realized it yet or not, Paul George is not the x-factor for this team—Roy Hibbert is.
Roy's defensive prowess combined with offensive precision is something that most teams covet. However, Roy is still struggling to improve in one area—his consistency.
|Roy Hibbert Following Big Games|
|vs PHI (11/23)||27||13||6||W 106-98|
|vs MIN (11/25)||4||5||1||W 98-84|
|vs MIA (12/10)||24||5||1||W 90-84|
|vs CHA (12/13)||18||11||3||W 99-94|
|vs DET (12/16)||6||4||2||L 96-101|
|Stats via ESPN.com|
As seen in the table above, Hibbert's production following big games has been all but stellar. Hibbert's inconsistencies, even though they appear to be irrelevant given the Pacers' current record, are a problem that could haunt Indiana down the road.
Though Hibbert proved to shake his inconsistencies during the 2013 NBA Playoffs, the fact that they still exist is alarming.
The Pacers shouldn't have to bank on Hibbert finding his groove before the playoffs. With a $14.2 million per year salary according to ShamSports.com, Hibbert's level of production needs to be matching his salary.
Looking forward, it's becoming more clear that Hibbert needs to be more dominant on the offensive end for Indiana to be truly dominant. Hopefully head coach Frank Vogel will make the adjustments to go through Hibbert more while running the offense.
Indiana's chemistry and roster is a build of players built to help mask weaknesses, hence the reasoning for not many weaknesses considered to be found obvious. Hibbert's inconsistencies are masked by the "any given player" mentality this team has taken on. Any night, any of the starting five have the capability of being the leading scorer.
While weakpoints on a team are never a good sign, the fact that a team can be this good more than a quarter of the way through a season and not have any glaring weakness is commendable. If corrected, this Pacers team has an opportunity to be the outright favorite to win the Eastern Conference, if they aren't already.