I Become the GM of the Indiana Pacers (11/21/21)

Domantas Sabonis is not "That Guy" for the Indiana Pacers

After almost a year, the “I become the GM of” series is returning. Today, I am stepping in as the GM of the Indiana Pacers. 

If you haven’t read one before, I use NBA2K’s MyNBA mode for these articles. I make all the trades, free-agent signings, and staff hirings I think the Pacers should do, and I simulate the games. 2K isn’t hyper-realistic, but I do everything I can to make it as realistic as possible. I use my own player ratings because I don’t like 2K’s. 

So, what’s my plan for the Pacers? I want to retool the roster and start a bit of a youth movement. The Pacers have been mediocre for the last few seasons, and I think it’s time they blow things up a little.

Without further ado, let’s start my tenure as the GM of the Indiana Pacers!

(By the way, I’m turning off injuries. They’re obviously a big part of what happens in the NBA, but in order to see the full results of the moves I make, I don’t want players getting hurt.)

November 21st, 2021

As of today, Indiana’s real-life record is 7-11. That’s not great considering the talent they have on their roster.

Here’s the rotation I’m running to start off:

Starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner

Bench: Chris Duarte, T.J. McConnell, Jeremy Lamb, Oshae Brissett, Isaiah Jackson

The Pacers starting lineup is very talented. I don’t understand how they don’t win more games. I’m giving veterans McConnell and Lamb minutes off the bench, but the rest of my backup unit is young guys. Let’s start simulating!

January 1st, 2022

Since the beginning of my GM tenure, we have a record of 8-10. Not awesome. I want to be worse because I need to draft a franchise-altering guy. 

Trade #1: T.J. Warren to Dallas

Mavericks get: T.J. Warren, Justin Holiday

Pacers get: Dwight Powell, Josh Green, 2026 1st round pick

T.J. Warren is a very solid player. He’s a consistent scoring option, which the Mavericks need next to Luka in order to make a playoff push (they have a 16-19 record). I don’t need him anymore since I want to miss the playoffs.

I don’t really want Dwight Powell, but he was included for salary purposes. Josh Green and the first-round pick are the main assets. 

After that trade, here’s my new rotation:

Starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Josh Green, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner

Bench: Chris Duarte, T.J. McConnell, Torrey Craig, Kelan Martin, Isaiah Jackson

Considering I just traded my starting SF for him, I’m throwing Josh Green into the fire right away. Craig and Martin are getting Lamb and Brissett’s minutes so I can decide who I want to keep on the team. 

February 1st, 2022

In the month of January, we went 7-9. In Josh Green’s first 16 games as a starter, he put up 7 PPG, 3 RPG, and 1 SPG. He’s shooting just 24% from deep, but that should improve.

Trade Deadline

Domantas Sabonis was selected as an All-Star, averaging 19.5 PPG, 12 RPG, and 9 APG. Those are awesome numbers. He’s just 25 years old, and I think I can build a winning team around him, so he’s safe. Almost everyone else is not.

Time for some trades.

Trade #2: Torrey to Chicago

Bulls get: Torrey Craig

Pacers get: Troy Brown Jr.

Torrey Craig is a solid role player, but as I said at the beginning I want more young guys. Troy Brown Jr. was picked 15th overall a few years ago and still has some potential. 

Waiving: Dwight Powell

Like I said after I acquired him, I don’t want Dwight Powell on the team. He’s not a bad player, but he wasn’t going to get any minutes and his contract was $10 million a year. Thank you for your time in Indiana, Dwight. 

Trade #3: Myles Turner to Charlotte

Hornets get: Myles Turner

Pacers get: P.J. Washington, Mason Plumlee, 2025 1st Round Pick

Myles Turner is awesome. He’s arguably the best shot-blocker in the league, and he can stretch the floor too. Unfortunately, the Sabonis-Turner duo hasn’t worked out so far. Myles is a valuable trade asset, so I’m taking advantage of that and getting a young piece in P.J. Washington. P.J. will slide in as a starter for me and be a great fit. 

Trade #4: Lamb and Oshae to Sacramento

Kings get: Jeremy Lamb, Oshae Brissett, 2024 1st Round Pick (Top 10 Protected)

Pacers get: Marvin Bagley, Jahmi’us Ramsey

In real life, Marvin Bagley has been benched. He’s completely disinterested in being in Sacramento, and the team feels the same way about having him. I’m taking advantage of his value being low and trading for him. He’ll come off the bench to start, but I hope to unlock the potential that he still has. 

After a very active deadline, here’s the new rotation:

Starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Josh Green, P.J. Washington, Domantas Sabonis

Bench: Chris Duarte, Marvin Bagley, T.J. McConnell, Mason Plumlee, Troy Brown Jr.

April 1st, 2022

One month after the trade deadline, we’re 11th in the conference. I want to be a little worse, so I’m sitting T.J. McConnell and Mason Plumlee. Jahmi’us Ramsey, Brad Wanamaker, Isaiah Jackson, and Goga Bitadze will all play a few games to end the season. 

End of 2021-22 Regular Season

The Indiana Pacers finished with a record of 39-43, good enough for the 10th seed and a spot in the play-in tournament. Shoot. I didn’t want that. Domantas Sabonis made All-NBA second team as a center, and Chris Duarte made All-Rookie second team. Here are everybody’s stats from the 2021-22 season:

M. Brogdon: 18 PPG/3 RPG/6 APG

C. LeVert: 15/3/4, 1 SPG

J. Green: 7/3/1, 1 SPG (He brought his 3P% up to 34%)

P.J. Washington: 12/6/3, 1 SPG, 2 BPG (as a Pacer)

D. Sabonis: 19/12/8

C. Duarte: 10/3/1, 44% from three

M. Bagley: 12/7/1 (as a Pacer)

T.J. McConnell: 7/3/5, 1.6 SPG

M. Plumlee: 8/5/3 (as a Pacer)

I. Jackson: 3/3/1

T. Brown: 5/2/1 (as a Pacer)

K. Martin: 7/2/1

G. Bitadze: 3/3/1 (in just 3 GP)

B. Wanamaker: 11/1/2, 2 SPG, 91% FG, 100% 3P (in just 2 GP. Brad went crazy)

J. Ramsey: 10/3/1 (in just 5 GP)

I’m proud of my new young core. The guys were all great. It stinks that we made the play-in, but even a late lottery pick will boost this new group I’ve put together.

2022 Playoffs

Welp, we won the play-in tournament behind excellent performances from Sabonis, Brogdon, and LeVert. We’ll now face the Bucks in the first round.

We got swept, but Brogdon and LeVert both averaged 20 on high efficiency. I haven’t decided if both of them will be on the team next year.

2022 Offseason

Because we made the playoffs, we ended up with the 15th pick. Rather than trading up, I’ll just pick a guy at 15. I’m targeting a point guard.

Draft Pick: TyTy Washington

(Note: I downloaded a 2022 draft class that someone made. It seems to be pretty realistic, but maybe not. I don’t know too much about college basketball, so just roll with who I take.)

With the 15th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Indiana Pacers select TyTy Washington from the University of Kentucky! I got a PG like I wanted. Welcome to the team, TyTy. 

Draft Pick: Buddy Boeheim

With the 52nd pick in the 2022 NBA draft, the Indiana Pacers select Buddy Boeheim from the University of Syracuse. I watched Boeheim in March Madness last March. I know he’s a shooter. I’m bringing him on to the roster. 

Team Options

I’m bringing back P.J. Washington, Josh Green, and Kelan Martin. I’m letting Mason Plumlee and Goga Bitadze leave. 

Resigning: Marving Bagley III

I’m bringing back Marvin on a 3-year, $36 million deal. He was pretty good for us last season, and I’m hoping he’ll build off that.

Resigning: Troy Brown Jr.

Troy Brown is also coming back. I gave him a 2-year, $7 million deal. 

Trade #5: T.J. to LA

Lakers get: T.J. McConnell

Pacers get: DeAndre Jordan, 2026 1st Round Pick

T.J. is a good backup PG, but I’m trading him to open up minutes for my younger guards.

Waiving: DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre’s washed, and there’s no way I’m paying him $10 million to sit on the bench.

Resigning: Brad Wanamaker

Brad went crazy in the two games he played last year. He likely won’t play much, but I’ll give him another contract. 1-year, minimum deal for Brad.

Signing: Nathan Knight

Nathan Knight can throw down some sweet dunks and rebound, so I’m bringing him in to be the third-string PF on a 2 year, $3.6 million deal.

Signing: Neemias Queta

Neemias Queta blocks shots and rebounds. He was on a two-way contract with Sacramento, but he didn’t play at all in simulation. I’m bringing him in on a 2-year, $3 million contract.

Beginning of the 2022-23 season

So that’s the end of part one of my time as the GM of the Indiana Pacers! Here’s a look at the current roster:

PG: Malcolm Brogdon, TyTy Washington, Brad Wanamaker

SG: Caris LeVert, Chris Duarte, Buddy Boeheim

SF: Josh Green, Kelan Martin, Troy Brown Jr.

PF: P.J. Washington, Marvin Bagley III, Nathan Knight

C: Domantas Sabonis, Isaiah Jackson, Neemias Queta

I love the group I’ve put together. I think they’ve got a bright future ahead of them. Part 2 will be a no-pressure growth season. I’ll probably trade one of Brogdon and LeVert, or maybe both. Thanks for reading this article, I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll see you next time!

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