Indiana Pacers' Schedule Features Balance Of Easy And Tough Stretches

Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 13: Indiana Pacers bench reacts against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 13, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bucks won 106-97. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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The Indiana Pacers schedule has been released for the 2019-20 NBA season. For some teams, the schedule has little bearing on their final record and is just an order of opponents, but that is not the case for the blue and gold.

The Pacers best player, Victor Oladipo, will be out for an unclear amount of time to start the season. The teams President of Basketball Operations, Kevin Pritchard, has stated that Oladipo could be out for over a month to begin the campaign.

"With Victor’s injury, he might be out a little bit. I’m hopeful he is back in December, January, but to put a true timeline (out there) is not really fair.”

Kevin Pritchard via Kevin Bowen of ESPN 1070

Let's split the difference and assume Oladipo returns in the middle of December. By the time December 15th rolls around, Indiana will have played 27 games.

That makes the first 27 games of the Pacers schedule worth a closer inspection than the other 55 at this point in time. Each game is important, sure, but the order of opponents matters a ton in the Pacers unique situation where the team won't be at full strength to start the year.

The first 27 games on the schedule features a mixed bag of challenging and easy stretches. Let's start at the beginning. The premier 11 games are all winnable without Victor Oladipo playing at all, the strongest opponent in that stretch is either Detroit (who the team faces three times in the first 11 games) or Brooklyn. This isn't to say Indiana will get off to an incredible start, but they could have a winning record heading into mid-November, which would of course be a benefit for their eventual playoff seed.

After those 11 games comes a pair of nights in which the Pacers square off with MVP candidates from last season. The play in Houston and then immediately travel back to Indianapolis to take on Milwaukee. Those are two tough opponents with stars leading their team and will be tough games without the Pacers All-Star to help.

After that, it's another run of winnable games with Brooklyn, Orlando, Memphis, Utah, and Atlanta next up on the calendar. Four of those five are at home, so it could be a good time for the team to get in a bit of a groove.

Winning as many of those games as possible will be crucial, because after that point comes one of the hardest runs on the Pacers entire schedule. From November 30 to December 13, the blue and gold play, in order: at Philadelphia, at Memphis, at Oklahoma City, at Detroit, at New York, LA Clippers, Boston, and at Atlanta. That's a long road trip and a somewhat tough run of opponents. The Pacers will need to be on their A-game just before Oladipo returns.

After that stretch comes mid-December, the very rough approximation for Oladipo's return given the information we have. The rest of December showcases a collection of tough and easy opponents, but the focus when Oladipo returns, to me, should be on the number of back to backs.

Why is that? Because Oladipo might be on a load management program once he returns and he may not play on back to back nights. The Pacers have 11 on the season, which is less than league average. That on it's own is good. But seven of them come after December 15. That's seven games Oladipo may not play in, which is an unfortunate scheduling quirk.

Still, three of them are in March/April, so maybe Oladipo is fully up to game speed by then. Regardless, the team has to play the games if their star guard is healthy or not, so let's get into the later parts of the schedule.

January is potentially the teams most challenging month of games, with tough opponents at home and nine of their games being on the road. To add insult to injury, they have a road back-to-back in Denver and Utah, two of the hardest places to play because of the altitude, baked in a five game West Coast road trip. That's going to be a tough stretch for Indiana.

Thankfully, from the end of January through February 20 (the end of the All-Star break) the Pacers see all home games outside of a trip to Toronto on February 5th. Being home for nearly 25 consecutive days should be a great time for the Pacers to reset and be prepared for the stretch run.

At the conclusion of the All-Star break, the Pacers have a combination of winnable and taxing games. On the tail end of that run of opponents comes a five-game road trip, but three of the five opponents (Cleveland, Dallas, and Chicago) all look like they will be inferior teams to Indiana. Nothing too demanding comes for the Pacers until after that time frame, which gets us to mid-March.

The ensuing clump of games that goes into early April has more testing matchups than tranquil ones, but it's pretty balanced overall. After that is the final 10 days of the season, which showcases opponents for Indiana that all project to be mediocre to above average. If the Pacers are in a heated playoff seeding battle, their lackluster end of the schedule will be in their favor.

Other notes:

  • The team will play six nationally televised games.

Four of them are at home, which is great as Bankers Life Fieldhouse is wonderful for TV. Also of note is that all six games are after February has begun — it appears the league prefers to put the Pacers on national television after Victor Oladipo has returned from injury.

  • Bojan Bogdanovic returns to Indiana on November 27th. His new squad, the Utah Jazz, look like one of the more talented groups in the league this coming season. Bogdanovic should receive warms welcomes from everyone.
  • Thaddeus Young returns to Indiana with the Chicago Bulls on November 3rd. Like Bogdanovic, Young should receive a warm welcome after the three years of hard work and leadership he gave to the Pacers as a former team captain.
  • The Pacers longest road trip is five games while their longest home stand is only four games. They have three different five-game road trips and three four-game home stands. The recurring road-trips are longer, but the schedule mostly displays a lot of oscillating between home and road games.

All in all, there are no brutal stretches for the Pacers this season, which is a welcome site after the insurmountable March they had in the 2018-19 season. This schedule is favorable for the Indiana Pacers given their roster situation, and when it comes down to it, that's all that matters. Check out the schedule in full here.

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The Indiana Pacers schedule has been released for the 2019-20 NBA season. For some teams, the schedule has little bearing on their final record and is just an order of opponents, but that is not the case for the blue and gold.

The Pacers best player, Victor Oladipo, will be out for an unclear amount of time to start the season. The teams President of Basketball Operations, Kevin Pritchard, has stated that Oladipo could be out for over a month to begin the campaign.

"With Victor’s injury, he might be out a little bit. I’m hopeful he is back in December, January, but to put a true timeline (out there) is not really fair.”

Kevin Pritchard via Kevin Bowen of ESPN 1070

Let's split the difference and assume Oladipo returns in the middle of December. By the time December 15th rolls around, Indiana will have played 27 games.

That makes the first 27 games of the Pacers schedule worth a closer inspection than the other 55 at this point in time. Each game is important, sure, but the order of opponents matters a ton in the Pacers unique situation where the team won't be at full strength to start the year.

The first 27 games on the schedule features a mixed bag of challenging and easy stretches. Let's start at the beginning. The premier 11 games are all winnable without Victor Oladipo playing at all, the strongest opponent in that stretch is either Detroit (who the team faces three times in the first 11 games) or Brooklyn. This isn't to say Indiana will get off to an incredible start, but they could have a winning record heading into mid-November, which would of course be a benefit for their eventual playoff seed.

After those 11 games comes a pair of nights in which the Pacers square off with MVP candidates from last season. The play in Houston and then immediately travel back to Indianapolis to take on Milwaukee. Those are two tough opponents with stars leading their team and will be tough games without the Pacers All-Star to help.

After that, it's another run of winnable games with Brooklyn, Orlando, Memphis, Utah, and Atlanta next up on the calendar. Four of those five are at home, so it could be a good time for the team to get in a bit of a groove.

Winning as many of those games as possible will be crucial, because after that point comes one of the hardest runs on the Pacers entire schedule. From November 30 to December 13, the blue and gold play, in order: at Philadelphia, at Memphis, at Oklahoma City, at Detroit, at New York, LA Clippers, Boston, and at Atlanta. That's a long road trip and a somewhat tough run of opponents. The Pacers will need to be on their A-game just before Oladipo returns.

After that stretch comes mid-December, the very rough approximation for Oladipo's return given the information we have. The rest of December showcases a collection of tough and easy opponents, but the focus when Oladipo returns, to me, should be on the number of back to backs.

Why is that? Because Oladipo might be on a load management program once he returns and he may not play on back to back nights. The Pacers have 11 on the season, which is less than league average. That on it's own is good. But seven of them come after December 15. That's seven games Oladipo may not play in, which is an unfortunate scheduling quirk.

Still, three of them are in March/April, so maybe Oladipo is fully up to game speed by then. Regardless, the team has to play the games if their star guard is healthy or not, so let's get into the later parts of the schedule.

January is potentially the teams most challenging month of games, with tough opponents at home and nine of their games being on the road. To add insult to injury, they have a road back-to-back in Denver and Utah, two of the hardest places to play because of the altitude, baked in a five game West Coast road trip. That's going to be a tough stretch for Indiana.

Thankfully, from the end of January through February 20 (the end of the All-Star break) the Pacers see all home games outside of a trip to Toronto on February 5th. Being home for nearly 25 consecutive days should be a great time for the Pacers to reset and be prepared for the stretch run.

At the conclusion of the All-Star break, the Pacers have a combination of winnable and taxing games. On the tail end of that run of opponents comes a five-game road trip, but three of the five opponents (Cleveland, Dallas, and Chicago) all look like they will be inferior teams to Indiana. Nothing too demanding comes for the Pacers until after that time frame, which gets us to mid-March.

The ensuing clump of games that goes into early April has more testing matchups than tranquil ones, but it's pretty balanced overall. After that is the final 10 days of the season, which showcases opponents for Indiana that all project to be mediocre to above average. If the Pacers are in a heated playoff seeding battle, their lackluster end of the schedule will be in their favor.

Other notes:

  • The team will play six nationally televised games.

Four of them are at home, which is great as Bankers Life Fieldhouse is wonderful for TV. Also of note is that all six games are after February has begun — it appears the league prefers to put the Pacers on national television after Victor Oladipo has returned from injury.

  • Bojan Bogdanovic returns to Indiana on November 27th. His new squad, the Utah Jazz, look like one of the more talented groups in the league this coming season. Bogdanovic should receive warms welcomes from everyone.
  • Thaddeus Young returns to Indiana with the Chicago Bulls on November 3rd. Like Bogdanovic, Young should receive a warm welcome after the three years of hard work and leadership he gave to the Pacers as a former team captain.
  • The Pacers longest road trip is five games while their longest home stand is only four games. They have three different five-game road trips and three four-game home stands. The recurring road-trips are longer, but the schedule mostly displays a lot of oscillating between home and road games.

All in all, there are no brutal stretches for the Pacers this season, which is a welcome site after the insurmountable March they had in the 2018-19 season. This schedule is favorable for the Indiana Pacers given their roster situation, and when it comes down to it, that's all that matters. Check out the schedule in full here.

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I cover the Indiana Pacers and NBA players from the state of Indiana. I have done so for many years with written content, both as the Site Expert for the Fansided networ...