Being doubted is nothing new to the Indiana Pacers. People have been doing it since they supposed got "robbed" in the Paul George trade over the summer.
George went to the Oklahoma City Thunder for in return for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonins. Social media and the national media raved about the deal for the Thunder, calling it a genius move.
The Pacers? Well, they were more or less viewed as suckers.
That's a lot different than today. Today, Oladipo is a dynamic All-Star guard and Sabonis an up-and-coming big man. And the Pacers are telling everyone they want to finish in the top four in the Eastern Conference -- and believing it's a real possibility.
The doubters? Well, they remain. And the Pacers don't care.
"We got a lot to prove,” Oladipo said (via the Indy Star). “The job isn’t finished yet. I feel like we can be a real special team. Nobody believed that to begin with. Nobody’s told us how good we are. Have you heard it? I haven’t heard it.”
Entering Monday's game at Dallas, the Pacers (34-25) sat in fifth in the East. They trailed the fourth-place Washington Wizards by half a game and the third-place Cleveland Cavaliers by a full game. They are 7.5 games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors.
They seem to think they can catch all of them.
“We feel like we can be a top four team in the East,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “We’re not stopping there. We want to get far in the playoffs. Third and fourth spot is in reaching distance within the East, these next 20 or so games. ... Nobody thought we would be in this position right now. Everybody looked at us as being one of the lowest teams in the East.”
That is so true. And so far, so wrong.