Skip to main content


On August 12, 2020, the Indiana Pacers extended Nate McMillan's contract to continue serving as their head coach. Two weeks later, on August 26, 2020, McMillan was let go after an unceremonious bubble exit. Since that time, the Pacers have gone 43-52 with no clear direction.

This season, the Pacers are stuck in the middle of every statistical category imaginable. Not too good, not too bad - basically basketball purgatory. Except for blocks, they lead the league in blocks per game (6.3). Besides strong rim protection, most of their game is a slog. 

Malcolm Brogdon is in the prime of his career - leading the team with 20.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. The Pacers' number two option, Domantas Sabonis, averages 17.3 points and 12 rebounds per game (fifth in the league). But this team is closer to the lottery than the playoffs.

Up until last Saturday night, the Hawks were cruising. Unfortunately, their 7-game win streak ended thanks to the New York Knicks and a rash of injuries (more on that later). A few days ago, I discussed the Hawks' options moving forward. Basically, they're going to need a lot more production from starters and bench players alike.

Luckily, they have the best point guard in the Eastern Conference. Trae Young is averaging a clean 26 points and 9 assists per game. No other player ranks in the top five of both statistical categories in the league. Moreover, young is accomplishing this feat at 23-years-old. Take a moment and think about that.

Additionally, Clint Capela is returning to form. The 'Swiss Bank' is averaging 12.7 rebounds per game (third in the league). Not to mention, John Collins is averaging an ultra-efficient 16.6 points and 8 rebounds per game. No forward averaging 32+ minutes per game has a higher true shooting percentage (64.5 TS%) than Collins. 


The Pacers injury report lists a few key players. Myles Turner (illness) is questionable. In addition, Justin Holiday (Health & Safety Protocols) and T.J. Warren (foot) are out.

Meanwhile, Cam Reddish (left wrist sprain) is questionable for the Hawks. In addition, the team will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic (left ankle sprain), De'Andre Hunter (right wrist tendon surgery), and Onyeka Okongwu (right shoulder injury recovery). 

SI Sportsbook has the Pacers as 1.5-point favorites. I understand their skepticism of the Hawks as they deal with so many injuries. It will be interesting to see how the bench fits into their new elevated roles.

Final Thoughts

The Hawks are coming off their longest break of the season - a full three days. They needed that time for Reddish to try and rehab his wrist. But the team must get comfortable playing without their key players for most of December. If they can survive this month and come back at full strength in January, then they will be in a prime position for another playoff push to start 2022.

Injuries Imperil Hawks Playoffs Hopes

Trae Young Recreates 'Miller Time' in Pacers Jersey

Behind the Scenes at NBA Media Day

Like SI Hawks on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest Hawks news!