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NBA DFS bubble preview: Indiana Pacers

With the start of the NBA Bubble right around the corner, it’s time to look at what the Indiana Pacers have to offer in DFS.

Indiana Pacers v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s been quite a—boring—ride but we’re almost there, folks. Starting July 30, the NBA will enter a vortex of daily action that will get us back to our couches to indulge as much basketball as we can with games coming left and right. With such a short time between now and the restart (and with the four months we have endured without any NBA hoops around) it makes sense to go through the 22 teams that made it to Disney’s bubble to review what they did during the first months of the 2019-20 season and what we can expect from them going forward. Consider this a primer on who to target, who to avoid, and a know-it-all reviewing exercise of what will be there when NBA DFS contests come back in less than 14 days time.

As has always been the case, I will be using data from both the official NBA website paired with information from DFS contests held on DraftKings through the first months of the season. Every chart uses the same scale (salaries from 3K to 10K except when they don’t fit, fantasy points from 0 to 65) so they can be easily compared between teams to see where each player ranks league-wide.

Regular Season Stats

  • Record: 39-26 (.600)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.3 (18th)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.3 (7th)
  • Net Rating: 2.0 (13th)

It’s hard to believe Indiana is where it is but here we are, folks. The Pacers (.600) have the fifth seed in the East and could very well jump the Heat (.631) during the mini-seeding-tournament to get home-court advantage—whatever that means inside the bubble. Indiana’s good overall numbers come mostly from a stiffing defense, so even the smallest of bumps in offense would give the Pacers a huge boost during the next few weeks.

The key to the Pacers at this point: what the hell is going on with Victor Oladipo!? Vic came back before the league went on hiatus, played all of 13 games, and just a few days ago he told reporters that he’d be skipping Disney’s restart to avoid getting injury again. Then, a bunch of days later, Oladipo announced that he’d be going to Orlando with the team... and the latest whispers say that he’s indeed committed to play with Indiana.

While Oladipo showed little in the 13 games he was part of earlier this year, it is obvious that adding him to the team would be a major boon for the Pacers and will give the team at least some leverage on offense keeping defenses honest. Indiana hasn’t needed Dipo to make it to where it is now, but there is nothing wrong in throwing one more—pretty good—body into this team.

Team Leaders (per game):

  • MIN: Domantas Sabonis (34.8)
  • PTS: T.J. Warren (18.7)
  • 3PM: Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott (1.9)
  • REB: Domantas Sabonis (12.4)
  • AST: Malcolm Brogdon (7.1)
  • STL: Justin Holiday (1.2)
  • BLK: Myles Turner (2.2)
  • TOV: Domantas Sabonis (2.7)
  • USG%: Malcolm Brogdon (24.7%)
  • DKFP: Domantas Sabonis (44.1)

Fantasy Profile

  • Players Acquired: None
  • Players Lost: Jeremy Lamb, Victor Oladipo (?)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Oladipo can completely change the shape of the Pacers inside the bubble. It is not that he would be—at least on paper—a viable fantasy option, but he would also provide the team with more options on offense and free some of his teammates, giving them more chances to rack up fantasy points as they wouldn’t face such strong defenses and opposition.

Don’t get too excited about Oladipo, though. In the 13 games he played earlier this year he averaged just 24.1 DKFP while priced at $5.5K on average. That’s a lot of money for so little production, which translated to Oladipo ranking as just the 10th-best Pacer in ROI (Price/DKFP) through Mar. 11.

The best players from Indiana in terms of raw fantasy points scored have been Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, but the distance between them is notable and Sabonis has the better ROI between the two. He’s been absolutely unstoppable while not priced over the top, so he’s well worth paying for in every DFS contest. Also before picking Brogdon, other more profitable Pacers have been T.J. Warren and Myles Turner.