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Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors plays against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 30, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)
Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors plays against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 30, 2023, in Detroit, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)

Indiana Pacers Weekcap: Pascal Siakam makes his debut after major trade

In Siakam's debut, the Pacers dropped a game against the Anfernee Simons-less Portland Trail Blazers.

It was a notable week for the Indiana Pacers after they traded for two-time All-NBA player Pascal Siakam. Here's The Hoosier Network's latest Indiana Pacers Weekcap, which features everything you need to know from the last week.

Games played:

  • Jan 18: Pacers 126 - Kings 121 (away)

  • Jan 19: Blazers 118 - Pacers 115 (away)

  • Jan 21: Suns 117 - Pacers 110 (away)

  • Jan 23: Nuggets 114 - Pacers 109 (home)

Siakam made his debut versus the Blazers alongside Tyrese Haliburton, who returned from a hamstring injury. However, the Pacers fell short in Portland despite the Blazers not having their leading scorer Anfernee Simons.

In Haliburton and Siakam’s debut together, Haliburton had 21 points and 17 assists with zero turnovers to pair with Siakam’s 21/6/3 stat line. All of Indiana's starters in the game had a positive +/- (Siakam and Haliburton were +16 and +17, respectively). The problem in this game? The usually reliable bench unit did not step up, allowing the Blazers to take control of the game early in the fourth quarter. 

Following the game, Haliburton sat out games against the Suns and the Nuggets. The team continues to monitor his hamstring injury, which he suffered earlier this month versus the Celtics at home. 

The Pacers were able to stay close to both of the top teams in the West without Haliburton, which is a good sign as they continue building chemistry post-trade.

How does Siakam look? He seems to be getting more comfortable with the team, but he needs to be more assertive. There’s a reason he was so highly coveted by teams around the league when he was on the trade block, even on an expiring contract. He can provide the Pacers with more shooting, run-outs on fast breaks and more.

Two positives recently have been Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle’s experimentation with lineups and fighting for his players. Carlisle was ejected from the game versus the Nuggets after several apparent missed fouls by Denver players against Siakam in the paint.

Major moves:

  • The Pacers sent Jarace Walker to their G-League affiliate, the Mad Ants

    • This is a little bit of a confusing move, especially with Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson’s looming injuries. In the last four games, he had 15 points, then zero minutes, then 10 points and nine rebounds, then zero minutes. Ben Sheppard has started to get a lot more playing time and he wasn't sent back down to the G-League with Walker.

  • Other players are stepping up

    • Every game without Haliburton seems to bring out a new player who hustles and steps up — most notably, Sheppard. There’s a reason that he stayed in during the final stretch versus the Nuggets as opposed to Buddy Hield, and that's his willingness to get on the floor and hustle. Within a 10-second span with five minutes left in the game, Sheppard poked the ball free from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, dove on the floor, got up, ran straight to trap Jamal Murray after he picked up the ball and then Sheppard poked the ball for a steal. He took it down the floor for a tough layup. McConnell brings energy and other players follow. 

This week, look for Haliburton to return from injury and work towards playing with Siakam more. That will open up the floor more and allow other players to shine, like Myles Turner, who struggled under an Andrew Nembhard-led offense. 

Upcoming games:

  • Jan 25: Pacers vs. 76ers (home)

  • Jan 26: Pacers vs. Suns (home)

  • Jan 28: Pacers vs. Grizzlies (home)

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