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Ranking the top 5 players in the Indiana Pacers’ history

Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers - Play-In Tournament
Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers - Play-In Tournament

The Indiana Pacers are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. They began their journey in 1967 as an ABA team. Nine years later, the ABA merged with the NBA and that merger included the Pacers.

Since its inclusion into the current league in 1976, the team out of Indiana has become a household name. The Pacers boast 6 Hall of Fame players in their long history. They have reached the playoffs 27 times, played in the finals once, but have never won an NBA Championship.

Top five players from Indiana Pacers' NBA history

The Pacers, unfortunately. remain as one of the only 11 currently active NBA teams to have never won a title. They share this shortcoming with the likes of the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Pheonix Suns.

Today's list is dedicated to the unyielding Indiana Pacers who have never lost hope. We hope to be able to do justice to all its players by ranking the top five players to ever play for the Indiana Pacers post the ABA-NBA merger.

#5 Paul George

Paul George
Paul George

Paul George is one of the best in the league. The 6' 8" small forward/shooting guard is as complete of a player as possible. His well-balanced skillset makes him lethal on offense and defense. He has good handles that help him drive into the paint without any hesitation or fear, his strength and reach allow him to compete with players while in the air.

He can shoot mid-range jumpers on well contested plays, drop off-the-spin fadeaways out of nowhere, and protect the rim like his life depended on it. Another one of PG13's abilities is him being able to stretch the defense and create attacking lanes for himself and his teammates.

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Even though he has long since moved from the Indiana Pacers, the current LA Clippers player was exceptional for them. In his NBA career for the team being discussed, George scored 30+ points in 63 games. The seven-time All-Star has averaged 20.2 points over the entirety of his profession.

#4 Rik Smits

Rik Smits with team Red Bull during Indianapolis Moto GP Previews
Rik Smits with team Red Bull during Indianapolis Moto GP Previews

Rik Smits has one of the coolest nicknames in the history of the game. The Dunking Dutchman played for the Indiana Pacers throughout his time in the league.

Smits had this oddness to his game that made it very difficult to guard him. Standing at 7' 4", he should have been an ideal center. Instead of sticking to only the basics, Rik would often attack from beyond the rim. Shooting consistent mid-range jumpers and quick hooks, he averaged 14.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in his NBA career. He took the Pacers to 10 playoffs and was the epitome of a supporting cast while playing with Reggie Miller.

#3 Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson in a Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers game
Mark Jackson in a Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers game

Mark Jackson, who played for the Indiana Pacers during his time in the NBA, has recently become associated with his famous tagline "Mama, there goes that man." However, long before he was a commentator with goosebump raising catchphrases, Mark was a playmaker with goosebump raising plays.

Jackson, to this day, has the fourth highest number of assists in the NBA and therefore the highest in the history of the Indiana Pacers. He had 10334 assists over the duration of his career, only one less than Steve Nash. Only Nash, Jason Kidd and John Stockton have had more overall assists in their careers than him.

He took the Pacers to five playoffs, won the Rookie of the Year award and appeared in one NBA All-Star game. He is ranked third on this list of the top 5 players in the Indiana Pacers' history.

#2 Jermaine O'Neal

The 6' 11" center from Columbia, South Carolina, played for the Indiana Pacers for eight long seasons. O'Neal began his NBA journey straight out of high school. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers when he was only a 17-year-old kid. He played for them for four seasons and eventually moved to a team that would give him the tools to reach for the glory he so desired.

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In his 8 years with the Indiana Pacers, O'Neal and the team reached 6 playoffs. In the 2002-03 postseason, he posted surreal numbers by averaging 22.8 points and 17.5 rebounds. Jermaine was a six-time NBA All-Star and was also bestowed with the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2001-02.

#1 Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller during the New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers match
Reggie Miller during the New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers match

The five-time All-Star player from the city of Indiana never won an MVP award or a championship. He came awfully close but missed it by the tiniest bit. Yet, Reggie Miller is an NBA Hall of Fame player and we believe that he deserves to be considered as one of the greatest players to have played in the league.

Reggie was a phenomenal clutch player. he could perform exceptionally well under stressful and high stakes situations. Miller Time, the internal zone he'd go to during crucial moments, was a fear-invoking chant for opponents of the Indiana Pacers. Everyone in the league knew that once it was Miller Time, he would score no matter what defensive strategies were used to guard him.

Reggie Miller is ranked 21 on the league's all-time scoring list and is ranked third among the NBA's all-time three-point leaders. He made 2560 threes in his career to achieve this feat. He led his team to 15 playoffs and averaged 20.6 points in them. He is, without a doubt, the greatest player the Indiana Pacers have ever had on their team.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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