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Top Ten Indiana Pacers of All-Time

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We’ve hit the dog days of the NBA summer.  All the big name free agents have been snatched up.  Summer league is over.  Training camps are still months away.  So, now is the perfect time to reminisce a bit.  The Hoops Manifesto has gathered together a stellar collection of Bloguin basketball writers to determine the top ten players all-time for each of the 30 NBA franchises.  Next up: the Indiana Pacers.

Voting panel: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, College Wolf from the TWolves Blog, Don from With Malice, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily and Diego from Leaving It All On The Court.

 

10) Billy Knight – Indiana Pacers – 1974 – 1977, 1979 – 1983

Pacers accomplishments:

- one-time ABA All-Star
- one-time NBA All-Star
- ABA All-Rookie Team
- one-time All-ABA selection

“Before he guided the Hawks from laughingstocks to perennial playoff participants as their GM, Billy Knight was a standout hoops player, both in the ABA and the NBA, as his above resume shows.” – Jeff Fox

9) Mark Jackson – Indiana Pacers – 1994 – 1996, 1997 – 2000

Pacers accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 1994/95 & 1997/98
- NBA leader in assists in 1996/97
- NBA leader in assists per game in 1996/97

“The stellar point guard was a key contributor on the Reggie Miller-led teams, and was the starting point guard when Indiana made it to the Finals in 2000.” – Diego Quezada

“Looking for a reason the Pacers finally got over the hump and beat the Knicks in their epic mid-90s clashes? Wondering why Indiana has not been able to find a point guard since that time? Well, hand down, man down, it is Mark Jackson. The Pacers monopolized the broadcasting gig with Reggie MIller and Mark Jackson, but it is easy to forget Jackson was the veteran presence that escalated the Pacers to new heights in the 1990s. Oh and he never averaged fewer than eight assists per game while playing in Indiana. And he might be the reason Jeff Van Gundy is now bald. Hand down, man down indeed.” – Philip 

8) Danny Granger – Indiana Pacers – 2005 – present

Pacers accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 2006/07
- one-time NBA All-Star
- NBA Most Improved Player
- NBA All-Rookie Team selection

“I kind of put him here as a nod towards the future.  If he stays with the Pacers, he could be the second best Pacer ever behind Reggie.” – College Wolf 

“I first thought College Wolf was insane (which he is, for other reasons) for voting Granger onto this list, but once I looked into it Granger already has accomplished quite a bit in his Pacers career.  On top of the honors listed above, he is second all-time in three-pointers made in Pacers’ history and will move into the team’s top 10 in blocks (!!) this upcoming season.” – Jeff Fox 

7) Dale Davis – Indiana Pacers – 1991 – 2000, 2005

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Pacers accomplishments:

- Pacers all-time leader in offensive rebounds
- NBA leader in games played in 1998/99
- one-time NBA All-Star

“Big Dale Davis fan here.  He’s my kind of player.  I appreciate the physical maulers that are also productive.  And I know that I sure as hell would never want to get in a fight with him.” – College Wolf 

6) Roger Brown – Indiana Pacers – 1967 – 1974, 1975

Pacers accomplishments:

- jersey number (35) retired by Pacers
- member of three Pacers ABA championship teams
- one-time ABA Playoffs MVP
- ABA leader in games played in 1969/70
- sixth all-time in minutes played in the ABA
- seventh all-time in three-pointers made in the ABA
- ninth all-time in three-pointers attempted in the ABA
- eighth all-time in free throws made in the ABA
- ninth all-time in free throws attempted in the ABA
- tenth all-time in assists in the ABA
- tenth all-time in points in the ABA
- four-time ABA All-Star
- three-time All-ABA selection

“Banned from the NBA and NCAA, Brown quickly found a home with the Indiana Pacers. While with the ABA team, he appeared in four All-Star games and won three championships.” – Diego Quezada

“‘The Rajah’ was the guy who first held the title of ‘The Man’ for Indiana, leading the Pacers (with Daniels and McGinnis) to three ABA titles.” – Don 

5) George McGinnis – Indiana Pacers – 1971 – 1975, 1980 – 1982

Pacers accomplishments:

- jersey number (30) retired by Pacers
- member of two Pacers ABA championship teams
- one-time ABA Playoffs MVP
- sixth all-time in steals in the ABA
- sixth all-time in minutes per game in the ABA
- fifth all-time in points per game in the ABA
- fifth all-time in rebounds per game in the ABA
- ABA leader in field goals attempted in 1974/75
- ABA leader in free throws attempted in 1972/73, 1973/74 & 1974/75
- ABA leader in free throws made in 1974/75
- ABA leader in points in 1974/75
- ABA leader in points per game in 1974/75
- three-time ABA All-Star
- one-time ABA MVP
- three-time All-ABA selection

“The engine for the team that won the 3 ABA titles, Big Mac was one of the elite scorers in basketball.  How good?  Considered on a par with Julius Erving in 1975 when they won co-MVP honors for the ABA, the same year he won the scoring title.” – Don 

4) Rik Smits – Indiana Pacers – 1988 – 2000

Pacers accomplishments:

- NBA leader in games played in 1988/89 & 1989/90
- one-time NBA All-Star
- ABA All-Rookie Team

“I have this friend named “Ryan”, who love love love love LOVES Rik Smits.  He’s pretty much his favorite player ever in the history of the world. Hell, Rik Smits might actually be “Ryan’s” dad.  And Rik was Dutch.  Those are the reasons he’s my number two guy (editor note: but only number four on our list).” – College Wolf

“During Reggie Miller’s heyday, Smits was the second banana on the Pacers’ teams of the late ’90s. The 7-foot-4 center could consistently score around 15 points per game and became a fan favorite of the Pacers.” – Diego Quezada

3) Jermaine O’Neal – Indiana Pacers – 2000 – 2008

Pacers accomplishments:

- Pacers all-time leader in blocks
- NBA leader in blocks in 2000/01
- six-time NBA All-Star
- three-time All-NBA selection
- NBA Most Improved Player

“Coming in a trade to the then-Eastern Conference champions for All-Star Dale Davis, O’Neal surpassed every expectation in Indiana. He became the prototypical power forward of the 21st century and even led the Pacers to championship contention before the brawl with the Pistons ruined that franchise.” – Diego Quezada

“While he may be remembered more in Indiana for his knees breaking down and his role in the horrific fight at the Palace of Auburn Hills, O’Neal’s career was actually a pretty solid one while he was with Indiana. Before injuries really zapped his power, he was a great post defender and a great offensive player in the low post with range to step back and hit the jumper. Amazing how injuries make you forget just how explosive he was.” – Philip

2) Mel Daniels – Indiana Pacers – 1968 – 1974

Pacers accomplishments:

- jersey number (34) retired by Pacers
- Pacers all-time leader in defensive & total rebounds
- member of three Pacers ABA championship teams
- ninth all-time in games played in the ABA
- fourth all-time in minutes played in the ABA
- fourth all-time in field goals made in the ABA
- fifth all-time in field goal attempts in the ABA
- ninth all-time in free throws made in the ABA
- third all-time in free throws attempted in the ABA
- all-time leader in rebounds (offensive, defensive & total) in the ABA
- tenth all-time in blocks in the ABA
- fourth all-time in points in the ABA
- second all-time in rebounds per game in the ABA
- ABA leader in defensive rebounds in 1968/69
- ABA leader in total rebounds in 1968/69 & 1970/71
- ABA leader in rebounds per game in 1968/69 & 1970/71
- six-time ABA All-Star
- two-time ABA MVP
- four-time All-ABA selection

“One of the most underrated players to ever play professional basketball, Daniels was both a dominant scorer and a dominant rebounder. With Indiana of the ABA in 1970-71, Daniels even grabbed 18 boards per game.” – Diego Quezada

“Daniels is not really well known to NBA fans since he never played in the NBA. But in the ABA with the Pacers, he averaged just shy of 20 points per game and more than 15 rebounds per game.” – Philip

“One of the best players to ever grace the hardwood in the ABA, he was also the best center to play as a Pacer.  The third of a great threesome that the Pacers had put together (alongside McGinnis and Brown), if McGinnis was the engine, then Daniels  was rock on which that team was built.” – Don 

1) Reggie Miller – Indiana Pacers – 1987 – 2005

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Pacers accomplishments:

- jersey number (31) retired by Pacers
- Pacers all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), three-pointers (made & attempted), free throws (made & attempted), assists, steals & points
- sixth all-time in games played in the NBA
- sixth all-time in minutes played in the NBA
- all-time leader in three-pointers (made & attempted) in the NBA
- ninth all-time in free throw % in the NBA
- NBA leader in games played in 1989/90, 1990/91 & 1998/99
- NBA leader in three-pointers made in 1992/93 & 1996/97
- NBA leader in free throw % in 1990/91, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2001/02 & 2004/05
- five-time NBA All-Star
- three-time All-NBA selection

“Pretty easy call here.  Has 111 more win shares(!!!) than the second highest guy (Roger Brown), and has scored over 25,000 points in his Pacers career.  You rarely see that anymore these days for one single team.  And Reggie probably could have kept playing if he had wanted to!” – College Wolf

“One of the greatest pure shooters in NBA history, Miller never left the team that drafted him. His timely three-point shots during the heated Knicks/Pacers rivalry of the ’90s earned him the nickname “Knick Killer” and even got him into some confrontations with Spike Lee.” – Diego Quezada

“Miller Time. Boom Baby. The Spike Lee Feud. Pushing off Michael Jordan and draining a game-winner in his face and then dancing around the court like he had just won a title. Winning Time. Miller’s career was full of legendary moments. His swagger and tactics on the court annoyed opponents. But he is perhaps the greatest three-point shooter the NBA has ever seen. Pretty impressive considering he never won a title. Few players are granted the legendary status Miller has without it.” – Philip

“Despite resembling a Q-tip, Miller averaged 79 games played a season over his long career.  Quite impressive.” – Jeff Fox 

Previous franchises done: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston.

 

 

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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