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The Indiana Pacers need some good juju to breeze in the direction of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Will those good vibes be able to gallop and squirm their way through the Downtown Indy construction? That’s a great question. But the Pacers have a major storyline heading into the birth of the 2021 NBA regular season.

As the Blue and Gold get set to take on the Charlotte Hornets down south tomorrow night, injuries continue to hamper Rick Carlisle’s team. Based off of the injury report in the final pre-season game against Cleveland, you could practically make an NBA starting five out of it.

Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and Kelan Martin.

If that turns into a norm, Indiana’s in trouble.

But maybe there’s one thing that can save things if injuries define another season. That one thing is Chris Duarte.

We don’t talk a whole lot about Pacers first round picks making an immediate impact. Not because the roster doesn’t have room for them, but because the front office has been horrid with draft picks.

Duarte is Kevin Pritchard’s last shot.

Duarte is the player that might turn Carlisle from a great coach, to an all-time great coach.

And Duarte is a guy who is going to win you some games that you’re not supposed to win.

What do the Pacers have to lose? Trot the former Oregon Duck out there and make Indianapolis his city; Victor Oladipo style. Because Oladipo sure as hell didn’t mean it when he made the notion.

Everybody and everything around the Indiana Pacers need Duarte to be a hit. If he’s not, there’s no more “let’s get ’em in the draft next year”. If you’re truly ‘running it back’, send your best onto the floor and don’t squander.

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