What's next for the Pacers?

David West, right, is a leader on the court and in the locker room. But will he return to Indiana? Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports

Indiana's best season in nine years ended much like it did nine years ago -- losing in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.

It remains to be seen whether the 2013 Miami Heat follow in the same footsteps as the 2004 Detroit Pistons (the eventual NBA champions who beat the Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference finals), but unlike the 2004 incarnation of Indiana, this year's edition of the Pacers can look at this season as a massive success, winning the fifth division title in the franchise's NBA history, and coming a lot closer to an NBA Finals appearance than the final series ledger would suggest. Indiana has the makings of a bright future, but sustaining title contender status is often much more difficult than achieving it.

Here's a look at where the Pacers have been and where they're headed: