Indiana Pacers have reached the deep end of bench

Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers have been unable to catch a break with injuries. With one after the other, the team has been out of sync with its rotation. This has led the Pacers coaching staff to reach the deep end of the bench to seek production due to key absences.

Injuries have decimated the Indiana Pacers throughout the first month of the season. Myles Turner (8 games), Domantas Sabonis (2 games), Malcolm Brogdon (2 games), Goga Bitadze (3 games), Jeremy Lamb (9 games), Edmond Sumner (11 games), T.J. McConnell (2 games), and Victor Oladipo (14 games) have all added to the whirlwind of injury this season.

The Pacers have gone 16 deep on the bench. Those 16 have proved they should be considered for serious minutes.

The Pacers have four days off until hosting the Orlando Magic to kick off a four-game homestand Saturday night. All players should be available except for Sumner and Oladipo.

The Pacers have managed to weather the storm by incorporating the “next man up” mentality. Players such as Bitadze, Aaron and Justin Holiday, TJ Leaf, JaKarr Sampson, and most recently Naz Mitrou-Long have all produced when called upon.

Mitrou-Long, who has a two-way contract with the Pacers,  played a game in Maine Friday night scoring a game-high 28 points for G-League affiliate, Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

24 hours later, Mitrou-Long was the first man off the bench for the Pacers.

After struggling against the Milwaukee Bucks, Mitrou-Long was comfortable and effective against the Brooklyn Nets.

The former Iowa State Cyclone ignited a 32-6 scoring run that put the Pacers in front. They never looked back in the 115-86 thrashing of the Nets.

Every player on the Pacers roster that has had ample playing time this season has proved they can contribute. The lone question mark is Brian Bowen II, due to the two-way rookie not logging more than a few minutes, but his future is promising.

The Pacers have truly made the best out of a dire situation. They have been able to develop young players and give them valuable playing opportunities. This will be a tremendous advantage as the season progresses.

It should also help manage the minutes of the team’s starters. The coaching staff will use the added depth to keep the starters fresh.

However, when the Pacers have a full cast the coaching staff will be unable to give everyone a fair share of minutes. Therefore, due to the current state of the roster, those healthy will use the opportunity to audition for minutes as the season moves forward. Particularly during the return of Oladipo.

Next. Aaron Holiday may be a hidden gem for Indiana Pacers. dark

What is the true ceiling for a healthy Indiana Pacers team? Can the Pacers compete at the top of the Eastern Conference? Only time will tell.