Indiana Pacers fans got the news that Victor Oladipo will be returning to the court on January 29th. Despite the promising news, there are questions concerning the point guard position and what his return means for its rotation.
January 29th against the Chicago Bulls in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Oladipo is expected to make his long-awaited return to the court.
Without his presence to start the season, the Pacers have exceeded expectations by currently holding a 23-15 record. The early portion of the season has been monumental for the organization.
Not only have the Pacers missed the play of Oladipo, but the team has had to battle a flurry of injuries to key players throughout the early portion of the season.
Unfortunately, a number of injuries have impacted the point guard position for the Pacers. Through the first 38 games, the Pacers have been without the services of point guards Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, and Edmond Sumner during various stints.
This has caused the Pacers coaching staff to deploy a slew of different lineups to combat the onset of injury to the roster.
However, as the team gradually returns to old form, things remain difficult as Nate McMillan and his staff have to navigate how to place the team in positions to succeed with newfound health.
Even though Oladipo’s return is fantastic for the team and fans, it also clouds the current rotation of point guards.
This leads many to ask, what does Oladipo’s return mean for the point guard position?
The early portion of the season has allowed the coaching staff and fans to assess what the Pacers have at point guard.
In his second season, Holiday has undergone tremendous growth with the opportunities he has been given. Holiday has shown that he is coachable and has improved over time.
Holiday has stepped up to the plate and performed well as a piece of the starting lineup when Brogdon is unavailable.
Last season, Holiday had zero starts. This season he has already had 18 appearances in the starting lineup.
Even though the beginning of the season included growing pains for the former UCLA Bruin, Holiday has shown that he can perform at a high level for a respected Eastern Conference team.
On the other hand, McConnell has emerged as an unsung hero for the Indiana Pacers so far this season.
McConnell has been off to a great start in his first season with the Pacers. Coming off the bench, McConnell has flourished and brought the team energy down the stretch.
McConnell’s demeanor and consistent play have trickled down throughout the rest of the roster. That is evident in how his teammates and coaches respond to McConnell when he is having success on the floor.
McConnell came to Indiana knowing he would be a key piece off the bench and so far, has exceeded expectations.
Now, with Brogdon’s health trending upward and Oladipo with a set date to make his season debut, there is curiosity surrounding how the point guard position will be handled moving forward.
Unfortunately, Coach McMillan won’t be able to call on every point guard each game. That means one of the point guards in Holiday or McConnell may have to take a back seat once Oladipo returns to his old self.
Despite it being unclear whether Oladipo will be a part of the starting lineup on January 29th there is an expectation that he will be called upon early and often.
Even if Brogdon starts at point guard with Oladipo back in the rotation, that would mean that Holiday or McConnell would be the second guard off the bench.
The minutes of either Holiday or McConnell could dwindle.
Some tough decisions await the Indiana Pacers coaching staff. With Holiday continuing to develop, a case can be made as to why he should garner more backup point guard minutes than McConnell.
However, McConnell’s consistency and leadership on the court can’t be overlooked.
As a leader of the second unit, McConnell has displayed the ability to orchestrate the Pacers’ offense regardless of who is on the floor.
As January 29th approaches, Holiday and McConnell will fight for position as the team’s second point guard. Expect for both guards to elevate their game in order to gain an edge and place themselves in a comfortable position within the rotation.