Indiana Pacers: Making the case for more T.J. McConnell

T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
T.J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers lost a key piece of the roster this week. The loss creates more opportunities for the team’s unsung hero, T.J. McConnell.

Despite the uncertainty that shrouds the Indiana Pacers concerning the remainder of the season, reserve point guard T.J. McConnell is currently in a favorable position.

Yesterday, the Pacers learned that they would be without Jeremy Lamb for the rest of the season after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, meniscus and fracture in his left knee after taking an awkward fall against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

With a key piece of the roster no longer available, it creates an opportunity for T.J. McConnell to showcase his value as a formidable option at point guard.

The 27-year-old, in his first season with the Pacers, has been consistent and unlike his counterparts, readily available.

McConnell has only missed two games this season, way back in mid-November. A tremendous feat considering the lack of health that has riddled the Pacers’ roster.

In his 55 appearances so far this season, McConnell has been a consistent option off the bench. The point guard has been one of the better offseason acquisitions the Pacers’ front office has made in the last several years.

McConnell has had 13 games where he’s scored in double digits, including a double-double against his former team, the Philadelphia 76ers on December 31st.

McConnell finished with 11 points and 10 assists in the contest.

It’s evident that the reserve point guard can play with the best of them. This is a reason for the Pacers’ coaching staff to lean on him due to the absence of Lamb.

With McConnell being more of a true point guard, it is expected for the Pacers’ coaching staff to call on Edmond Sumner with one of the team’s shooting guards no longer in the mix.

Sumner brings a defensive pedigree to the guard position, but his lack of experience and up-and-down health is what has held him back from being a consistent go-to option this season.

In addition to Sumner, Aaron Holiday will certainly log more minutes.

Even though the second-year guard has had flashes of brilliance, he has been unable to string together strong back-to-back performances like his counterpart McConnell.

Holiday has a wealth of potential, but his sporadic play is a hard sell with less than 30 games remaining on the schedule.

Another reason why McConnell should see more action in the coming weeks.

The Pacers guards are familiar with shifting between the one and two positions. Therefore, it won’t be too much to ask Malcolm Brogdon and/or Victor Oladipo to have McConnell orchestrate the offense when he’s on the floor.

McConnell will also continue to lead the Pacers’ second unit, the team’s bright spot over the last several weeks.

The Pacers’ coaching staff is fighting an uphill battle with the flurry of injuries this season. However, a talent like McConnell can take some of the pressure off while providing a reliable option at the guard position.

Next. What the loss of Jeremy Lamb means for rest of season. dark

McConnell is a solid player and has also morphed into a fan favorite. With those factors in play, the Pacers’ coaching staff should let the guard flourish.