The Indiana Pacers have the luxury of entering next season with a lot more certainty than most teams can claim for themselves. The team will retain most of its roster by default and can likely bring back its most important free agent in Justin Holiday if they are willing to pay him fair market value.
Though the team will look largely the same next year, that does not necessarily mean that they will be exactly the same. Different game-planning, new structure, and an adjusted allocation of minutes will allow the team to mix things up and not be predictable going into the 2020-21 season.
Here are some players already on the roster that are due for more minutes next year.
Goga Bitadze may be ready for the next step in his Indiana Pacers development
Goga Bitadze has spent a solid part of this season observing and taking in NBA action from the sidelines.
A rookie behind two stellar frontcourt players in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, the real game opportunities for Bitadze this year have been few and far between. Mostly appearing in garbage time minutes or when Turner or Sabonis are in foul trouble, Bitadze’s work this season has mostly been behind the scenes development.
With Turner and Sabonis figuring out how to play alongside each other more each step of the way, there’s a strong likelihood McMillan may want to get the two of them to play more together when he designs next season’s rotations.
While the duo hasn’t been the most seamless fit thus far, they have been growing and fitting into each other’s mold each step of the way.
Sabonis currently is the first one off the floor in the first and third quarters so he can be the first starter in with the second unit at the start of the second and fourth quarters. He’s allowed the Pacers to build strong leads with an All-Star presence in the second unit.
Of course, this will depend on how the duo progresses at the start of next season. If Sabonis running plenty of minutes with the second unit still works best, Bitadze may still not see much time.
Whether it’s a marginal increase or a significant one, Bitadze should see more than 500 minutes by mid-March, whereas he saw 410 this season.