Indiana Pacers: Will Alize Johnson finally earn a spot in the rotation?

Alize Johnson has made the most of his minutes with the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers forward Alize Johnson has remained patient since entering the NBA as a second-round pick. In two seasons with the team, Johnson has played in just 31 games but has been exciting to watch in limited action. Could 2020-21 be the season that Johnson cracks a spot in the rotation?

While Alize Johnson does not have a high volume of shots, due largely in part to the fact that he has not seen the floor, he has shown plenty of upside as a stretch-four option. Last season, Johnson shot 3-of-8 from deep and 12-of-29 overall. What really stands out, however, is his ability to grab rebounds on both ends of the floor.

Johnson was on pace for 14.6 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, 4.9 of which were on the offensive end. Even as a rookie, he flashed promise on the glass, putting up 10.7 boards per 36 minutes. If he can play consistent minutes, he could be the team’s second-leading rebounder, trailing only Domantas Sabonis.

The Pacers had Alize Johnson get some extra minutes in the G-League over his first two seasons and he dominated his competition. In 2019-20, Johnson posted 20.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game while shooting 33.9 percent from beyond the arc.

The season prior, Johnson recorded 19.1 points and 13.7 rebounds. He also knocked down 37.9 percent of his long balls and hauled in 4.6 offensive rebounds. Wherever he gets his minutes, Alize Johnson does his best to make them count.

The Pacers may be looking for a backup forward to give them minutes with JaKarr Sampson hitting free agency. This may finally be the year that Alize Johnson is bumped into a more important role, and for good reason.

He can be a very serviceable backup who can even make some spot starts if given the opportunity. His ability to connect from deep and clean the glass is something the Pacers would certainly love to have.