The Indiana Pacers are giving starters too many minutes

Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Nate Bjorkgren has done a solid job in his first month with the Indiana Pacers but he needs to give more minutes to the bench. With injuries piling up and young players not getting a chance to develop on the court, the Pacers could be heading down a similar road as years past.

Goga Bitadze was supposed to make a leap this season but has not seen the court much at all, leaving him as another potential bust of a first-round draft pick from just a year ago. Even though he’s back healthy, the Pacers have not used him off the bench. Edmond Sumner and Cassius Stanley are two youngsters who could help the wing depth, but they are also not seeing the floor.

The Indiana Pacers have to give theirs stars some rest

A month into the season, two of the Pacers’ starting five are at the top of the league in minutes per game. Domantas Sabonis, who is coming off a plantar fascia injury last season, leads the league with an astounding 38.4 minutes per game. For a big man with that sort of injury on his record, that many minutes is scary for the long run. If he continues to play at this rate, his season could drastically take a hit.

The same goes for Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon is currently third in the NBA with 36.8 minutes logged per game, second among guards behind only James Harden. T.J. McConnell has done a great job off the bench for the second unit, so his 19.9 minutes per game are a bit confusing at times.

After the team’s loss to the Raptors on Sunday, it is not unfair to argue that tired legs are starting to catch up. Brogdon and Sabonis shot just a combined 6-for-32 from the field and 1-for-13 from three-point range and just 22 points. If this trend continues over the next few weeks, Indiana could be in serious trouble moving forward.

The injury situation definitely makes this a much tougher problem for Bjorkgren and the coaching staff. Once T.J. Warren and Caris LeVert return to action, they should have depth on the wing that will help spread everyone’s minutes. Warren can also serve as a small-ball four to help Myles Turner and Domas get some extra rest.

Indiana has four games remaining this week, one every other day, including a mini-series with the Charlotte Hornets. Please spread some minutes out so the team will be at full strength once Warren and LeVert return to action.

Next. Recapping the first month of the season. dark