The Indiana Pacers’ roster doesn’t make much sense

Indiana Pacers - Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

In a mediocre season in which the Indiana Pacers rest their record in NBA Purgatory, the roster construction should be the major culprit for a wash season.

The Indiana Pacers aren’t very good this season, and this unavoidable truth would still hold true if T.J. Warren were healthy due to the massive problem here: roster construction and its lack of fit with the desired scheme. We’ll get to the scheme aspect of these shortcomings later, but first, we need to talk about the guard problem and defense.

The current roster makeup does not make sense for the Indiana Pacers

Seven guards?!

I counted this morning as a bit of a refresher, and this team has seven playable guards and had zero noticeable inclination of moving one of them at the deadline. For teams like the San Antonio Spurs, who are also a bit loaded with guard play, this is good because of the tantalizing youth and potential in players like Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson (that dude can play like three positions, sue me), rookie Devin Vassell, scoring machine Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV.

That doesn’t even account for stud vets at those spots like DeMar Derozan and Patty Mills. The Pacers’ guard situation, on the other hand, inspires a bit more pessimism. Obviously, Caris LeVert and Malcolm Brogdon are the exceptions due to their above-average production and skill sets, but the rest of the guards are the Holiday bros, T.J McConnell, Jeremy Lamb, and the quickly ascending Edmond Sumner.

I like Ed a lot, but there wasn’t, and still isn’t, enough sound reasoning to keeping 4 of those guys with all of the other holes on the roster, especially when most of those guards are on the wrong side of 28. If we had the opportunity to trade these older vets at a crowded position for spots we are sorely lacking, it should’ve been done.

Dry of wing defenders

Speaking of lacking at spots, when you’ve played Jeremy Lamb at power forward out of necessity, it might be time to do some roster analysis. Without Myles Turner, the Pacers are bound to fall in the bottom dwellers of defensive ranking, as he was the sole purpose with us flirting with the top 13, and that’s because of a well-documented void of perimeter defense.

Even with the average at best defender in T.J. Warren, Indy never had an answer for high volume usage wings this season. Oshae Brissett has been an awesome, exceptional signing, but the 22-year-old isn’t enough on such a defenseless unit.

It’s hurt Coach Bjorkgren

Coach Nate Bjorkgren has been struck with a lot of criticism, and I’m just not convinced it’s fully warranted. Coming from a schematic system in Toronto full of stunts and trapping that drove teams crazy pre-pandemic, and he was welcomed by Kevin Pritchard to implement said schemes, but he wasn’t given the needed roster.

With Turbonis already limiting defensive versatility paired with the guard dominant roster, it wasn’t the necessary tools needed for Bjorkgren to run what he was hired for.

This makes the deadline look increasingly worse. 

I’ve talked about it before, but all of these things make the previous NBA trade deadline look horrendously mismanaged. With a lack of direction chosen, especially with such a loaded NBA Draft on the horizon, not capitalizing on any sort of draft capital via trade is quite the miss from Pritchard.

I believe in our management, but if this team is going to succeed Kevin Pritchard needs to keep Bjorkgren’s needs in mind for the skills and positions needed for this thing to work for the future.

The Indiana Pacers and their disaster of a trade deadline. dark. Next