Indiana Pacers: 3 advantages the team has over potential play-in opponents

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

The Indiana Pacers have the deepest bench in the four-team play-in race

If there’s a facet that first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren has carried over from his Toronto Raptors days as an assistant for Nick Nurse, it’s his affinity for digging deep into his treasury and trotting out numerous players in games. While he has shown a tendency to rely on the bench for longer stretches than needed, it has saved the Indiana Pacers multiple times, especially with their lengthy injury reports.

Bjorkgren doesn’t necessarily have a staple bench unit, with his lineups varying from game to game. The best thing with this is the variance in the team’s attack which allows for a more difficult scouting report for the opposition.

This next man up mentality is not a rare instance in Indiana — it is a part of the team’s identity. Despite boasting a mediocre record, the opportunities that the bench players have gotten have led to meaningful contributions. Oshae Brissett, Kelan Martin, Goga Bitadze, JaKarr Sampson, Edmond Sumner and even Cassius Stanley won’t likely demand boldfaced marks on scouting reports, but they can certainly get the team a bucket, a big rebound, or an important defensive stop when called upon.

Compare that to their counterparts, and the Pacers definitely have the advantage with depth. Boston and Washington are too top-heavy without much force in their second units. Charlotte has a semblance of depth, but only in the backcourt.

In a winner-takes-all game, anything can happen. Be it an unfortunate foul trouble, a questionable ejection, or the ever-present injury bug, having a deep team will certainly pay dividends. It may even ignite a strategic scheme or two for the coaching staff to catch the other team off-guard and get a win.