Indiana Pacers: The argument for running it back next season

Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 4
Indiana Pacers, TJ Warren
Indiana Pacers, TJ Warren (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers need to extend their patience on the injury front

Technically speaking, the Indiana Pacers’ core hasn’t gotten a real chance to see what they can do. Aside from an intermittent stretch in the 2019-20 season where the team initially struggled to incorporate Oladipo back in a rock-solid group, the Blue and Gold hasn’t trotted out a healthy roster since, well, January 2018.

The previous season is no different. After starting 6-2, the Pacers struggled the rest of the way. A season-ender for TJ Warren, alongside elongated absences from newcomer Caris LeVert, who was acquired in the Oladipo trade, Jeremy Lamb, who was coming off an ACL injury, and Myles Turner, who was shelved late in the season plagued Indiana. It also didn’t help that Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis had their fair share of injury-related absences this season.

At full strength, the Indiana Pacers boast one of the more well-rounded and balanced starting fives in the league. With four 20-point scorers to begin games, and a Defensive Player of the Year wildcard anchoring the defense, the team has more than enough to ammo to be a force in the East. Alas, even the bench unit is nothing to scoff at.

If the front office runs the same group back, it will be considered an unimpressive move, but only because it’s so harmless that doing so will not hoist the franchise on the headlines. Look at this depth chart.

  • SF: TJ Warren, Justin Holiday, Oshae Brissett
  • PF: Domantas Sabonis, Doug McDermott
  • C: Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze
  • SG: Caris LeVert, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner
  • PG: Malcolm Brogdon, TJ McConnell, Aaron Holiday

The above list is not even inclusive of the team’s other seldom-used cogs, their selection in the upcoming draft and possible free agency addition/s, but even with this group, Indiana have as many as 13 rotation players who can contribute on a regular basis. That depth is a wonderful asset to have, not only as injury insurance, but for an obvious competitive advantage night in and night out.

Waiting for the stars to align and for the injury bug to be decimated is a risky proposition, but with more rest in the offseason and some luck along the way, championship coach Rick Carlisle can mobilize a roster that can shock the league and win a round or two next season.