Indiana Pacers: Why roster depth may not be as sterling as it seems

Indiana Pacers, Caris LeVert - (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers, Caris LeVert - (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

In typical Blue and Gold fashion, the Indiana Pacers opted to stay the course in the offseason, subtly making additions to the roster while dismissing any prospect of a blockbuster trade, especially with their limited wiggle room to make big signings.

However, that culminated in the team boasting one of the deepest rosters in the league. After adding studs Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson through the NBA Draft and snagging Torrey Craig in the free agent market, the Pacers suddenly have an abundance of rotation players who can all compete for significant minutes.

With key players projected to return from injuries, Indiana can feel confident on the nightly about having a roster that can offset personnel changes, either with in-game tactics or due to injuries. However, given the Pacers’ current state right now, their tremendous roster depth may not be as sterling as it seems.

Nagging injuries neutralize the Indiana Pacers’ roster depth

Almost like an annual Indy tradition (ritual, whatever you may want to call), the Blue and Gold will enter the campaign looking like a team already sapped of its bounce by midseason fatigue. With four rotation players whose status for opening night are far from a guarantee, what has been reckoned by many as the Pacers’ unique edge over most teams with its depth is now in vain to begin the 2021-22 season.

TJ Warren and Caris LeVert are already dealing with their own set of injuries that will sideline them indefinitely, though the abstract timetable should have them returning sooner than later. Malcolm Brogdon‘s nagging shoulder ailments have already started twitching to signify they will still be around. Even Indiana Pacers iron man Justin Holiday, for the first time as he can recall, was not safe from the perennial injury bug, badly tweaking his ankle.

If those key players are sidelined come opening night, and all signs point that it is safer to bet on it, the coaching staff will have to compensate, but at the cost of depleting the second unit. TJ McConnell, Chris Duarte and Oshae Brissett could all be promoted to starting duty, and while that is certainly not the end of the world, the bench will be left with remnants.

To avoid last season’s rollercoaster ride pinned by injuries, with players almost at a be-picked-out-of-a-hat rate of getting sidelined, the Pacers will have to get creative on handling their roster. An ounce (or two) of luck will always be welcome, but minutes, necessary layoffs and utilizing the team’s normal depth are things that are pretty much in their control.

However, that would not be possible given how the Indiana Pacers stand at the moment. When the full strength bell finally rings, however, the team must do all that it can to bottle that fleeting health and preserve it for later. Until that happens, the team’s roster depth will not be as advantageous than initially expected.

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