Indiana Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon’s absence will be especially painful

Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

While the Indiana Pacers’ drubbing at the hands of the Toronto Raptors was already deflating, Malcolm Brogdon‘s injury added insult to injury. Now, the team will attempt to improve its measly 1-4 record amidst a difficult schedule without their leading scorer, a tall task considering the fact that squad is already missing three of their projected starters.

Already reeling with their second losing streak in the early going of the season, the Pacers’ upcoming contest against the star-laden and title favorites Brooklyn Nets, which are also having a slow start to their campaign, does not give the Blue and Gold a sterling chance at ending their skid. The absence of Brogdon in the interim, who has once again assumed primary scoring and facilitating duties sans Caris LeVert and TJ Warren, will be crippling, especially offensively.

Malcolm Brogdon’s injury will have big adverse effects on the Indiana Pacers’ main weapon so far: offense

Don’t be fooled by Indiana’s eighth-ranked offensive rating: the Indiana Pacers’ offense has been rather stale to begin the year, especially on third quarters. For the team’s pick-and-roll heavy offense to lose its go-to ball handler is impending doom, leaving Domantas Sabonis and his possession-sapping post-ups at the center stage.

Just kidding. Of course, the Pacers’ scoring profile is versatile enough, but this is only in theory. Aside from Domas and rookie Chris Duarte‘s flashy perimeter wonders, which has also waned in recent games, no one else on the roster is a threat to both score and pass. LeVert’s nearing return would be a massive help, but after last season’s Russian roulette with injuries, it’s very likely that the coaching staff will opt to ease him back to action.

In the meantime, I can see the Pacers feed the post more in hopes of having Sabonis create primarily. The Raptors easily exploited the All-Star’s tentativeness operating in the perimeter, opting to leave him with ample room outside the paint instead of allowing him feast on his comfort zone. Currently, Indiana ranks 16th in post-up frequency, a number that should increase with Domas as the trigger.

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Fortunately, the Pacers can test that out against the Nets, as Brooklyn, despite its star-studded lineup, are rather thin on interior defenders. Sabonis and even Turner, the not-plagued-by-fouls version, should have the edge on one-on-one matchups against, say, the aging Blake Griffin, Paul Millsap and LaMarcus Aldridge, who are on the twilight of their careers, and the thin Nicolas Claxton.

In addition, Indiana’s secondary creators have to step up and rise to the occasion. Duarte will have his usual numbers and maybe even more with Brogdon out, but TJ McConnell and Jeremy Lamb have to be better than their normal selves for the Pacers to be able to hold down the fort. Brad Wanamaker also needs to assert himself and not be a mere default option on offense.

It won’t be easy, especially with their next string of games, but the Indiana Pacers will have options with Malcolm Brogdon out. How the remaining cogs take the wheel and fare in bigger roles will determine if the team continues its disappointing start, or finally reverses its fortunes.

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