Coming into this season, the Indiana Pacers currently have the 7th youngest roster out of the 30 NBA teams at an average of 24.1 years old. That is very good being the star power that the Pacers currently have on their roster with players like Tyrese Haliburton (22), Chris Duarte (25), and Bennedict Mathurin (20) just to name a few.
While that is a good thing for the future, there will be times during this season when some of these guys have hiccups. I have come up with three players on the roster that may be beneficial during these times of desperation and that can keep good spirits and confidence high. I will rank these three in the order of importance to this young roster.
What players could be leaders on this Indiana Pacers team outside of Tyrese Haliburton?
Veteran #1- TJ McConnell
T.J. McConnell (30), Is the “old guy” on this team so to speak, and is one of those players in the NBA that you would define as a “Glue Guy.” TJ is a pesky defender and always gives opposing guards fits. He is known most commonly for his lockdown defense. He has been top 10 in the NBA in steals twice in his career. 2016-17 (6th) and 2020-21 (1st). To go along with all of the on-the-floor abilities, T.J. is a smart basketball player with a high IQ.
You can tell that he is always engaged and is always a play ahead. He is tied as the oldest player on this roster and has been around the game for a long time. The reason I feel that he will be most beneficial to this team is that I feel that he can share his knowledge and understanding with the guards on this team that are VERY young.
There are going to be times that these guards do struggle. They are also going to have a hard time guarding some of the premiere veteran guards in the league. I think that is where T.J. will shine and will be able to help this Pacers team on and off the floor.
Veteran #2 – Buddy Hield
The Pacers are blessed to have one of the best shooters in the NBA in Buddy Hield. He is another one of the older players on this team at just 29 years old! Everyone knows what Buddy’s role will be on the floor as he is 24th in most made threes out of all active players in the NBA. One thing that some people may ask is the role that Buddy may have off of the floor. With a plethora of young backcourt players on the roster, and the Pacers in a rebuild or sorts.
There is a possibility that Buddy could see a decrease in his minutes. That does not mean that he would be any less valuable, however. Buddy has a very strong work ethic and loves to play basketball. This summer he is set to play for the Bahamas National Team in the FIBA AmeriCup. Many times you see players sit out and enjoy their summer away from basketball.
Not Buddy. He will be beneficial to this team off the floor in helping the younger guys learn ways to get open and create their own shots. He will also display his strong work ethic, and what it takes to be a pro. These are all things that young NBA players need. The young guns on the Pacers roster are blessed to have a vet like Buddy Hield to show them the ropes.
Veteran #3 – Daniel Theis
Daniel Theis is the same age as TJ McConnell and the oldest player on the current Indiana Pacers roster (30.) He brings a big body to this loaded frontcourt with experience with a deep run to the NBA Finals in the past season with the Boston Celtics. I do not feel that Theis will get huge minutes on a team looking to develop their younger players.
However, Theis will help this team a couple of ways off of the court. He will be able to teach where to be on defense and ways to be in the right position to the bigs that are on the roster that do not have much experience. He will also bring a winners mentality that the Pacers need as he was with very many good players during his time with the Boston Celtics.