Our lead ball handlers
We will get the easy parts of the rotation out of the way first. Tyrese Haliburton is the lead ball handler of the Indiana Pacers. He is the all-star, the franchise player, and the future of this team. He makes every player on the court better, he shoots the ball well, and he has the size that some guards in the NBA just don’t have. He is OBVIOUSLY one of the starting guards on the team. Hopefully, he remains healthy throughout the year, because aside from his scoring abilities, he also makes life so much easier for the other guys catching his passes. Jarace Walker has to be ecstatic that he can learn to play in the NBA with a guy like Haliburton who knows when to give the ball up. I am extremely excited about the lobs we get to see between these two.
Now we already have a decision to make. Is Andrew Nembhard the backup to Tyrese? Or is he the starter alongside him? Last year Nembhard started 63 out of the 75 games he played in. It is safe to say that Rick Carlisle prefers to have two ball handlers in the game and although being a rookie, Nembhard was solid in that role last year. Now, it can also be said that the best games of the Nembhards’s career came when he was the primary ball handler. It is a matter of do you prefer him coming off the bench and leading that unit as the one with the ball in their hand, or do you prefer playing off-ball next to Haliburton and not having as much opportunity to do what he excels at? For my projected rotation I am going to put Nembhard as the backup PG and one of the first people off the bench. If Haliburton ever has to miss time or the staff wants a little more ball-handling/defense on the perimeter, Nembhard will fill that role in the starting lineup.
With that being said, if TJ McConnell is still on the roster he will most likely be getting consistent minutes, especially if Nembhard does end up starting. After that, it’s not clear who else would be entrusted as a primary playmaker if more than one of those guys were to miss time. Bruce Brown showed last year in Denver that he could be trusted with the ball in his hand but that was mostly to allow Jamal Murray to play off the ball. However, it seems like Bruce is pretty good at everything so if he needs the run the point in a pinch there could be much worse options. I’ll talk more about BB and wing depth later but now, we’re looking at another position and another secured spot in the starting lineup.