Negative: Rookies not playing much
This has been a huge discussion point of mine as of late, but it is so prevalent that it deserves a spot on this list as well.
Jarace Walker was traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft day 2023 after being selected with the 8th pick by the Washington Wizards. Following a promising Summer League and preseason, Walker and fellow first-round pick Ben Sheppard played six garbage time minutes in Indiana’s blowout opening night win against the Washington Wizards.
Those would be the only minutes Walker and Sheppard would see until three games later when it took a 38-point fourth-quarter deficit to get Walker some playing time in his first game in a whole week.
I understand that Rick Carlisle has a bit of a reputation for not playing rookies as much as they should play unless they are already proven (Luka Doncic), but what I do not understand is the front office trading down to get Walker, then just not playing him for two whole games.
Despite the fact that Walker did play against Boston, it still seemed like Carlisle did not want to bring him off the bench and only did so when he ran out of options. Isaiah Jackson got more minutes than Walker on Wednesday, and Jackson’s future with the team is not exactly certain.
Hopefully, as the season goes on, Walker’s talent and ability will be more evident to the point where Carlisle has no choice but to play him, but for now, there are some serious rotation changes that need to be made as the team’s lack of defense outside of Bruce Brown and Myles Turner could very easily be helped with a dynamic presence like Walker out there next to them.