5 Pacers who could get axed from Rick Carlisle’s playoff rotation

These Pacers could be glued to the bench in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers, Rick Carlisle
Indiana Pacers, Rick Carlisle / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 5

The Indiana Pacers are fighting for a playoff berth down the stretch. If they finish in the top six, Indiana automatically qualifies. Finishing seventh or eighth puts them in the Play-In Tournament. The Pacers would need to win one of two games to qualify for the playoffs, but it puts them in a difficult position. Getting Tyrese Haliburton his first taste of the postseason is crucial. The Pacers have the talent but need to win games to qualify.

Indiana is still sorting things out. They traded for Pascal Siakam in January, and he is still finding his footing. The Pacers have two stars, but the duo continues to work on their partnership. It takes time. Indiana is running out of it, but expect them to find a way to make things happen.

Things will get tougher for head coach Rick Carlisle in the playoffs. He led the Mavericks to the championship in 2011 and is no stranger to maximizing his roster. Carlisle’s late-game management is questionable, but his rotations are usually spot on when the games matter most. Who gets cut as the Pacers’ best players expand their minutes in the postseason?

5. Doug McDermott

The Pacers got McDermott from the Spurs in a three-team deal at the deadline. The 6’6 forward played three seasons in his first stint in Indiana after signing as a free agent in 2018. He is one of the NBA’s best shooters, and the Pacers certainly needed a marksman after sending out Buddy Hield.

McDermott played a bench role for his first six games back in Indiana before suffering a calf injury. The 32-year-old has not played since Feb. 26, but appears close to returning. Will McDermott be part of their rotation when he gets back from injury?

The 6’6 forward averaged just 10.9 minutes per game during his first six contests. His role could easily be cut from the rotation as the starters expand their minutes in the postseason. Doug McDermott will get chances off the bench but do not expect him to be part of their nightly mix.

He is not the only player who will lose his role in Rick Carlisle’s rotation when the games matter most.