3 Biggest downsides to Indiana Pacers not playing Jarace Walker

Jarace Walker hasn't gotten many minutes this year, and these are some issues it's causing the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Pacers rotation
Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Pacers rotation / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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1. Other players playing out of position

This may be the biggest issue that has stemmed from a lack of Walker minutes, solely because it is almost directly affecting another player's productivity.

So far into the season, we have gotten a pretty good estimate of what the Pacers' rotation will look like, barring any potential trades or buyout market signings. Outside of some starting lineup issues, this rotation looks relatively reasonable except for one thing: Aaron Nesmith's placement.

So far this season, Nesmith has made a serious case for himself as Indiana's second-best player despite coming off the bench for all but one game and averaging slightly under 25 minutes per game, the sixth most on the team.

Taking a look at his stats, Nesmith's averages of 11.5 points on 53/46/68 splits, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals stand out plenty by themselves, but what can't be shown in the box score is his impeccable defense.

Nesmith has easily asserted himself as Indiana's best defender this season, routinely hounding opponents into making bad decisions and using his 6'10" wingspan to alter shots and guard larger players, which he has had to do a lot of this season.

This brings up the problem at hand. Despite being listed at 6'5" and 215 pounds and normally playing the small forward position, where he is adept at guarding smaller, quicker players, Nesmith has routinely had to slide in at power forward despite that not being his preferred position.

As a result, he has often been tasked with guarding the opposing team's best forwards, whether that be Jerami Grant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or LeBron James, with mixed results. While Nesmith is more than capable of guarding power forwards and even centers for periods, asking him to routinely cover players four to six inches taller than him is a tall order for the admittedly scrappy player.

Not playing Jarace Walker has a direct effect on this. With Walker playing, he could slide into the backup power forward slot, allowing Nesmith to return to small forward and go back to guarding players his size.

Aaron Nesmith has been the unsung hero of the Pacers all season, knocking down key shots, playing fantastic defense, and leaving it all on the floor, all while playing out of position.

If he returns to his natural position, there's a very serious chance Nesmith could up his offensive production and give Tyrese Haliburton some more firepower to work with on that end while keeping up his defensive excellence.