It's time for Jarace Walker to prove he belongs in the Indiana Pacers' rotation

With Bennedict Mathurin out for the year and Doug McDermott still hurt, Jarace Walker has an opportunity to make a big statement for the Indiana Pacers.

Feb 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Jarace Walker (5) warms up before a
Feb 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Jarace Walker (5) warms up before a / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are not in an enviable spot. They are down two guys in their rotation off the bench. A bench unit that leads the NBA in scoring, by the way. The Pacers got some crushing news on Saturday when it was announced that Bennedict Mathurin will be out for the season with a shoulder injury.

It's almost impossible to replace Mathurin's shot creation off the dribble. No one else on the bench can do what he does creating his own shot on all three levels. Not having McDermott still also hurts their three-point shooting off the bench. With those two guys gone, that opens up minutes for some guys.

Ben Sheppard has been getting more minutes since the All-Star break. He's earned them too. His three-point shooting has really improved and his defense is as solid as always. The rookie could be joined by another rookie in getting more time on the court.

The Indiana Pacers need valuable minutes from Jarace Walker

Jarace Walker is the next man up. In contrast to Sheppard, Walker has hardly played this season. He's only appeared in 22 contests this year. His shot still isn't quite where it needs to be despite showing some impressive shot-blocking prowess. He needs to be able to hit open jumpers.

In limited time this year, he's shooting 40% from the field. That's not good enough for a forward with his length. To be fair to him, it's hard to get a shooting rhythm when you hardly play. He hasn't had any games where he knows he's coming off the bench and allowed to make some mistakes.

Those days are over. The Pacers need him to contribute off the bench. He needs to show everyone why he was the 8th overall pick in the Draft. I want to see him play with confidence, even if his shot isn't falling. I still want him to be aggressive and play within the flow of the game.

Next. Next story. The Pacers must bring back this player next season. dark

Walker is going to get 15-20 minutes a game now. This is his chance to permanently earn a role on this team moving forward. Indiana Pacers fans everywhere are hoping he can take advantage of his opportunity.