One question for every Pacers player as the countdown to the NBA Playoffs begin

As the playoffs inch closer, these are questions that we have for every Pacers player.

Mar 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) moves the
Mar 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) moves the / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Can T.J. McConnell be the best bench player on the floor?

There have been multiple games where T.J. McConnell has been the best bench player on the floor. His craftiness around the rim and his ability to push the pace are not something a lot of teams have. He is one of the only guys on the Pacers' bench who can create his own shot.

Can he be the best guy off the bench in a playoff series? There will be games in which he ends up closing alongside Haliburton when the Pacers need a ball-handler to get the ball to Haliburton in spot-up shooting spots. He needs to be the best bench guy out there.

Can Ben Sheppard make enough threes to scare teams?

Ben Sheppard started his first career game against the Clippers. He wasn't that aggressive, shooting just three times. But he made two of those three shots, including a three. Against the Bulls on Wednesday, he was much less effective, going 0-2 in just 11 minutes.

Sheppard has to make his open threes if the Pacers want to keep winning games with their strong bench play. He's a good defender, so they need him out there. But he has to be able to contribute offensively when he is. Otherwise, teams will sag off him.

Which center will play more minutes against bigger opposing centers?

Jalen Smith has had a really good year for the most part this season. He's averaging over 10 points per game and is shooting almost 44% from three. But as well saw against the Bulls, he struggles against other centers who are bulkier than he is.

Isaiah Jackson isn't exactly filled out either. Yet, he still hustles for rebounds and is a bigger threat to block shots. Which of them will play more against a team that has a big backup center? Isaiah Hartenstein comes to mind in a potential series with the Knicks. I tend to think they'll mix-and-match them.

Will Doug McDermott stay in the rotation?

Doug McDermott is finally healthy and playing with the Pacers. He's only played in 11 games since being acquired at the deadline. The returns haven't been great so far. His shooting hasn't been as good as what the Pacers had hoped it would be.

Will he stay in the rotation if he continues to miss shots? They don't need a lot of minutes from him, but he's out there to space the floor. If he can't do that, they are better off giving his minutes to rookie Jarace Walker. Which brings me to my final question.

Has Jarace Walker earned Rick Carlisle's trust?

Carlisle said after the win against the Clippers that Jarace Walker was the story of the game. His passing certainly made a difference. He also hit a couple of shots with confidence. The pacers would love for him to be able to be trusted on a consistent basis.

The problem is that he is still so up and down with his play. Against the Bulls, he was 0-2 with two assists and two turnovers in 11 minutes. He has to be better than that if he wants to earn playoff rotation minutes.


We will learn the answer to all of these questions here in these last few games.