The Indiana Pacers have depth and it's winning them games

The Indiana Pacers used to have a bad bench. Now, their bench might be the best in the league.

Mar 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) shoots the ball
Mar 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) shoots the ball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have had some struggles with bad starts in games all year long. Their starters sometimes come out flat and aren't immediately ready to play. When that does happen, Rick Carlisle doesn't hesitate to put the bench unit out there quickly.

The reason why he feels confident enough to do that is because the Pacers have depth. They have the highest-scoring bench unit in the league, scoring almost 47 points a game. That's also valuable while their best player has been stuck in a months-long slump.

Despite the struggles of Tyrese Haliburton lately, Indiana has been able to win games. A big reason why has been their bench. T.J. McConnell has led the unit extremely well. His ability to create his own shot and create for others is why the bench feels so connected all of the time.

The Pacers' bench continues to win them games

Even though the Pacers have struggled a lot since the All-Star break, it could have been worse without the performance of the bench guys. Besides McConnell, both backup bigs have been an integral part of the Pacers' success at various times in the year.

Jalen Smith has been a great three-point shooter when he's been healthy. He was really hot early in the year before it fell off a bit. He's still shooting it at 43% which is by far the highest rate of his career. He's the perfect guy to backup Myles Turner because he does a lot of the same things.

When Smith hasn't been healthy, Isaiah Jackson has stepped up. Wednesday night against the Pistons was the perfect example. He came in and had 13 points and 11 rebounds after finding out that day he was going to play. He's always ready to play even though he isn't in the rotation every night.

Ben Sheppard has started to get some confidence too. Once he starts to get really aggressive on offense, he'll be a second shot-creator off the bench, which is something the Pacers lack right now. I could see him eventually starting in a year or two as well.

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The bench needs to keep up their stellar play as the season winds down. It might be what saves them in a playoff or play-in game.