These Indiana Pacers must step up in Bennedict Mathurin's absence

The Indiana Pacers are going to be without one of their top bench scorers for a while. Here's who they need to step up while Bennedict Mathurin is out.
Mar 1, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) and forward Obi
Mar 1, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) and forward Obi / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers still have the highest-scoring bench unit in the NBA. They score just over 47 points per game. A big part of that scoring punch has been Bennedict Mathurin. He averages 14.5 points per game and is one of the few shot creators the Pacers have on the bench.

Now he's out for at least the next three games with a right shoulder sprain. They already missed in him the loss against Minnesota. He has improved the quickness at which he makes decisions which was one of the biggest things he had an issue with as a rookie last year.

With him gone, the bench loses a lot of luster. That doesn't mean that the bench can't still score though. The whole unit can put it in the bucket. Without Mathurin, a few players on the bench are going to have to step up and make even bigger contributions.

The Indiana Pacers need bigger contributions from these bench players

Obi Toppin is someone who needs to step up. There have been some games in which he has been the difference with his scoring. He's become a much better three-point shooter, shooting it at 40% this year. He's taking about three a game. Toppin might need to increase that number over the next week.

The same can be said for Jalen Smith. Smith shot the ball at an incredible clip from deep earlier this season. He's still shooting it at about 45% and is averaging just over 10 points per game. The key for him is staying healthy. He's been fighting back issues and it has thrown him out of his rhythm. Indiana needs him on the court and needs him to produce.

Ben Sheppard is a guy who has been seeing more playing time over the last month or so. His defense has made him valuable to play in short spurts. Now that he's hitting his threes, he becomes a guy who can give you a solid 20 minutes off the bench. In his last ten games, he's shooting a blistering 58.6% from deep.

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If the Pacers can get more contributions from these guys off the bench, they should be able to weather the loss of Mathurin for a while. To be the best version of themselves, they'll still need Mathurin to be that premier bench scorer.