Which players on the Pacers roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Tyrese Haliburton
SG Bennedict Mathurin
SF Chris Duarte
PF Jalen Smith
C Myles Turner
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
Myles Turner is the starting center as of now, but he’s also likely to be traded at some point as the team fully commits to their rebuild. That will open up that spot for a number of contenders. The team’s recent draft picks Goga Bitadze and Isaiah Jackson would likely get the first look, as the team needs to figure out which of their young players will be part of their core going forward. If neither of those players are ready just yet, the team can always turn to veteran Daniel Theis as a stopgap solution.
Buddy Hield is the other veteran who may be on the way out the door soon. Hield would be the first man off the bench as long as he’s on the roster, but if he’s gone don’t be surprised to see Aaron Nesmith slide into that role. Nesmith has been inconsistent so far, but there have been stretches where he has played well and he can provide the same type of long-range shooting that Hield does. If Nesmith falters, vets Terry Taylor and Oshae Brissett could work their way into the picture.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Pacers are rebuilding but they do feel like they have their backcourt of the future in place in Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin. The two guards complement each other well and their size will present problems for opponents. Mathurin will be handed the keys right off the bat and will have plenty of scoring opportunities; he’ll have to be diligent not to develop bad habits as the team racks up losses.
Jalen Smith took advantage of his opportunity with the Pacers after being inexplicably ignored for two years by the Suns team that drafted hm, averaging 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game with an effective field goal percentage of 60.3% in just 24.7 minutes per game over 22 games. With a full training camp under his belt and the opportunity to have more plays run through him, Smith could really flourish this year as his role continues to expand.