When thinking of the Indiana Pacers, most people think of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, or even Larry Bird. We can even add Danny Granger to this list. A lot of success this season can be contributed to those figures listed above. However, a big piece of the puzzle is still missing from the list.
To describe our missing piece, it would be more beneficial to give credit them as a unit rather than individually. The Indiana Pacer puzzle is not established without mentioning the bench play so far this season.
It was a known fact that one of the priorities for the Pacers in this past offseason would be upgrading their bench. Last season, their bench consisted of Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Sam Young, and Ian Mahnimi. This is no shot at these guys from last year. They all fit in perfectly with Indiana and the tough mentality they display night in and night out. If anything, these players were important due to the heart they put out.
However, the bench last year was not one in which one could expect real offensive numbers to be put up. Now fast forward the clock up until now. The Indiana Pacers obtained a revamped bench and put together one of the most impressive benches in the league. The bench consists of Luis Scola, Danny Granger, Ian Mahinmi, and C.J. Watson.
All these players have great experience and could be potential starters on other teams around the league, but Luis Scola was the biggest pickup for the Pacers this offseason and has contributed in ways bigger than the former bench guys could. Scola was a starter in Houston for the Rockets as he was one of their go to players. He shoots the ball well from 15 feet and works hard.
Everyone knows the story of Danny Granger. Him coming back to lineup can provide that offensive spark off the bench for the Pacers. Ian Mahinmi is a great backup center and C.J. Watson can fill the scoresheet with his ability to shoot the ball.
One of the best displays of the Indiana bench would have to be over this past week when the Pacers faced off with the Miami Heat. The Pacers bench extended a lead and gave Coach Frank Vogel the confidence to rest his starters and let the bench players continue to compete.
Having a bench is one of the most important factors in the NBA when it comes to winning. This improvement to their bench took the possibility of the Pacers making the playoffs to a legit title contender. Every night will not be the best night for starters. The reserves have the job of picking up their teammates.
Without the bench, the Pacers would not be 21-5. The Pacers bench allows for them to be more flexible with the minutes involving the starters. Allowing their bench to play a major part during the regular season can pay dividends down the road in the playoffs. Saving legs and avoiding injuries are always two of the biggest story lines to consider once the months April and May come up.
One of the greatest strengths of the Pacers is their ability to dominate the paint with their size. With veterans such as David West and 7’2 big center Roy Hibbert, they can use all the help they use. This bench will allow these veterans and starters to get more rest and ultimately cut down their minutes so that they are ready when they are most needed.
With the addition of Danny Grange in the lineup, look for the Indiana Pacers to make a lot of noise in these upcoming playoffs.
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