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INDIANAPOLIS – Every offseason, Kevin Pritchard is talking himself into the same old narrative.
The bench has been strengthened.
It’s no longer going to be a weakness.
This is the year the second unit really helps us out.
Pritchard admits he’s doing the same thing this offseason.
But this time, Pritchard might really be onto something given how the Pacers’ second unit is shaping up in 2018-19.
The starting lineup for Indiana is returning this winter.
So, currently, the Pacers’ bench looks like this:
PF-T.J. Leaf/Kyle O’Quinn
The Evans’ addition was massive for giving the bench a true lead guard and a necessary scoring/creating catalyst.
“It really strengthens our second unit,” Nate McMillan said of signing Evans and slotting him in as the 6th man.
Evans’ ability to distribute the ball is something that Pritchard can’t wait to see with Sabonis.
“One of the things I’m excited to see is Domas and Tyreke in dribble handoffs, toss game, pick and roll, side pick and roll, pick/re-pick, because they both know how to play and Domas is becoming a really good playmaker,” Pritchard says. “You put those two guys in pick and rolls and get some spread and give those guys some lanes, that’s going to be tough to defend.”
In Joseph, you have a steady defender who makes the right play on the offensive end of the floor. If the Pacers want to go even deeper at point guard, they could throw Aaron Holiday into the rotation.
McDermott spreads the floor as one of the NBA’s best catch and shoot weapons.
The 4-position is really the only question for the Pacers.
Is T.J. Leaf needed for his shooting prowess, even though he lacks in areas like defending/rebounding?
Or will the Pacers turn to the efficient Kyle O’Quinn, who will shrink the floor and limit driving lanes for Evans?
That’s the major question for a group of reserves that has to be viewed as one of the better benches in the Eastern Conference, if not all of the NBA.