The Indiana Pacers are set to open their 2019-20 NBA season against the Detroit Pistons and the fans are about to get the first real look at their team. After a major offseason of change, the Pacers feel that they are in a great spot to contend in the Eastern Conference.
Victor Oladipo will not be playing for the Pacers to start the season and will likely be out until sometime in December or January as he rehabs from a ruptured quad. In the meantime, the Pacers believe that Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, and Jeremy Lamb can make up for his absence in the back-court.
Domantas Sabonis just received a new long-term contract from Indiana and is set to start alongside Myles Turner in the front-court. There are a lot of things to keep an eye on tonight for the Pacers.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the three main things that fans should be paying attention to in tonight’s game.
3. Is Malcolm Brogdon the Point Guard The Pacers Have Been Missing?
Indiana went out and spent big money on point guard Malcolm Brogdon this offseason. They also gave up picks to acquire him via a sign-and-trade within their division with the Milwaukee Bucks. Brogdon could very well be the point guard that the Pacers have been needing over the past few years.
Brogdon is known for his ability as a spot-up shooter, but he will be given a much bigger opportunity in Indiana. Gone are the days where he would play off-ball in Milwaukee alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. Now, Brogdon will be asked to run the offense and make plays for himself and teammates.
2. Can the Bench Unit Produce?
The bench has always been a question for the Pacers, but Domantas Sabonis is no longer going to be the go-to option off the bench. Indiana will be relying on players like Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, T.J. Leaf, and Goga Bitadze. Tonight will be a good test for the second unit.
Indiana is confident that their starters will be just fine. While that may be the case, the Pacers need production from their bench. Hopefully, these players respond well in the first game of the season.
Leaf has been rumored to have taken a big leap forward this offseason and the Pacers are extremely high on Holiday. Indiana could also give Justin Holiday a long look off the bench. Their success this season will have a lot to do with how their bench comes together.
1. Does the Sabons-Turner Front-Court Work?
Granted, what we see tonight is not going to mean that the front-court pairing will work or not. But, that being said, the Pacers are hoping to see a strong start from Sabonis and Turner.
Offensively, everything should go smoothly with Turner and Sabonis both being able to score the ball. On the other end of the court is where the questions are swirling. Sabonis is playing power forward and has had some deficiencies in the past.
Kevin Pritchard and Nate McMillan are banking on their two young big men to work well together and it will be something to keep an eye on tonight and throughout the rest of the season.