All the talk this off season was how the Indiana Pacers needed to improve their bench, and the front office went to work to make sure that happened. Sure, two games in is way too hard to tell exactly what this bench is all about. But there are some observations I can make about the second unit. To me, the biggest thing this bench can do is maintain. The Pacers aren’t going to ask second unit guys to be killers out there and do more than what should be expected. Expected of them is to hold a lead or build upon a lead is my thinking. If the Pacers are down, it would be great to see some of those second unit guys lead the way to get the game tied or something along those lines. I think as well that if Danny Granger is going to be out for the first three weeks, it would make sense to have him come off the bench for the rest of the season whenever he comes back. I think if he’s close to himself, that would be a great benefit to the bench.
I’ve also noticed that Orlando Johnson seems to be ready to embrace the extended playing time. You look at the first game of the season, and he was the first guy off the bench. That move actually caught me by surprise. I thought with Granger being back, his minutes would be the one to hurt the most. But now with Granger out, he could be the one to most benefit. He looked to be much more comfortable out there in his second season. He had a great looking three pointer in just the short minutes he played. But he also made a nice pass to get someone an easy basket at the rim. It’s just a couple of things he did well, but in fifteen minutes of play, that’s just enough to show that he can be a contributor for this team. Even when Granger comes back, Johnson might be out there playing alongside with him on the second unit.
Another thing that has come up has been the non play of Chris Copeland. It seems like no one has any answers on why he hasn’t played. I guess the Pacers are just waiting for that best match up to use him. Maybe he’s just not ready to play out there with the team, which I do find a hard time thinking since he’s had the whole off season and preseason to work on his game with the team. But there has to be some reasoning for it, and if we don’t see him playing anytime soon, you’ll have to wonder why the Pacers even made the move for him.
Just some thoughts on what this second unit is doing right now. I think we’ll have to wait on the full assessment once Danny Granger plays or even a few weeks into this season. But right now, I think that the bench looks to be playing fine in the time’s they’re out there. I actually like Coach Vogel’s method of playing a starter out there at all times, and just surrounding that player with four bench guys. I think it’s all about what the starters do for the Pacers anyways. But those bench guys have to come in and do their own parts at certain times of the game.