16 points. 49 points. 26 points. See any pattern there? Neither do I, but that’s the points the second unit have put up over the past three games. The pattern I can tell is that those second guys lack some consistency in their play, where the Pacers will need that consistency.
We all agree the group of guys playing the second unit is a much better group of players, but I see those same problems that plagued last year’s bench, consistency. You just don’t know what you’ll get out of these guys.
Luis Scola was dead on from some spots on the floor early on, but now has struggled in those same areas. C.J. Watson was playing solid in the back up role and even had a couple of good starts, but seems to have been very up and down lately.
Danny Granger is a guy that I think is finally getting that bounce back to his game as he’s been attacking more and going to the rim. I think he’s still leery of putting too much pressure on the knees, which is understandable with the way he’s gone down in the past year or so. But if Granger can find that solid footing, maybe the rest of the guys will come together.
I think for these second unit guys to give the Pacers what they need, they need to be around 25-30 points a game. Anything more is great. Anything less could be a problem. Just putting out that same type of effort each time out is key as well.
You want another bit of energy from these guys. Especially when you’re bringing in them to take over for a starter. The starters have been logging a lot of minutes, especially with Coach Vogel’s idea to have a starter out there most of the game. I know Lance Stephenson has been playing a lot with the second unit. Also, Paul George looks to get a bulk of those minutes out there.
Those two guys could get some more wear and tear on their bodies if they have to continue to push the minutes. That could spell trouble come playoff time, so it would be ideal for guys like Granger, Scola, and Watson to pick up some minutes in place of Stephenson and George.
The Andrew Bynum signing could be something that helps out the team in the back up center position if Bynum comes up producing. I know I’ve been very skeptical of it, and I just need to see Andrew Bynum out there playing to get a read on where he’s at. It’s fine to say all the right things, but you have to back up those words as well. I want to trust Larry Bird in this signing, and Bynum will have to back up that trust.
Also, I want to see what Chris Copeland can bring to this team, and at this point, I don’t know if we’ll actually see that. I thought he would be able to come in and provide some scoring, but he’s not had any time out there to show that. I think it’s just tough to find those minutes for him other than garbage time. Come playoff time, he might be used more when the Pacers struggle in finding that scoring touch. But he’ll need to play some before then to at least get in some rhythm.
This bench could be quite a strong point for the Pacers if they get rolling. It just takes a few good games together for these guys to solidify their roles and see how they work together. I’ve enjoyed watching Granger and Scola out there because they have seemed to settled into each other’s game. But it’s going to take all the guys of that second unit as a whole to step up and help the Pacers continue to roll through the East and get to where they want to be, the NBA Finals.