I have a few questions for Pacer fans regarding the starting lineup and in particular, just who you think should run alongside T.J. Ford and Danny Granger as the starting shooting guard. I love all of the diverse opinions IC readers offer so I laid out the options after the jump. Let me know your thoughts and contingency plans for doling out playing time on the wing.
At first blush, Brandon Rush appears to be the obvious answer. He played well in that role at the end of last season and if he's the shooting guard of the future, then the future is now. If he can't show growth in that role this year and continue the development then we need to know. As an older second-year player he needs to start and show he can step up his game consistently. What do you expect from Rush this year? Are you fine dealing with growing pains this year with an eye toward the future or are you only focused on results this year?
Then there's the case for starting Dahntay Jones. Mike Wells makes a strong case which for Jones starting to set the tone defensively and be able to get into the Dwyane Wades and Kobe Bryants of the world while protecting Brandon Rush from early foul trouble. Also, Rush off the bench could help the second unit's offensive output. Would you like to see Jones play the same role he did in Denver, by starting and then giving way to a more offensive-minded player off the bench? If Jones doesn't start and Mike Dunleavy returns, will there be many minutes for Jones off the bench? Should the Pacers include 10 players in their rotation?
Finally, the wild card in this discussion is Mike Dunleavy. Personally, I love the versatility Dunleavy could bring off the bench and made the case for him to come off the bench last year before the extent of his injury was known. Also, regardless of when Dun returns, it will take him some time before he'll be ready to play at full throttle for 30-plus minutes. When he is ready, though, should he start? Would you worry about Dun and Granger struggling defensively? Would Dun be better suited in a utility role off the bench including backing up Granger? Who would be a better fit with Dun on the second unit - Rush or Dahntay?
Jim O'Brien has some options at the position and much to his delight the quest for minutes should provide a competitive environment in preseason practices which will make everybody on the team better.