The Indiana Pacers utilized a consistent 10-man rotation during the lockout-shortened season last year, which helped keep players fresh (well, as much as possible anyway) and minimize the wear and tear on veterans David West and Danny Granger and their veteran knees.
Coach Frank Vogel prefers using a deeper rotation for a team without a major superstar that must rely on the strength of the team to succeed. More opportunities to play naturally keeps more players engaged and forced to prepare to play even if they are not part of the regular rotation.
Vogel addressed his plans to continue using his depth but also expects to adjust the way he doles out those minutes.
"I do expect to play a 10-man rotation," Vogel said. "I think it's good for the chemistry of the team. Good for the health of the team in order to keep guys minutes down."
But unless there are injury issues, the regular schedule with more rest built in will allow certain players to play more minutes.
"There were a number of positions last year that we sort of split down the middle, halfway with maybe a 28/20 split of the minutes or a 24/20 split of the minutes," Vogel said about last season's playing rotation. "I think this team is going to be more of a starter-owned team, with all of the starters averaging over 30 minutes and the bench guys averaging in the teens. But I definitely plan to take advantage of our depth."
So now the questions left to be answered in camp revolve around just which players will fill out that playing rotation. I still think Vogel will be judicious with David West's minutes and even Danny Granger's PT early in the season.
In the playoffs it became apparent that keeping Paul George or Granger on the floor with the various second-unit lineups was helpful to maintain an offensive threat. That may be the case this year, as well although more to help on the defensive end than the offensive end.
Regardless, the Pacers have enough options and flexibility, with several players capable of playing multiple positions, to keep the pressure on opponents for a full 48 minutes.