Maybe playing 83 percent of your roster every game isn't such a good idea, at least that's the word coming out of the Indiana Pacers camp today.
Halfway through the NBA preseason and coach Jim O'Brien is changing his mind about pledging to institute a 10-man playing rotation this season. O'Brien told the Indianapolis Star that he is still tinkering with his roster, and slicing his rotation down to eight might be a good idea. O'Brien said if the Pacers opened the season today, the squad wouldn't have the option to go 10-deep, and that he's hoping to see some players "prove" their spots on the team.
Sounds like O'Brien is trying to get the younger guys on the bench to step it up in practice. It's been apparent in the preseason games that when the Pacers filled the floor with guys from the end of the bench, things weren't clicking. Defensive assignments slacked, the offense stalled regularly and the new players showed they hadn't gelled yet with their new teammates. For myself, the argument always seemed simple. If you're on a good team, then you're bottom four guys are probably better than most and you can institute a bigger rotation. On a lesser team, as in the Pacers in the past three seasons, maybe you need to put the rotation under the guillotine and keep the bench guys in their seats.
But thanks to a timely column by Tim Donahue of Eight Points, Nine Seconds, we get the real stats and stories behind what it means to have an 8-man or 10-guy rotation. It's obviously much more complicated than my dumb take on it. This is a must-read as it highlights how the Pacers fit in with the rest of the league last year, while also showing O'Brien's trends over his career. As we find out, he's never really been a deep-bench guy in the first place.
Check out the jump for more links.
- Mike Wells wrote about Troy Murphy's dedication to improving his game in Wednesday's edition of the Star.
- In a personal favorite topic, Pacers Place takes on the enviable task of linking Pacers players to WWE stars. I might have stuck Travis Diener in the Hornswoggle spot, but the list is solid and a great idea. Sidenote: Monday Night RAW in Conseco "Reggie Miller" Fieldhouse on Monday was fantastic. Not only was the arena rocking a screaming, packed house, but seeing that event live, and for free, for the first time was thrilling.
- Eight Points, Nine Seconds also takes a look at the rookie contract extension deadline set for Oct. 31. Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert will both be ready for the Pacers to activate the team option for another season with the team.
- Stephen Jackson is nearly out of control. The former Pacer is now shouting from the hills that he's on par with Kobe Bryant, while bashing teammates for not having his back. Remember the last time your teammates followed you and your friends?