If you want to get a sense of how unready players on the Indiana Pacers are for a run/stint/smell of the playoffs, just take a look at Marquis Daniels and his playing time with the Boston Celtics.
After averaging more than 31 minutes per game last season for the blue and gold, Daniels has been an overall disappointment for the Celtics after they swiped him away from the Pacers in the offseason for less money, more winning and, presumably, similar playing time. In the Celts' opening-round series with the Heat, Daniels played a total of only six minutes as he fought for court time behind Tony Allen and Michael Finley.
Boston, which dropped Game 1 against the Cavaliers on Saturday, entered the series hoping to utilize Daniels more often as a defensive stop-gap against LeBron James. In other words, he's another body that should capably act as a fouling mechanism. But he only saw two minutes on the court Saturday, which is probably a good sign of how "utilized" he's going to be in this series. Daniels is still not 100 percent healed from the thumb injury that kept him sidelined for three months this season, and he's trying hard to embrace his cheerleading role in the playoffs.
"It's still not definite that my time is here,'' Daniels told the Boston Globe. "But you just have to stay upbeat and just be a professional about it, whether if it's Tony or Mike [Finley] or Ray or Paul or whoever. You just have to try to be there for the team.''
So does averaging 31 mpg for the Pacers really translate to a 12th man role on a playoff-ready team? Maybe Daniels isn't a good indication because of injuries or laziness, but it is a reminder of how many the Pacers need upgrades at every position before we ever see a first-round matchup with another team again.