Will Frank Vogel alter his starting lineup against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night?
I was stunned we didn't see a change when the Pacers returned home to play the Clippers on Tuesday with the opponent's lineup boasting an elite point guard but wing players that were a perfect fit for the Pacers to match up against. The most obvious adjustment would be to slide Rodney Stuckey to a more comfortable slot at shooting guard and start either C.J. Watson or Donald Sloan at point guard.
The Pacers carry their second six-game losing streak into Toronto thanks to a nasty stretch of challenging teams and a starting lineup that hasn't been up to the challenge, instead digging early holes which sucks the life out of a team when they can't recover.
After practice on Thursday, Vogel didn't commit to change, but indicated it is on the table. He also shared concerns about not wanting to disrupt the second unit which is playing at a high level.
That's just nuts, but if there is a concern about breaking up the second-unit flow, let Sloan start at the point for a few minutes but then extend the minutes Watson plays with both the starters and reserves.
George Hill ramped up his participation in practice a bit on Thursday so if he returns in the next couple of weeks he can ease into a limited minutes role to start games, as well.
Of course, the bulk of this yakking about the backcourt would be muted if Roy Hibbert and David West played like big-time, front-court players they've displayed at various points in their career. Neither has been part of the solution of late, to say the least, but there certainly is no solution to be found by bringing either off the bench.
With DeMar DeRozan sidelined, the Raptors aren't quite as dynamic on the wings which makes moving Stuckey to the wing an easy fit. If the Pacers aren't able to create a mismatch with Stuckey on smaller point guards and Solomon Hill on a smaller wing, then they are losing the big lineup matchup. They have been getting killed.
A small change should be easy enough to implement and might make a big difference for the Pacers.
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