The Pacers have had an unsettled playing rotation since the start of the season with injuries hampering Frank Vogel's efforts to find both a consistent and reliable lineup to play for 48 minutes. After major issues with the starting lineup, adding C.J. Watson at point guard and keeping Solomon Hill at small forward has kept the Pacers competing early in games.
Those two combined with Rodney Stuckey, David West and Roy Hibbert have started the last three games, playing the Trail Blazers to a stalemate early, jumping all over the Lakers for a +20 stint in the first eight minutes and then starting -7 in six minutes against the Clippers. Small sample size, but taken against a nice cross-section of competition with no big holes dug to begin games. That's a good thing when the reserve unit has been solid, as well.
C.J. Miles has found his groove as sixth man with Lavoy Allen, Luis Scola and Donald Sloan all giving the reserve unit steady results capable of competing with any reserve group. Damjan Rudez is getting spot minutes depending on foul trouble or game situations which may call for more offense. For now, Rudez has jumped over Chris Copeland who was tried in nearly every spot in the rotation from starter to reserve but struggled to reach that standard of consistent and reliable. Surely there will be game situations which call for Cope to play, but for now it appears he is not part of the regular rotation.
George Hill is expected to return in the near future which will add another element of change to the rotation since C.J. Watson will slide back to a reserve point guard spot which would move Sloan out of the mix despite his solid play. Assuming no more rotation rattling injuries (or trades) are on the horizon the only other big change may be when Ian Mahinmi is ready to return, which is expected in mid-to-late January. Lavoy Allen was not in the rotation prior to Mahinmi's injury but has more than held his own with the opportunity to play back-up big minutes.
Vogel will have some challenging decisions to make when that time comes, but the way this season has gone thus far, it's hard to tell what the Pacers' roster of available players will look like in 4-6 weeks. But currently, the Pacers appear to have found a mix that works well together. Now they just need to find a few wins.
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