Glenn Robinson III’s potential breakout campaign will be delayed by two months due to a “severely sprained” ankle, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The injury was reportedly suffered when the athletic wing attacked the basket and landed awkwardly on his left leg.
Following an offseason in which he prepared for the ample opportunity before him by practicing attacking more out of ball screens, making plays off the dribble, and finishing through contact, Robinson III was widely expected to compete for minutes at small forward with newcomer Bojan Bogdanovic.
“He’s athletic, obviously,” Kevin Pritchard said at media day of the 23-year-old’s readiness to make a leap this season. “But, he’s got to use that athleticism all the time, and he’s got to be determined. Every single game Glenn gets in the game, he’s got to impose his will. Because sometimes he can be too nice of a guy. Glenn is just kind of a nice guy, but I think he’s really determined to show he can exist in this league.”
The still developing stop-release shot above 40 percent on catch and shoot threes last season, and the Pacers posted an impressive plus-7.8 net rating in the 376 minutes that he played with Jeff Teague, Paul George, Thaddeus Young, and Myles Turner, a mark that ranked fifth in the league last season among lineups that played at least 300 minutes.
Without much existing depth at swingman, the Pacers will either have to shift Lance Stephenson from reserve guard to backup wing or take a closer look at either Alex Poythress or Ben Moore.
Poythress, who the Pacers already signed to a two-way contract, played 46 games for Fort Wayne last season, earning an All-Star spot and averaging 18.5 points on 52.7 percent shooting to go along with 7.1 rebounds. Notably, the 6-foot-7 forward also knocked down slightly better than 40 percent of his shots from behind the arc, albeit on less than 100 total attempts. Still, that mark represents a considerable improvement over the 30 percent clip he registered during his final season at the University of Kentucky.
Moore, on the other hand, only attempted five total threes over the entirety of his four-year collegiate career, but his passing ability and stout defense could perhaps facilitate switch-everything lineups and thereby generate pace in small bursts.
“He's really impressed everybody in this gym,” Pritchard recently told reporters of Moore. “We think he can be an NBA player, NBA defender first and then if he can improve his shooting he can be a Bruce Bowen-type.”
Opting, instead, for an in-house replacement would most likely temporarily halt the Point Lance experiment, thus necessitating that Joe Young be ready to share reserve guard duties with Cory Joseph.
Young’s 6-foot-2 frame and loose handle sometimes makes it a challenge for him to get where he wants to go when his speed fails him. Granted, moving him off-ball would move him off making decisions, but he only shot 21.7 percent from three last season (0.7 attempts per game).
There’s an argument to be made that the distance doesn’t bother him as much as his lack of regular touches, since he shot 63.6 percent (3.7 attempts) during his three-game stint with the Mad Ants as a rookie. Nevertheless, it’s debatable whether the Pacers will find enough shots for him, as a presumably fifth-option, to find his in-game rhythm on a consistent basis.
His smaller stature would theoretically also probably put a hold on the bench’s ability to switch on the perimeter.
All of which is to say that the absence of the player Glenn Robinson III already was last season will be felt, sidelining the player he may have started to become —- on a roster already short on exciting picks and prospects — really smarts.