Don’t expect those answers tonight, though since preseason games rest in the sweet spot between Summer League and regular season action, where you can nod approvingly at any “nice to see” plays, rotations or efforts on the floor, while also wincing, but brushing off any problem spots during the game.
But the game within the game, is finding those opportunities to overreact when exposed to the potential answers Rick Carlisle runs out on the floor in his first game. Here are a few overreaction opportunities to pay attention to for the Pacers at MSG:
- What will the playing rotation look like? Assuming the remaining healthy starters play at least one full rotation, we will then see who fills the reserve group. Most preseason games have 12- 15 players see action by the end of the game, so this should at least give us an idea what Rick Carlisle’s first impression is of the options on the roster.
- How will Jeremy Lamb look in the starting lineup? Lamb and Justin Holiday are expected to start and from practice reports, that first unit has played quite well together. After an injury ravaged season, Lamb seemed like an odd man out of the wing rotation and first man in for any trade filler, but he’s a veteran scorer who may just be healthy enough to play a meaningful role for the Pacers. If not, this valuable time in preseason could help Lamb’s value on the trade market.
- Domas Sabonis and Myles Turner, together, again. You know the drill
- Rookies! Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson have earned rave reviews for their efforts so far in Indy. What role will they have in the rotation. With TJ Warren and Chris LeVert both out, the two rooks should have more space in the rotation to get opportunities to show what they can contribute right away, while still developing.
- Reserve power forward options. Oshae Brissett seized his opportunity with the Pacers last season and looked like a seasoned pro during Summer League. As a versatile wing who can play and more importantly guard the 4 spot, we know what he can do. Torrey Craig is a similar player if not a bit more of a wing, but someone signed in the offseason to offset the expected slow return of TJ Warren. It sounds like Craig will be the first option off the bench, but we will SEE tonight if that is so.
- Back half of the roster. There are some roster battles going on and who among the last seven players on the roster get some run tonight may be worthy of overreaction. With Edmond Sumner out there is another spot to fill. Kelan Martin seemed to be the de facto final roster spot to begin camp, but with a few guards in the mix and the need for an emergency point guard, players like Duane Washington Jr. and Keifer Sykes may get an extra look.
These are just a few topics to ponder as preseason tips off. There are plenty more (I didn’t even mention Goga!), so let me know in the comments what you are interested in seeing play out during preseason.