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Pacers Links: Playing rotation notes, Wembanyama watch

Plenty of preseason intrigue for Pacers already.

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Indiana Pacers v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

No matter how good they looked in their preseason opener, the Pacers continue their rebuild which certainly looks promising after the first practice game. While the starting unit is where the heavy lifting of the rebuild will be done, the reserve rotation looks to be among the best in the league this year.

Seriously, with rookie Bennedict Mathurin able to play a primary scoring role as part of a group of defensive dogs lead by TJ McConnell which also included Isaiah Jackson, Aaron Nesmith and Terry Taylor, that second unit will be a chore for opponents to deal with this season.

Mathurin could play his way into the starting lineup, but initially it makes sense to give him a lead role with the reserves. Nesmith was the surprise, producing at both ends and showing why Rick Carlisle has been singing his praises from practice and is playing him ahead of Oshae Brissett.

Brissett was the odd man out and it will be interesting to see if he gets an opportunity in Nesmith’s or Taylor’s slot as the preseason continues. But for now, defense is the focus and that second unit showed how they earned their spot in the rotation for the first game.

Now about rebuilding at the top of the rotation. They Pacers have a good start but will need to tweak the lineup while also letting some of the younger payers like Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Smith develop their overall games.

When looking for top end talent, the Pacers couldn’t have timed things better after watching Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson play in Vegas this week. Wembanyama exceeded his ridiculous expectations showing a variety of insane skills at 7’4 with plenty of room to grow stronger.

The Vegas showcase of the top two projected picks in the NBA draft next summer showed just how far the player development and assessment has come. Particularly with foreign phenoms. We were able to see Wembanyama playing under the bright lights on a good team against strong competition.

It wasn’t that long ago that prospects like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Yi Jianlian showed off their skills for NBA scouts with footage of them dribbling around chairs in a dimly lit gym. Giannis certainly proved to be better than the chair...Jianlian? Not so much.

Regardless, the talent in this draft which could see the Pacers making three first round picks in projected to have the strongest top end in quite some time, but also depth further down the draft board.

So, yeah, enjoy culture the Pacers are building and the talent they are developing on the roster. Just don’t sweat the losses too much.

Check out the links:

Game Preview: Pacers at Knicks (Preseason) |

Game Rewind: Pacers 122, Hornets 97 (Preseason) |

Victor Wembanyama solidifies himself as the favorite to go No. 1 in the 2023 NBA draft

Victor Wembanyama leaves incredible impression, anticipation after 2-game taste in Las Vegas |

Pacers vs Hornets: Indiana wins preseason opener behind Turner, Jackson

Indiana Pacers win first preseason game against Charlotte Hornets - Sports Illustrated Indiana Pacers news, analysis and more

Victor Wembanyama vs Scoot Henderson glimpse into the future for building teams like Indiana Pacers - Sports Illustrated Indiana Pacers news, analysis and more

Gainbridge Fieldhouse: New art tells history of Hoosier basketball

Indiana Pacers 2022 Win Total Odds and Futures Betting Insights

Lakers fans begging for Pacers trade during preseason (for a new reason)

Aaron Nesmith shines in his preseason debut for the Indiana Pacers - Sports Illustrated Indiana Pacers news, analysis and more

Indiana Pacers: 3 biggest takeaways from win over the Charlotte Hornets