The drama of the Domantas Sabonis contract issue has been resolved and it’s time for the Pacers to focus on the court. The season tips off tomorrow night against the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The team will have four newcomers to the starting lineup with Myles Turner being the only remaining starter from last year’s team. The rest of the lineup will be filled out by Malcom Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, TJ Warren and Sabonis who will be in the starting lineup rather than coming off the bench like he has in the past two seasons with the Pacers.
The bench will look a little different this year as well; Aaron Holiday is likely to see more minutes than he did in his rookie season, but he may be splitting a lot of that time with TJ McConnell who came over in free agency from the Philadelphia 76ers. Jeremy Lamb will be in the starting lineup to start the season due to Victor Oladipo’s injury, but once Oladipo returns, Lamb will likely be the one coming off the bench at the shooting guard position. Until then, Edmond Sumner, who played most of last season in the G-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and Justin Holiday will get those minutes as the backup shooting guard. Really the only consistent from last year’s bench is Doug McDermott, he’ll see similar minutes to what he got last year as the small forward off the bench. TJ Leaf will be relied on more this year as the power forward off the bench and rookie center Goga Bitadze has the potential to see a lot of minutes as the backup center.
The Pacers looked strong in the preseason going 3-1. They won two games in India against the Sacramento Kings. Those games were important to build chemistry between these new guys. Traveling together will always make a team bond stronger and those games against the Kings were really competitive for preseason games. The Pacers came back home for their final two games of the preseason. They beat the Bulls and lost a close game against Minnesota where the Pacers’ starters didn’t play extended minutes. 5 of the Pacers’ first 6 games are against divisional opponents. They play Detroit twice, Cleveland twice, Chicago once and have the new look Brooklyn Nets in the middle. Division games are always important ones and will test the chemistry of this Pacers team right from the start.