If people thought that the Indiana Pacers were lacking superstars before, their current roster of healthy players may look like complete strangers to most of the NBA. Although Indiana’s regular starting lineup is peppered with players who have made appearances in NBA All-Star games, they seem to still be one of the most unassuming rosters in the league. With no less than four major players dealing with various injuries, the Indiana Pacers are forced to put just about every healthy body they have on the court.
The Pacers now face a four-game Western Conference road trip, with question marks abound when it comes to the healthy status of George Hill, Lance Stephenson, David West, and Danny Granger. In their absence, we are seeing players like Tyler Hansbrough, Ben Hansbrough, Gerald Green, and rookie Orlando Johnson getting major minutes for the Pacers. Seeing these young players get on the court is interesting, but will not help propel Indiana to anywhere good in the NBA Playoffs.
Tyler Hansbrough has scored in double figures in each of the last five games, starting for David West. Johnson scored a career-high 15 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Even though the Pacers found themselves with a very short bench, they still got up to a 28-point lead against Atlanta. That lead shrunk down to four points in the fourth quarter, and the Pacers barely escaped with their fourth win in the last five games. Still, four of their next five games will be on the road, and the inexperience of youth is not an excuse for sloppy play.