The Indiana Pacers have made great improvements to their bench unit as they look to dethrone the Miami Heat from atop the Eastern Conference in the 2013-2014 NBA season. The return of Danny Granger, the Luis Scola trade and the signings of C.J. Watson and Chris Copeland all will serve to help the Pacers in the upcoming year.
As Orlando Johnson heads into his second year with the Pacers, though, he doesn’t want to be lost in the shuffle with all of Indiana’s additions to their bench. In a recent interview with Pacers.com, Johnson talked about how he’s improved his body this off-season, worked on his game, and wants to make his presence felt on this Indiana team this year.
Johnson played in 51 games as a rookie last season to varying degrees of success. He finished the season averaging four points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 12.1 minutes per game while shooting only 40 percent from the floor, though he did shoot an impressive 38.3 percent from long-distance.
In the interview, Johnson said that he feels like he’s a more explosive and quicker player heading into this season and has worked on his ball-handling so he can become a more versatile offensive player this season.
Johnson may very well make an impact on this Pacers team in the future, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen this season right now. Indiana already has a crowded wing rotation with Paul George, Granger, Copeland (at times), and Lance Stephenson and throwing Johnson and rookie Solomon Hill into the mix only muddies the waters a bit more.
Unless the Pacers decide to deal Granger at some point before the season or at the deadline, it’s hard to imagine Johnson supplanting any of the guys that are expected to comprise the Pacers’ wing rotation. If he keeps improving his game, though, he should eventually find his way into the rotation and will have the chance to make the impact he says he wants to.