Indiana Pacers: Predicting the Final 15-Man Roster
Indiana Pacers' 15-man Roster In 2013-14?
The Indiana Pacers opened training camp on September 28 with two available roster spots and four players trying to fill them. They have 11 players signed to guaranteed contracts and two others who we know will make the final roster, but who will earn the two remaining spots?
Rasual Butler, Ron Howard and Darnell Jackson all signed non-guaranteed contract before the beginning of training camp and Hilton Armstrong was added to the mix once camp was underway. These four players will be working over the next month to try and secure their spot among one of the league’s best teams.
Butler played for the Pacers’ Orlando Summer League team, so it would be hard to say he didn’t have an upper hand heading into training camp and preseason. Howard has played for the Pacers’ D-League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants for a total of six seasons, but has no NBA experience. Jackson on the other hand, has three years of NBA experience on three different teams, and has been out of the league since 2011. And then there is Hilton Armstrong, who was drafted in 2006, played sparingly for five teams and has been out of the league since 2011.
If you had asked me before training camp began, I would have given the edge to Butler and Howard. The Pacers are well versed in these two players and know their game better than Jackson and Armstrong. But Armstrong is the only power forward/center camp invitee, and it could be hard for the Pacers to pass up on using him for extra depth.
Who do you think is going to make the final 15-man roster? First, let’s see who I think will be dressed in the blue and gold on opening night.
PG - George Hill
George Hill is under contract until 2017 as the starting point guard for the Pacers. Unless something happens, it's a safe bet he will be part of the 15-man roster.
PG - C.J. Watson
C.J. Watson was picked up in the offseason to replace D.J. Augustin as the backup point guard. He is a shoo-in to make the 15-man roster.
PG - Donald Sloan
Donald Sloan was another free agency pickup. Third-string point guard is where Sloan will reside this season, which means he will only see the court during garbage time. He doesn't have a guaranteed contract, but it would be tough to see the Pacers drop him from the 15-man roster after signing him so early, unless an injury occurs at another position.
SG/SF Danny Granger
Danny Granger is returning from knee surgery that held him to only five games during the regular season last year. He will likely be in the starting lineup, so he is a lock for the 15-man roster.
SG/PG - Lance Stephenson
Lance Stephenson was thrown into the starting lineup last year and didn't disappoint. He returns for his fourth season with the Pacers and the last one under contract. He'll likely start off as the team's sixth man, which means his spot among the 15-man roster is safe.
SG - Orlando Johnson
Orlando Johnson enters his second NBA season with a guaranteed contract and should see some playing time this year, but probably not as much as last season. He will still be a lock to make the 15-man roster though.
SG/SF - Paul George
Paul George is the franchise player. Enough said. He's a lock for the next six seasons.
SF - Chris Copeland
Chris Copeland was the biggest free agent signing by the Pacers, if you don't count David West. Copeland earned himself a nice two-year deal and will play mainly backup small forward with some stretch-four mixed in. He's a lock for the 15-man roster.
SG/SF - Solomon Hill
Solomon Hill was the Pacers' first-round draft pick over the summer. It remains to be seen what kind of role he will play, but given he is a rookie, there won't be many minutes passed his way. That being said, he is still under contract and part of the 15-man roster.
SG/SF - Rasual Butler
Rasual Butler is our first player who is a toss up on whether they will make the 15-man roster or not. He adds depth and leadership to a position that is young and thin. Butler brings previous NBA experience that no other training camp invitee can match, which is why he will make the final 15-man roster.
PF - David West
The Pacers retained David West in the offseason by signing him to a new three-year, $36-million contract. West is the heart and soul of this Pacers team and he is on the 15-man roster easily.
PF - Luis Scola
Luis Scola was brought over to the Pacers in a trade with the Phoenix Suns for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, and the Pacers' 2014 first round pick. It's hard to argue the Suns got exact value for Scola, but he will be the backup power forward the Pacers have needed for the past couple seasons. Scola's only fully guaranteed this season, but he is a lock for the 15-man roster.
C - Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert is the starting center and isn't going anywhere. Mark him down as a definite to make the 15-man roster.
C - Ian Mahinmi
Ian Mahinmi will backup Roy Hibbert once again this year. He played pretty well in his first season with the Pacers last year and is locked up for the next three seasons, so expect him to be a lock for the 15-man roster in each of those seasons.
PF/C - Hilton Armstrong
Hilton Armstrong is another training camp invitee who has a shot at making the 15-man roster. He was a late addition, but he is the only player that can play power forward and center. The Pacers aren't necessarily thin at those positions, but having an additional backup just in case isn't a bad idea. Look for Armstrong to make the 15-man roster after the preseason.