The Indiana Pacers helped usher in the 2013 NBA preseason this past Saturday as they faced off with the Chicago Bulls. The biggest story of the matchup was obviously the return of Derrick Rose, but, for the Pacers, it was also about the return of Danny Granger to action and about seeing their improved roster on the floor together for the first time.
The chief concern that the Pacers addressed this off-season was improving their bench, which was a resounding weakness of this team last season. Adding Luis Scola via trade, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson via free agency, and Solomon Hill through the draft, as well as the return of Granger, were all moves that make this Indiana bench unit much more dangerous.
In the preseason opener, though, the bench unit left something to be desired. The five key bench players that I mentioned combined for only 20 points on just 7-29 shooting from the floor. When the Pacers built this new and improved bench, that small amount of production is certainly not the type of production that they envisioned.
After one preseason game, though, I don’t think there is any reason to be even remotely concerned about the Pacers’ bench. This bench unit is still developing a rapport with one another and still trying to pick up a new system under Frank Vogel. Among that, there’s rust involved with all of these players, especially Granger, who hasn’t played at full-strength in over a year.
This Pacers team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and, though the East is improved this season, they have the opportunity to make it back there. If they’re going to do so, their improved bench is going to be a big reason why. Indiana’s bench is going to be effective, despite what their first preseason game may lead you to believe.