The Indiana Pacers have won four-straight games after defeating their former head coach at Orlando 98-88. They are now 26-22 and sit as the sixth-best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Pacers started out the year with a starting five of Paul George, Myles Turner, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Monta Ellis. The lineup didn’t change much the first two months, but Ellis went down with an injury. Glenn Robinson III took over his spot in the starting rotation and flourished in that role.
The Pacers eventually went on a losing skid with Robinson in the starting five, so Indiana turned to C.J. Miles. He has done well in the past when leaned on to start games. He has done the job during their winning streak.
Do the Pacers finally have a starting lineup set in stone going forward?
I would lean negatively and say they still don’t have a surefire starting five. Ellis appeared to have a stranglehold on his spot before getting injured. The Pacers realized that the newly-acquired Teague needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective. Robinson and Miles both don’t need the ball as much as Ellis, and are better defenders.
I believe the Pacers need to make a move before the trade deadline and try to move Ellis for a player that would be a better fit for their team. Ellis is due $11+ million next season and has a player-option for the same amount the following year that he will most likely exercise with open arms. It could be a little tricky to get something usable in return unless a team is in desperate need for a playmaker and has the cap space.
I believe the shooting guard spot in Indiana’s starting lineup will be a fluid situation. Miles currently has the hot hand, but the Pacers could even turn to Rodney Stuckey now that he has returned from injury.
It will definitely be a position the Pacers will target this offseason and/or the NBA Draft, if they don’t find a trade partner in a few weeks.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob