The Indiana Pacers have been one of the more surprising teams in the NBA this season, going 29-23 in their first 52 games of the season, sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference despite Tyrese Halliburton missing substantial time.
Despite their status as a playoff team, the Pacers made a curious deal on NBA trade deadline day, sending Buddy Hield to the 76ers for Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz, and three second-round picks. It's not necessarily a surprise to see Hield, a player constantly mentioned in trade rumors, finally get dealt, but the return being what it was just doesn't make much sense for a team vying for a playoff spot.
Hield has seen his role in the Pacers rotation fluctuate for much of the year as he's started 28 of his 52 games played, playing a big role off the bench in the other 24. The Pacers did land second-round draft picks, but lost a key contributor and got a pair of players who don't figure to see much action in return. With that being said, let's take a peak at the Pacers projected depth chart now that Buddy Hield is headed to Philadelphia.
Updated Indiana Pacers depth chart after trading Buddy Hield to the Philadelphia 76ers
- PG: Tyrese Halliburton, T.J. McConnell, Isaiah Wong
- SG: Andrew Nembhard, Bennedict Mathurin, Ben Sheppard
- SF: Aaron Nesmith, Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz
- PF: Pascal Siakam, Obi Toppin, Jarace Walker
- C: Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson, Oscar Tshiebwe
With Buddy Hield out of the rotation, the Pacers will likely have one of rookie guard Ben Sheppard or veteran Marcus Morris play in his place. In all likelihood, what the deal really means is more minutes for guys like Nesmith, Nembhard, and Mathurin at the shooting guard and small forward spots.
The Pacers have the depth necessary to still field a solid nine or ten-man rotation without Hield, and it should be exciting to see more shots available for sharpshooters Nesmith and Mathurin. While there's definitely a chance Morris sees consistent playing time, a lot would have to go wrong for the other new acquisition, Furkan Korkmaz, to see regular action.
It should be interesting to see how the Pacers' spacing is affected, if at all, with Hield's departure. He's an elite shooter, obviously, but Indiana has several other high-end shooters for the opposition to worry about.