As our own Caitlin Cooper hit upon yesterday, this leaves a significant hole in the Pacers frontcourt, rebounding, playmaking, and playoff viability. There are a lot of directions Nate McMillan and co. can go in regards to trying to fill Sabonis’ unfillable void; are there any options that would be more stitches and less band-aid?
The most likely option to replace Sabonis in the starting lineup is the high-energy wing. Sampson already got the nod in the first scrimmage and had his number called all three games that Domas missed during the regular season. He also filled in at the four in the games Myles Turner missed as Sabonis was bumped to the five.
Moving T.J. to start at the four opens up a host of opportunities for the offense, but also some question marks on defense and the glass.I recently wrote about T.J.’s improvement on the defensive end, and while I’m still confident in his ability, it’d be difficult for him to match-up with true fours. Ben Simmons is now (finally) playing the four, and has a significant size up on T.J. The size of Milwaukee will be extremely difficult to contend with.
I personally like the idea of a Turner/Warren/Brogdon/Oladipo/A Holiday starting lineup. (This is assuming Oladipo continues to play). It's not the best of all possible worlds, but under the circumstances it looks like the best of the options to me. There's definitely a lot of offensive firepower there to make up for some of the concessions on defense and rebounding you get with moving Warren to the 4. I think it's a better option than starting Jakarr Sampson, although that's still an option if we end up playing a team with a bigger lineup.