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Indiana Pacers bolster roster with offseason remodeling of bench

From NBA media reports

In a free-agent summer that once again has seen superstar talent (LeBron James) migrate from the Eastern to the Western Conference, the race to the top of the standings won’t necessarily come from the number of stars you can gather in one spot. Perhaps it will come in the form of the team capable of building the most quality depth on a roster.

And if that is indeed the case, the Indiana Pacers have to like their chances of moving up on the food chain in the now LeBron-less East. Because as J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star suggests, no team in the conference heads into this season with a more potent or complete bench crew than the Pacers:

Now that LeBron James has vacated the East and the Pacers have quietly changed their identity, where should their bench rank (on paper, of course)

It’s not their starters — they’re expected to roll out the same starting five, or close to it — that have changed.

The 48-win team and No. 5 seed hopes their reserves can get them over the hump.

Backcourt: Tyreke Evans, Cory Joseph, Edmond Sumner, Aaron Holiday

Frontcourt: Domantas Sabonis, Kyle O’Quinn, Alize Johnson, Ike Anigbogu, T.J. Leaf, Doug McDermott

The skinny: About three of these players could start on any given night as the Joseph-Evans combo should prove more productive than last season’s Joseph-Lance Stephenson pairing. Sabonis and O’Quinn are great options in the post for the dirty work while Sumner is a darkhorse. When he’s fully healthy, his ability at 6-5 to play both guard positions coupled with his aggressive nature are worthy of note. Unlike most on this list, their ceiling won’t be contingent on the play of rookies (Holiday, Johnson). Those are for later.

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