Shootaround: Vogel on Mahinmi, Lawson, Raptors

March 17, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel provides injury updates for Ian Mahinmi and Ty Lawson and looks ahead to Thursday night's game against the Toronto Raptors.

Pregame 160317

Scroll Video up Scroll Video down Scroll Video left Scroll Video right

Shootaround: Vogel on Mahinmi, Lawson, Raptors

March 17, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel provides injury updates for Ian Mahinmi and Ty Lawson and looks ahead to Thursday night's game against the Toronto Raptors.
Mar 17, 2016  |  01:37

Shootaround: Jordan Hill on Playing a Bigger Role

March 17, 2016 - With Ian Mahinmi listed as doubtful for tonight's game against the Toronto Raptors, Pacers forward Jordan Hill talked about needing to step up to fill in.
Mar 17, 2016  |  01:32

Practice: Paul George on Facing Toronto, Team's Health

March 16, 2016 - Following Wednesday's practice, Paul George discussed Fresno State's chances in the NCAA Tournament, the Pacers' upcoming matchups with the Toronto Raptors, and persevering through teammates' injuries.
Mar 16, 2016  |  04:19

Practice: Ty Lawson on Health, Getting Acclimated with Team

March 16, 2016 - After practice on Wednesday, Ty Lawson discussed his improving health, his observations of the reserve unit, and getting acclimated with his new teammates.
Mar 16, 2016  |  01:57

Practice: Vogel on Reducing Turnovers; Solo's Versatility

March 16, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel talked about the team taking better care of the ball, Solomon Hill's positional versatility, and ways that Myles Turner can impact the game.
Mar 16, 2016  |  02:37

Pacers' Bench Becoming Crowded – and Effective

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

If they ever get their act together, the Pacers bench could be something special.

That day appears to be coming. Very soon, in fact.

With planets aligning, feet healing and stomachs settling, the Pacers might have everyone on the roster available for the first time since the first week of the season on Thursday when Toronto comes to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That would give coach Frank Vogel his deepest bench yet – so deep, in fact, he'll likely have to sit players who have proven they can contribute. He'll take that over the holes he's had to coach around throughout the season.

Ty Lawson and C.J. Miles, who sat out Tuesday's victory over Boston, are expecting to play against the Raptors – Lawson for the first time since spraining his left foot in his debut with the Pacers against San Antonio on March 7.

TICKETS: Pacers-Raptors, Thursday at 7 PM »

That means Vogel would have Lawson, Miles, Solomon Hill, Rodney Stuckey, Lavoy Allen, Jordan Hill, Joe Young and Glenn Robinson III available in reserve. That makes for 13 players in all, the full limit for the active roster and three more than Vogel plans to use in his standard 10-player rotation. All of them but Young have started games this season. All but Young and Robinson, in fact, have qualified as regular starters at various points in their careers. Jordan Hill and Allen played so well against Boston they were allowed to finish the game.

It was a reserve-dominated lineup, in fact, that made up for a sluggish start against Boston, overcoming a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to tie the game by the end of the first quarter.

It's a situation that qualifies as congestion, but not a headache for Vogel, who will have to sit proven players at times. Collectively, the unit provides the best argument for the Pacers moving up in the Eastern Conference standings, perhaps even claiming a top four playoff seed that would bring homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Track the Pacers' Playoff Push »

"At the very minimum, they're solid," Vogel said Wednesday. "They're guys you can trust at each position. You're not going to be over-matched. You look at the potential of them, there's the potential for them to overwhelm teams with their energy. We've got good energy guys, and we've got guys who are capable of getting hot offensively. They're capable of taking over games and being factors in wins."

Miles has started 24 games this season, but sat out 16 with a sore right ankle, a sore lower back and a strained left calf. He missed Tuesday's game with what was reported as an upper respiratory infection, but actually was a nasty case of food poisoning. He went out with his family for dinner in Dallas on Friday, and four of the six got sick as a result.

He played the next game in Atlanta, but probably shouldn't have. He looks forward to playing with Lawson, who will bring a faster tempo and distribution skills to the second unit. Looks forward to playing with whomever is on the court, for that matter.

"Hopefully we can start building with that group," he said. "We've got the opportunity to be really dangerous and be able to bring a lot of energy and really hurt some teams. We can give (the starters) some rest and not have to rush them back in."

"With Ty and myself and Stuckey and the bigs, and a little of Solo at the four, the way he changes up games, we have the personnel to (play fast). We want to come in and change the game and get the crowd into it. And bring energy and make teams have to be fearful we can come in and explode for a number of points."

Lawson's injury in his debut short-circuited an intriguing addition to the Pacers' roster. He had an All-Star caliber season in Denver last season, then struggled as a round hole in Houston's square peg system before signing as a free agent with the Pacers. With the Pacers, he figures to be the generator of a unit born to run and attack.

It was hoped he could play in each of the last three games. It's expected he'll play in the next one. He participated in Wednesday's practice, and felt little pain.

"At first I was trying to watch out for my foot but then I stopped thinking about it and started feeling better," he said.

He hasn't established chemistry with any of the other reserves, or any of his teammates, for that matter, but doesn't think it will be a major problem. He's had time, at least, to study them from the bench.

"Everybody knows how I play and I know how they play," he said.

"The whole reserve team can shoot the ball and I can get into the paint, so the floor will be spaced. Rodney can get into the paint and I can feed off him, too. It's a good fit."

Solomon Hill, left out of the rotation for 23 games earlier in the season, has become nearly essential because of his versatility and defensive ability. He's a hybrid, equally welcome as a starter or reserve. He's played all five positions over the past two seasons, everything from point guard in last season's injury-depleted lineup to center against Golden State's small-ball lineup this season.

"He's always been ready and available to really do anything," Paul George said. "With this group, he's probably our most complete, all-around player."

He's also the team's role model. He didn't like not playing earlier in the season after being in all 82 games last season and starting 78 of them, but he didn't complain to the media or show excessive frustration with his teammates. Now some of them are going to have to accept sitting in this new, healthier lineup. Vogel can only hope they hide their emotions as well as Hill did.

"He didn't voice it, but you could see it," George said. "You go from starting to not playing at all, you sense it, especially when the front office goes out and grabs guys in free agency when you've been starting. That's the competitiveness in you. But he still did a great job of being a professional, coming in and battling. Regardless of who's in the jersey, he battles them every day. He's made my practices tougher. When his number's called, he's ready. He doesn't complain, just comes in and does his job."

Hill was jazzed after Tuesday's win over Boston, when he played 17.5 effective minutes. As reporters gathered around Jordan Hill's locker to inquire about the details of his 15-point performance, Solomon shouted, "Talk about that second unit!"

It could turn out to be something worth talking about.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

Related Content