A way too early look at the starting five for 2022-23

With so many questions circulating around the Indiana Pacers and the direction that they are heading in, the main thing that has been asked by many is who the five will be that Rick Carlisle puts on the floor opening night? Let’s dive into a hypothetical starting five that would benefit the Pacers the most to start the season.

After many roster changes for the Indiana Pacers, what will their starting five look like in 2022-23?

Rick Carlisle – Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

POINT GUARD – TYRESE HALIBURT0N

The one certainty heading this season is Point Guard Tyrese Haliburton. Last season Tyrese was sent to the Indiana Pacers in the Sabonis trade with Sacramento. The Pacers obviously struggled most of the season but showed flashes of times of what they truly can be hopefully sooner rather than later. Haliburton averaged 17.5 points per game, 9.6 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in his 26 games as an Indiana Pacer last season.

Haliburton, 22, is going to be the “leader” of this team this upcoming season. With Malcolm Brogdon gone, Tyrese has been given the keys to the team. Haliburton has the fans in Indy excited to see what the future holds with him and the rest of the gang.

SHOOTING GUARD – BENNEDICT MATHURIN

Bennedict Mathurin really shined in the three games that he played in while in Las Vegas at the NBA 2K23 Summer League. The Indiana Pacers really liked what they saw from him in college and selected him with the sixth overall pick. Mathurin is an athlete that can do it all. He can shoot the three ball, attack the rim, and he showed in the Summer League that he can defend.

I feel like it is almost an elementary decision to start Mathurin this upcoming season if you are Carlisle and staff. Let’s face it, the Pacers are not expected to set the league on fire this season so let Mathurin and the rest of the team develop together.

SMALL FORWARD – BUDDY HIELD

Yes, I feel that Buddy Hield is the right decision to start at the three. He and Mathurin can be swapped here if needed. Hield is what this lineup needs. He brings lights-out shooting along with the ability to be able to facilitate when needed and is also an underrated defender. Hield, 29, is one of the veterans on this team even though he has not been in Indiana that long.

Buddy Hield was 2nd in the league last season in three-pointers made last season with 262. He was only behind Stephen Curry (285) of the Golden State Warriors. Hield averaged 18.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in his 26 games last season in an Indiana Pacer uniform last season.

POWER FORWARD – JALEN SMITH

Like Haliburton, Jalen Smith is a guaranteed starter as well. In his press conference after re-signing with the Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said, ”He signed on to be our starting power forward.”

Smith is a very long and athletic big that can throw down lobs and does a really good job at blocking shots on the defensive end. In 22 games for the Pacers last season, Jalen scored 13.4 points per game and averaged 7.6 rebounds per game. With a full season with Tyrese Haliburton running the show, opposing defenders better watch their heads for this connection with Haliburton and Smith.

CENTER – MYLES TURNER

With the DeAndre Ayton saga finally ending, the Indiana Pacers now are back to 26-year-old Myles Turner. Myles has had a few injury-riddled seasons the last couple of campaigns. If Myles can play most or all of an entire NBA season, he automatically changes the trajectory of this young team. Myles is one of those big guys that have many NBA coaches scratching their heads as he truly fits the mold of the “new age big.”

He is one of the premier shot blockers in the league. Since entering the NBA, he has averaged 2.3 blocks per game. He was also the league leader in 2018-19 (2.7), and 2020-21 (3.4) He also shoots a respectable 35 percent from three for his career. Turner is an explosive big and can really lead this team to places that many people are not expecting. The Indiana Pacers just need him on the floor!

HONORABLE MENTION – GUARD/FORWARD – CHRIS DUARTE

You can definitely make an argument that Chris Duarte should be in the starting line up and I will not argue with that group of people however, I feel that he needs to be in this second group that will come on the floor. With that being said, just because you do not start does not mean that you will not finish the game or get starters minutes.

Duarte was on the 2021-22 NBA All-Rookie second team last season and had a very good first campaign for the Pacers last season. Duarte WILL start in some games this season, I just feel that he brings an imperative “punch” so to speak off the bench that can really help this Pacers squad for this upcoming season.

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