If the Indiana Pacers want to bring back the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the city of Indianapolis, they’ll have to do it without their most consistent big man.
Plantar fasciitis has forced forward Domantas Sabonis to exit the NBA bubble in Orlando and seek treatment in Los Angeles.
Sabonis’ injury leaves a significant void in the Pacers frontcourt, a void that Jeremiah Johnson talked about on Monday’s Ride with JMV.
Who does Johnson see stepping up for the Pacers?
“I think Myles Turner immediately if you just look at what he’s able to do, what he’s done in the regular season, and maybe some of the shots that he did not take because he deferred to Sabonis when they shared the court together.” Johnson told JMV. “I can easily see another six to seven points per game and four or five rebounds coming Myles’ way just by [Sabonis] not playing.”
With a perimeter-oriented offensive game, Turner will need to focus more on making his presence felt in the paint. That could prove challenging for the 24-year-old, whose physicality and post-up ability doesn’t match what Domas provided on a nightly basis.
Another player Johnson sees contributing offensively is Aaron Holiday.
“[Holiday] has shown all season long no matter what player was injured – if somebody was out and he had to take on a bigger role – he’s not shy. He’s not gonna be afraid to shoot, so maybe he gets some of the additional scoring even though he’s a backcourt player…”
We’ll have all the answers soon enough, as the Pacers take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday in their first regular season game since the pandemic shutdown.
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