The Indiana Pacers started off the season playing at an incredible level, but now they seem to be struggling as the playoffs creep closer. Many Pacers fans have begun getting frustrated with head coach Frank Vogel for his lack of rotational change, especially when it comes to Chris Copeland. Copeland was signed this past offseason and has shown in limited minutes that he can contribute and bring some things that the Pacers desperately need to the court.
So the question becomes, should Frank Vogel be giving Chris Copeland more playing time as the season winds down?
There is a very simple answer to this question, and the answer is that they definitely should give Copeland more minutes. He is a knockdown shooter that can space the floor and score the basketball at a high clip. As the season has continued, he has been showing the ability to put the basketball on the floor and drive to the rim as well.
Frank Vogel surely understands that his team needs more scoring and that is what Copeland brings to the table. Doesn’t he? Unfortunately for the Pacers and their fans, he seems very comfortable with the rotation that has been playing poor basketball for the past few weeks. Luis Scola has been struggling in a big way from an offensive standpoint, and quite frankly is one of the worst defensive power forwards in the NBA. The reason that Vogel has given in the past for Copeland’s lack of playing time is that he is a defensive liability.
As the season rolls on, it is becoming more clear that Copeland is a far superior defender to Scola. He is much quicker with his feet, and appears to be a stronger body as well. Offensively, he has shown the ability to knock down threes at a high clip and also score off the dribble. It’s time for the Pacers to make a change and give Copeland some minutes.
There haven’t been many games that Copeland has been giving double-figure minutes to play, but one sample game was against the Charlotte Bobcats just a couple of weeks ago. The game seemed to have already been decided when Copeland entered the game with the Bobcats up by 20 points. Copeland immediately started scoring the basketball, and ended up with 11 points on 3-5 shooting in just 12 minutes.
If the Pacers want to snap out of the funk that they have been experiencing consistently for the past few weeks, they are going to need to switch their approach up. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a change. Vogel needs to see that Scola hasn’t been playing good basketball, and give him a few games off to get rested and ready for the playoffs.
Overall, the Pacers really need to look into playing Copeland a good 20 minutes per game for the next week or two and seeing what type of production they get from him. He was a big piece of a New York Knicks team that was a top tier team in the NBA. The Pacers signed him for a reason, and they need to give him a chance to prove himself.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.