Malcolm Brogdon, the starting point guard for the Indiana Pacers, will sit out at least another week while he rests a sore Achilles tendon injury. At the same time, Brogdon has been mentioned in numerous trade rumors and could get traded prior to the February 10 deadline.
Brogdon appeared in just three games over the last five weeks due to the Achilles injury. The team never mentioned a partial tear or rupture, but any time you’re dealing with the Achilles tendon, it’s considered a serious injury.
In 28 games this season, Brogdon averaged 18.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. Brogdon struggled from the perimeter with a 30.7% clip from 3-point land this season.
Brogdon is one of four starters out with injuries. Caris LeVert nurses a sore right calf, Domantas Sabonis has a sprained ankle, and Myles Turner is out with a fractured foot. Everyone on the team has been mentioned in trade rumors.
Brogdon was briefly mentioned in a trade package to the Philadelphia 76ers for disgruntled point guard Ben Simmons. However, if the 76ers were to pull off a Simmons trade with the Pacers, it would have to include a third party like the Minnesota Timberwolves or Sacramento Kings.
Next Man Up: Chris Duarte
Head coach Rick Carlisle inserted rookie Chris Duarte into the starting lineup to replace Brogdon. The Pacers selected Duarte with the #13 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Oregon. He looked good in is first season in Indiana averaging 13.6 ppg, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.
Since his promotion, Duarte posted double digits in scoring in five-straight games averaging 18.6 ppg while knocking down 45.8% of his 3-point attempts plus 92.3% of his free throws.
Duarte’s boost has not been overlooked by the front office. It’s something that they could leverage in any future trades. At the same time, he’s making a good case for the Pacers to keep him as part of the rebuild.
Duane Washington, Jr. is also getting some playing time at point guard. The undrafted rookie out of Ohio State averages 8.1 ppg off the bench for the Pacers.
On Deck: Hornets, Thunder, Mavs
The Pacers host the Charlotte Hornets (26-21) on Wednesday before embarking on a quick two-game road trip against the Oklahoma City Thunder (14-33) and Dallas Mavericks (27-20). Carlisle parted ways with the Mavs in the offseason, but he returns to the Big D for a game against his former squad.
As soon as the Pacers sell off their prized assets at the trade deadline, then they’ll be in full-blown tank mode. Then again, the Pacers (17-30) are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They cannot go any lower than the basement where both the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons hang out, but they’re close with the #13 seed. So long as they’re in the bottom four or five, they’ll have a shot at a lottery pick.