Carlisle has several options at small forward

Updated: October 20, 2003, 7:51 AM ET
By Chad Ford | NBA Insider
A big logjam at small forward. That's the challenge coach Rick Carlisle has ahead of him as he attempts to untangle one of the deepest teams in the East.

Does he start Ron Artest, the team's best defender and second-leading scorer? Maybe it should be Al Harrington, who has the size and athletic ability to be a star but just needs more experience. Or what about Jonathan Bender, the Pacers practice wonder boy who is seemingly on the verge of a breakthrough season every training camp? Or, maybe it's Austin Croshere, a Larry Bird and Rick Carlisle favorite, who's been steaming on the bench the past few seasons waiting for revenge.

How does Carlisle balance that depth? It looks like he'll split the difference, throw Artest and Harrington in the starting five and bench a healthy, but aging Reggie Miller at the two.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer