Vipers Announce Starting Lineup, Tristan Lane to be 6th man to start the season.
- By Michael Miller, Day 14, 2025
PITTSBURGH - With exhibition season over, the Pittsburgh Vipers have announced that their starting lineup to open the season will be Tyler Davis, Eric Greely, Keydren Carter, Hassan Bundu and Treyvon Miller. This is a somewhat surprising development, as it means that SG/SF Tristan Lane, the #1 overall pick and presumptive future of the franchise, will start the season off the bench as a sixth man. According to internal team sources, the Vipers made this decision for several reasons.
First, with Keydren expecting to be a starter and entering a contract year, there is a focus to making Carter happy with his situation so he is inclined to resign with Pittsburgh after he hits the open market following the 2025 season. Expectation wise, Carter is determined to be a starter whereas Lane understands he needs some development and is seemingly happy to accept a 6th man role in his rookie year.
Second, Pittsburgh has incentive to be as good as possible this season because, in making the Carter trade, they dealt away their 2026 1st round pick to Chicago. Third, Pittsburgh believes it possible to manage the minutes so that Tristan Lane will still see between 28 to 32 minutes of floor time per game at either the 2 or 3 wing spot.
Coming into the league at only 202 pounds, Lane may be better suited initially at the 2 wing position which is currently manned by Eric Greely. One of the ways in which the Vipers intend to get Lane meaningful minutes is having him featured in the crunch-time line up at the 2 while Carter plays at the 3. Allowing Lane to play alongside Carter should help boost the former's confidence in those key moments.
Pittsburgh presently favors Lane more than Greely on the court in crunch time because Tristan has higher basketball intelligence and demeanor in key moments. On the other hand, team sources acknowledge this decision carries a risk because neither Carter nor Lane are considered consistently good three-point shooters, thereby potentially hindering the team from being able to come back from deficits.
Ultimately, the future of the Vipers' wing rotation is Greely and Lane but adding Carter into the mix will hopefully serve them both as they continue to learn and develop into their future potential.