Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NBA Offseason Preview - Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers
2008-2009 Payroll (Source: HoopsHype.com): $67.2M

Draft Picks: #11, #41

When Jim O’Brien arrived in Indiana, the Pacers knew that they would be playing an up-tempo style compared to the days of Rick Carlisle. They just didn’t know who would step up.

One year later, Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy Jr. are the anchors for this team, and the team is shopping Jermaine O’Neal (and the $44M he’s owed over the next two years). Who knew? A year after the Pacers did not select a point guard in the draft, they are where they left off – needing a point guard. Jamaal Tinsley averaged a career-high 8.4 assists per game, but he shot 38% from the field and only played 39 games.

Burning Questions: Here’s a question many have asked. Which teams will enter their hats into the O’Neal and Tinsley (3 years, $21.5M) sweepstakes? More importantly, will they offer anything worthwhile?

Perceived Needs: PG, Frontcourt Depth

If I Were GM … I actually would not trade O’Neal, but would shop Tinsley like a bad habit. It’s one thing when your point guard misses a few games to injury (okay, 43 is not a few). It’s another to hear his name linked to shooting incidents. Since Tinsley is a bargain at $7M per year when healthy, teams focused on his skill set and experience will be interested.

In terms of free agent losses, the Pacers have a few, but none of which they are in dire need to re-sign or move for value.

For the #11 pick, there’s only one way to go and that is point guard. Though small, DJ Augustin has the mental DNA to be successful for years on end. If last year proved anything, it’s that DJ Augustin makes his teammates much better, even in the absence of a collegiate superstar (Kevin Durant).

At pick #41, the defensive prowess and length of Alexis Ajinca and DeVon Hardin make intriguing picks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about Danny Granger, he has developed tremendously both offensively and defensively. However, Michael Dunleavy is by no means a guard. He maybe able to put up decent numbers at the position, but numbers can be misleading on a team like the Pacers. Defensively he is a huge inadequacy. The pacers do need a point guard in the draft, If they are lucky they will have Russell Westbrook fall to them, but more than likely they will settle on an undersized true PG in Augustine.

Again i disagree, Jermain O'Neal is scheduled to make nearly 20 Million. He is only 29 and is very good defensively, however he is not capable of being the team's leader. He needs to be moved immediately. They can get a lot of value for a big name like O'Neal amidst the trend towards trading/signing for big names to win a championship. Some teams need a piece.

at pick #41, Ajinca will be gone. His workouts have him going late first round. It would be better to go for a stabalizing presence in the middle and reach for Semih Erden or the better shooting Anti Tomic. Joey Dorsey is also a good pick here.