For now, I’ll pretend that the Blue & Gold fellas at the Fieldhouse are done making moves until closer to the season and give my thoughts so far on their moves since losing to Miami.
The Draft: There was some consternation about Miles Plumlee being the pick at #26. The prevailing thought was that he was just a big, stiff, white guy. Well, he’s not. Ok, he is white and big, but in no way is he stiff. Through five games of the summer league, Plumlee was the most consistant performer on the Pacer squad. He was athletic and skilled with the ball in his hands, he has a post up game, and can hit from 15 feet consistantly. He also can make his free throws. He needs to learn the angles of bounces to become a better rebounder, but that will come with work. Plumlee is no shot-blocker, but he did alter a couple of shots. The Pacers seemed to have found a quality center/ power forward. Orlando Johnson didn’t look as good. He showed a few flashes of being able to contribute, but nothing spectacular.
The Bench: This is where the fellas have done most of their work to date. Fans didn’t like giving up Darren Collinson and Dahntay Jones for Ian Mahinmi, but it appears that Pacer brass wants to maybe do a twin towers thing like what San Antonio did with David Robinson and Tim Duncan. And even if not, Collison was not going to be happy as a back-up point guard no matter what lip service he gave, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Also, for those who have said how important Jones was to the team, get real. He was mis-used at best and a waste of a roster spot at worst. I’m not blaiming him either, he just wasn’t a good fit with what the Pacers have. The fellas still don’t have a shooter, but with Gerald Green and an improved Lance Stephenson, maybe they have enough scoring off the bench to cover that. I haven’t seen Green play so I can only hope he’s what they need. I watched Lance in the summer league games. He had moments where it looked like he couldn’t miss from 15 feet out, but most of his points were off drives to the basket and free throws. Not bad unless the other team has real good interior defense. What I was impressed with was how much better the Pacer squad looked with Lance on the floor at the point. He may be able to handle the third string point spot if Pacer brass want an extra roster spot. Bringing in DJ Augustine as a back-up was an upgrade I think. Collison never impressed me like I was hoping. The Pacers should consider bringing Julian Muvunga to camp. The forward had some nice showings in the summer league. No one else really impressed.
The Contract: Yes, Roy Hibbert got a max contract and no, he wasn’t worth 14.5 mil a year. Last year. For those who say that he will never live up to that contract, I remind some of you said the same about Rik Smits. I remember many a Pacer fan crying that Rik would never amount to anything. Well, he did. It took him a couple of decades but he got to the point where he was integral to the Pacers success. Roy has had just four years in this league. Who the hell is a finished product after four years? Jordan wasn’t. Reggie? No. Peyton? Nyet. Roy has improved every year in the the NBA and that includes last year after a lock-out. Which would you rather have? A slightly over-paid center whose contract runs out in four years or to let that center get away and turn into an amazing player for Portland? I, like you, wish we could have retained Hibbert for less, but the Trailblazers are JERKS and the Pacers had to pony up the cash to keep him. This isn’t like Jermaine O’Neal and his bad deal. That was for more years and had some other nasty contracts to go with it. Namely the china doll, Jonathon Bender, and Jamal Tinsley. Taken in context of the league today and the fact that legit centers don’t grow on trees, the Pacers had to keep the double nickel. Some fans have pointed out that teams like Miami and Oklahoma City don’t have great centers and to look at how far they got. Do any of ya’ll see Lebron, Dwayne, or Kevin on this team? Yeah, me either. So until the Pacers stumble onto the next mega-star basketball player, let’s throw some size at the competition.
Thank you and goodnight.