View Full Version : 2006 off-season evaluation part 3

05-14-2006, 08:59 PM
The Small forwards

Under contract we have Danny Granger, Stephen Jackson & Austin Croshere. Peja is a free agent & Fred Jones is a free agent that we will have the right to match any offer assuming we make him a qualifying offer.

Does anybody remember just a couple of years ago when we thought we were over populated at the s.f. spot?

Danny Granger. This may be the one. Or conversley we all may be expecting to much from the young fella. Only time will tell.

The good. Danny has made himself into a good shooter, when he started the season I don't remember him being as good from distance as he was down towards the end of the season. He has a good face up jumper from inside the arc as well.

He is already either the best defender or second best defender on the team when it comes to guarding slashers. He is a fierce shot blocker & he is a warrior born at rebounding the ball considering he is a small forward.

The downside. As Larry Bird stated in his post mortem for the season, Danny kind of fell to much in love with the three. To match up with his ability to shoot I want him to work on taking it strong to the hole. If he were a slasher, ala an early Grant Hill, I think he could take his game to a whole other level.

The outlook. Simply put, Danny Granger is the future of our team. Now whether or not he is up to that task I don't know yet. He is mature enough to know what he needs to do & I've seen nothing but growth from him all season long. Will he ever be an all-star? I don't know, he could be. But all I know is this. He is not Ron Artest & that in & of itself is almost enough for me. The fact that I think he could be as good as Ron in the near future but minus all the extra stuff is also a bonus.

Stephen Jackson. I'll focus more on Jax's troubles with the fans & the club more when I do the s.g. spot but for here I'll just do what I think he can & cannot do as a small forward.

The good. He can score. He can score from about anywhere on the floor. He has a good inside game, a good mid-range game & can hit three's. He is one of only about three Pacers who can create their own shot. He is a good defender if Danny isn't the best defender on the team Jax is. He will rebound on occasion. He is a decent passer.

The bad. Often times forgets that he is not on the floor by himself on the offensive end. Does get pushed around by the more physical three's but in fairness he does not get abused. His shot selection at times is well, horrid.

The outlook. Like I said I'll address the other problems in the s.g. post but it cannot go without saying that Stephen Jackson is his own worst enemy. In fact if it weren't for his other problems Jackson could be one of the more popular players on the team. As a backup three he is solid. As a starter at the three spot he would be solid.

Austin Croshere. He should never play small forward & thankfully for past couple of years he has not.

The good. He has range so players have to respect him from the outside. He is a good rebounder. He is a good passer. He is just an overall smart player who will rarely do anything to hurt the team.

The bad. Everything. He is a disaster at the small forward spot because he does not have the speed or dribbling ability to play on the wings. Quick forwards just blow by him on defense & they often make him turn over the ball.

The outlook. He is a good backup powerforward, he is a horrid backup small forward. He offers no help at this spot on the floor. He is a smart player but in this case athleticsm will beat him everytime.

Fred Jones. Like Croshere he can do emergency service at the spot. Like Croshere he really shouldn't.

The good. He is athletic for his size. He is a good jumper & a very willing defender. As long as he is going right he can get to the basket with the best of them. He can hit the long ball on occasion. As long as he is planted he is an ok passer.

The bad. If he can't go right he is about a joke. He often times flys into the air & makes a pass to wherever he sees at the moment whether there is a Pacers player there or not. Taller small forwards just do turn arounds on him all day long because even though he is a good defender he is still only about 6' 4" tall & that is probably being generous.

The outlook. If we re-sign him, which I'm not sure they will, then he should really stay in the backcourt. However if injury's or foul trouble require it he can do short term service at the three.

Peja. This is a tough call because for all of the good he did in the regular season he really made me worry about him in the post season.

The good. He is a shooter like no other in the league. He can do almost anything on the offensive side of the floor & unlike other players he knows that when he is having a bad night from outside he will do something inside often drawing a foul. He is the premier freethrow shooter in the NBA, I know he didn't win the ft% title this year but I don't care. I would never have a problem with him going to the line. He is a good rebounder. I never dreamed he was as good on the boards as he was when he came here. I always thought he hung out at the three point line all day. I was wrong. He's not like Ben Wallace or anything but I'm so used to our s.f. getting 3-4 a game that anytime he would have one of his 8 rebound nights I would be giddy. He is decent on defense. Not Artest by any means, but not an embarassement either.

The bad. Injurys may have taken their toll on him. Other than that I can point to no real weakness in his game that is glaring or stands out.

The outlook. Even with as rosey a picture as I just painted for you with Peja I am not convinced I want the Pacers sinking a lot of long term money on him. I am convinced that Danny Granger is the future & while I could live with him backing up Peja this year that is all I want from him. After that I want Danny starting & I'm not even thrilled with him being a backup this year. So then it becomes the question of do we want to pay another backup big money or conversely do we want to make Danny sit longer & wait till Peja retires or moves on.

My answer to all of the above is no. So while I love Peja's game I think I would prefer that we package him in a sign & trade to a team.

My overall view of the small forward spot is that we have the tools there to be competative in the future & depending on how high Danny goes we might even be better than competative.

I'd like to see them dedicate to Danny & then get a good solid player to be his backup. James Jones would be perfect in that role btw, however at the time we decided to move James he was going to be another in a long line of players who could/would play the s.f. spot.

Jay Ohh
05-14-2006, 09:15 PM
Peja staying makes absolutely no sense long term. Danny Grangerous is the future and he and Peja share the position. Peja is injury prone, he's going to demand a large contract, he chokes all the time, and he's a pansy.

Let's just stick with Granger for that position and go from there.

Will Galen
05-14-2006, 10:16 PM
I want the Pacers to resign Peja for themselves. If they resign him they could later trade him for a needed part. A sign and trade and we might not need the player/s we get.

05-14-2006, 10:25 PM
While Danny is the future, there is NO other player in the NBA that can shoot like Peja. And when you have no leverage in a sign and trade, it is going to be nothing but lopsided. I think you have to lock Peja up and then deal him at a later date for a very good shooter, maybe a prospect at the 2 and a pick. But shooters like this only come to Indiana once every 18 years, so it would be unbearable to give him away for a 2nd round pick and maybe a Scott Pollard type player.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 11:18 PM
While I really do like Peja's game, the timing is just wrong. Granger needs to start, no question about it. Peja is in his last 5 years probably, and he'll most likely want a contract for that long, and a nice paycheck. While I think he deserves it, we've got to make room for Danny. Sign Peja, then trade him because he'll be worth a bunch to someone, and could yield us a good player.

Problem is, that leaves us with only Danny at SF. Like Peck said, none of those other guys are true SFs. So, we're in quite the pickle. This is obviously one of Larry and Donnie's biggest issues this summer.

05-14-2006, 11:22 PM
I must admit I don't know if the Pacers should re-sign Peja. One day I say yes, the next day I say no. I really don't know if they should.

We have three choices.

1) Re-sign him and keep him
2) Re-sign him and trade him
3) Just let him go.

05-14-2006, 11:46 PM
I agree that Peja is one of the top 2-3 shooters in the league. For that reason alone, it's dumb to just let him walk.

The teams needs in general teams are an attitude adjustment, better overall team defense against penetration, better post defense and more consistent perimeter shooting. Many have translated that into a better starting PG, a more consistent SG that is focused on the game and a center.

Danny is our future, I'd agree on that. He's focused, he's a dedicated hard worker, he rarely takes bad shots and he puts forth maximum efforts on both ends of the floor and around the boards at all times. He's well-spoken and will eventually be a leader in words as well as actions.

But I'll get back to an argument that I continue to make. I see absolutely no reason why Danny and Peja cannot play together, covering the PG/SF in some combination on both ends of the floor. Eventually, once Danny improves his perimeter shooting, you will have two interchangeable parts offensively. Both would be able to shoot from anywhere and both would be good around the boards. The only difference would be that Danny is a better perimeter defender and a better shot blocker.

With a better defender at PG, I believe it would work. With SG and SF addressed in this manner, and Jermaine manning the PF slot, putting Peja at SG would allow the Pacers to focus on addressing other needs like getting a better defender and quicker player at PG and getting a better defender and scorer at center.

I think we are all after an improvement in overall team performance. I just happen to believe that we have 3-4 important needs. I doubt we can address all these needs prior to next season from outside the team. Somewhere along the way, the Pacers will have to come up with a way to address at least one need using players we already have. Peja and Danny sharing SG/SF is a way to do that.

05-14-2006, 11:51 PM
I think our best option would be to sign and trade Peja. For whatever reason, and it may be b/c it is the easiest position to fill in the NBA :whoknows:, we always have a plethora of SF's. We can lose 2 and have 5 the next year.

Peja for big money is risky. His health is a red flag on a team which needs no more medical red flags. Do we want to shackle our franchise to a guy who is a medicore playoff guy and an injury risk? Based on recent history (Tinsley, Foster, Bender) I am hesitant to do it. And when you throw in the fact that we have a young stud in Granger... it just doesn't make sense. He is a great citizen and I won't be sad to keep him. I just don't think he is the difference maker to propel us to the next level.

We need a leader and a banger, and he isn't either one. He does score from outside though, and mercy... we need that. But if we sign him it will be at the worst possible time. Peja's next team will undoubtedly overpay him. He is at that stage in his career where he will command maximum dollars and his productivity will most likely start falling off.

I think we can get a cheaper guy to open up the zone, but what do I know.

05-15-2006, 07:15 AM
For indeed the plethora of SF's we had, we are right now, withuot Peja undermanned on that position in a serious manner.

To drop everything for Granger is nothing but an example of the forum's moodswings and despite all the talent in the world, we should know better then to bet the farm and the fieldhouse on the talent displayed by a rook.

Sorry, I have all the hope in the world that he turns out to be what he promises to be, but seen one Bender to many on this team to bet anything on it.

In Peja we have THE premier shooter in the league on our team, if his shot is off, like Peck says, he takes it in, distributes, spreads the field like Reggie did, defends, rebounds, in other words he remains a real asset.

If we look at the games played since mid-April which is about the time JO and Peja got used to being on the floor together, the games they played together gave us a record of something like 9-2 including the playoffs, not counting the games either did not play since.

This has to say something, JO got his best nights when Peja was on the floor, in fact in those last two weeks in April JO avg'd over 5 assists on top of his 25+ pts and 12+ rebounds.

If anything Peja compliments JO, much better then Ron did, and better then can be expected next year of Danny.
Do not forget Danny does not yet draw the major assignments and is by the opponents not yet seen as a real big threat as Peja is, they will not drop of Peja, but at times certainly take their chances with Danny, who simply does not have the same shot-selection and capacity as Peja.

A sign and tade is out of the question, we would never get what we wanted, as the Pacers would have no leverage whatsoever.
The cost of signing Peja do not matter that much, it wont be much less or more then it is now and trading him in the future remains a decent possibility should Danny indeed completely pan out as some hope.

To hang the success of the franchise on the shoulders of a rookie, is at the very least dangerous and in more serious terms irresponsible.

No matter how you look at it, we need to re-sign Peaja, we can just hope that he wants to stay and saw the same we did which is that with JO he has a chance to return to AS level again, while at the same time JO has a chance to return to MVP level again.

In general unlike most here., (which is more of a combi conclusion on more then one thread of Peck) I think that re-signing Peja allows us to be more frivolous in trading Jax, which is a near certainty, and trade for a complmentary big, or "hidden" SG.
JO statement that he will loose the weight he put on upon request from the coaching staff tells me that his days as C are numbered (thank God) and either David makes it or we get help at that position. I do not see us trading Tinsley, not only because his value is at an all time low, but also because LB (and many others) see the injuries he had over the past 2 years as freaks and they are well aware of the effects "rushing back" had on Foster, O'Neal and Tinsley.
it is probably cheaper to go into the season (and makes more sense) with Tins & AJ and allow for a departure of Sara, then anything else. Tins can play and if need be traded at the deadline hoping for a higher value and a better ROI.

IF we re-sign Polly then look for Cro to be on the market, as he has high value with his expiring contract and there are enough bigs in his salary range (preferably -25%) that can be traded for, though I would love to get Elson :D

05-15-2006, 07:56 AM
:great: Absolutely WONDERFUL post, able. I love this line:

To hang the success of the franchise on the shoulders of a rookie, is at the very least dangerous and in more serious terms irresponsible.

I think quite a few posters are taking an extremely oversimplified view of things. Despite injury woes of the past, Peja represent a veteran and stability, which is immeasurable, especially on a team as mercurial as this one. We've still got to fill quite a few minutes at the SF spot. You don't want to give a rookie huge minutes, nor do you want to wear down a guy like Peja with huge minutes. The most sensible thing to do is have them split the minutes in an established rotation.

Like able said, Peja is a much better compliment to JO that Danny. Matter of fact, what we can do is set up a situation where Danny is the star of the second unit and gains game maturity that way.

I will disagree with you about one thing, able. I don't think a S&T is out of the question. There are some teams out there who are little desperate, too
, with some cogs we may be able to use. The sixers, frex, are a mess, holding down the SF position with Kyle Korver. They also are dissappointed in Samuel Dalembert, who had a bad year and regressed. I haven't looked, but I think he and Peja's salaries could be made close enough for a deal with a couple more players in the mix. I think it's not a foregone conclusion that a S&T can happen with Peja. I do hope he stays and his heart is into staying, though.

Great post though. Made a hell of a lot of sense. :tip:

05-15-2006, 07:59 AM
Put me in the re-sign Peja camp. Before the Artest trade I would constantly harp about the PAcers not having any shooters on this team. We've got one and while some say we can not afford to sign him, I say we can not afford to lose him.

Maybe I'll change my mind once we see the numbers being discussed, but at this time Peja does not give me the sinking feeling 'ala Croshere'.

05-15-2006, 10:07 AM
I don't think we'll trade Croshere because just now we finally get a chance to escape the weight of his contract. Why turn around and commit to another 3+ years of that? They'll keep him and try to re-sign him cheap.

Put me down under the "Keep Peja" team, because I love Danny, but what Abel said is spot-on. And folks, you need to remember just how badly this team needed a shooter before we got Peja. It will be horrible without him that that aspect, and since as Abel said he brings more than just standing behind the 3 point line, he's a guy you have to keep. It also helps that he's unlikely to disrupt the lockerroom.

05-15-2006, 10:51 AM
Gotta agree....keep Peja.

I'm wondering. How damaging is it to him to be going into Free agency with a knee injury? Just how much will his rep of fading in the PO's and the knee injury AT THE TIME OF the PO's compound in GM's minds?

IOW....will we be able to retain him for less than say 6 weeks ago? (How much)

05-15-2006, 10:53 AM
I would like to keep Peja, as long as his price is right. I think one of the biggest weaknesses on this team is outside shooting, and Peja definitely fills this void. We do have guys who can fill it up, but they are streaky. Bird mentioned in a recent article (I am paraphrasing) that the fans have been frustrated with the inconsistency of our player's. He basically surmised that bench players tend to be inconsistent, and many of them have been forced into starting roles.

That being said, I get what my brother (brichard) was implying. Whether Granger pans out or not, the SF position is more of a commodity in the NBA then some of the other positions. If you are going to overpay, it is probably best to do it on good point guards and centers, because there arenít' many of them in the league. Peja is special, because of his shooting range, his accuracy, and his free throw shooting. He just isn't special enough (IMO), to hamstring us financially with a bloated long term contract.

Bottom line, if we can get him at a fair market value, then I want to keep him. If not, then plan B would be a sign and trade (assuming that is a feasible option). Door number three would be free agency/player trade/the draft.

Anybody have thoughts on who we should go after in the event that Peja does not resign with us?

05-15-2006, 10:57 AM
I must admit I don't know if the Pacers should re-sign Peja. One day I say yes, the next day I say no. I really don't know if they should.

We have three choices.

1) Re-sign him and keep him
2) Re-sign him and trade him
3) Just let him go.

I go with Option 2. We re-sign him and trade him for a bona-fide SG or a comob-guard in a package deal such as Mike James who can shoot the ball and attack the basket, as well as play some great on the ball perimeter defense...essentially, unlike Freddie, a combo-guard who plays bigger than his size (a la a guy named Dumars who played SG at 6'3 and gave a guy named Jordan more problems than any other player). Mike Miller would be another feasible guy I wouldn't mind starting as our SG...the heat is on Jerry West after this year's early playoff exit, and Gasol is in Memphis, so a S&T with Peja is a strong possibility. Joe Johnson would be my top pick to fill our SG role, but I'm not sure that has much feasibility with this scenerio.

Danny then gets to develop at the 3, and if for some reason Jax isn't traded over the summer, he can go back to doing what he does best...providing a spark as the 6th man, while having to make better decisions on his shots and moves, because he's competing for playing time. His game is much better when he's competing for playing time.

As far as SG's who fill the role, I do not want Ben Gordon.

05-15-2006, 11:20 AM
I don't think we'll trade Croshere because just now we finally get a chance to escape the weight of his contract. Why turn around and commit to another 3+ years of that? They'll keep him and try to re-sign him cheap.

Oh was life ever easy but alas :D

OK if this goes wrong (typing) then blame the machines I'm setting up here, bit hard to keep control of 4 mice and 4 screens on 12 machines :)

Anyway, the WHY is easier then it looks, if you study our cap situation you will find that in the next 5 years outside of wholesale dumps we do not have any space to sign any free-agent over the mid-level.
Now, if you think you can get what you need from a combo trade with some of our players, then maybe, but a servicable man like Cro who comes with an expiring contract is a commodity that has value, AND could bring in the big we want/need or PG we want/need while if need be we still have the mid-level to get bench-re-enforcements.

Prices of bigs are in the Cro range and not often below, henceforth my rediction, despite his "usefullness" which is in contradiction with our needs.

In all honesty the mid-level would easily bring us a replacement for Cro whlie Cro would bring us a above mid-level big or pg.

05-15-2006, 11:22 AM
That's all good, but the sad truth may be that they (Bird, Walsh, Simons, combo thereof) view it purely as a business decision instead of a basketball one, and simply try to cut down costs.

05-15-2006, 11:51 AM
That's all good, but the sad truth may be that they (Bird, Walsh, Simons, combo thereof) view it purely as a business decision instead of a basketball one, and simply try to cut down costs.
I agree on that possibility, at the same time realizing that in that case we are doomed, iron up the curtains already


05-15-2006, 12:47 PM
I would think that the Simons don't mind having the 4th highest payroll in the NBA if they are expecting to compete for a championship, but otherwise they can't be very happy with the return on their dollars

05-15-2006, 01:39 PM
I don't want to overpay to keep Peja. I'm not saying get rid of him but SF are like dimes--there are plenty of them in the sea.

I'd like Danny at the 3 and a veteren who is going to be tough, accept his role and not have to worry about his heart for the game.

05-15-2006, 02:36 PM
I don't want to overpay to keep Peja. I'm not saying get rid of him but SF are like dimes--there are plenty of them in the sea.

Arcadian has brought up a thought that many agree with and others have mentioned the SG position in the same light----'there are plenty of them'.

I just can't agree with this. There are only so many above average or as Jay likes to say (impact players) available. I honsestly don't believe you can do the plug and play concept and win a championship. This team already has too many players who have role player talent only.

05-15-2006, 03:26 PM
I guess the question is if you believe Peja is an impact player still.

05-15-2006, 03:38 PM
I often said it was stupid to re-sign Peja but after reading ables
remarks I have to agree. In 2 years we could trade Peja when our
sixth man is ready.

The glaring need to most of us is the center position as well as the
pg position. I think Tinsley will be kept because he does have trade
value just not right now. I however could see AJ moved
for a starting pg.

The Center position is compounded by the fact if we resign Peja we are
more than likely not able to pay what other teams will pay for say Nazr.
My biggest fear is that we go into next season with Foster as our Center
and Harrison as our poorly trained backup.

If Donnie and Larry can get it done I'll buy around at the next forum

05-15-2006, 05:00 PM
I want the Pacers to resign Peja for themselves. If they resign him they could later trade him for a needed part. A sign and trade and we might not need the player/s we get.

As far as Peja is concerned it will come down to how much does he want.
If it is beyond 10 million per season I would sign and trade or let him go.
Anybody else have a feel for what the Pacers are willing to sign him far?
What will the market dictate?


05-15-2006, 09:27 PM
With all of the griping this year about injuries and all of the whining about how Donnie has strung us out by overpaying for players, I am surprised this is being carte blanche accepted by most on this thread.

How many championships did Peja win in Sacto?

Was he wearing a suit or his uniform in the last games of the playoffs?

If Peja was such an impact player than Sacramento wouldn't have given him up.

Mark my words, we're going to re-sign him to a high price tag and we shall hear the groans for years to come. From a market standpoint now is a great time to trade him for somebody who could appreciate in value. Even if we trade him for a SG who can hit the long distance "J", we still will have improved the balance of our roster.

I like Peja, he is just has some high risk IMO.

05-15-2006, 09:30 PM
I like Peja, he is just has some high risk IMO.

I agree with you here.

I love Peja's game and am happy we got him for Ron. In fact, Peja is a guy I wanted here for a while.

But when we already have Danny Granger at SF why sign Peja when he will cost us a lot for a long time. It just isn't a good financial move for us in the long term.