With many different rumors circulating on this board and all over the net concerning trades involving Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Chucky Atkins, Luke Ridnour, and several other NBA quality players, I wanted to start a discussion about what we really need to be looking for to add to our team, and hopefully maybe get some ideas about identifying who these guys might be.
First, let me discuss our roster of wing players and make my case for why we need a great perimeter defender more than any other need. The Pacers currently have no one who can legitimately cause any good scorer any problems to score:
-Dunleavy....decent team defender but can be broken down easily by quicker people......has no chance guarding the elite scorers our competitors have.
-Daniels....average defender at best, more of an offensive player and scorer on our team.
-Granger....might develop into a good defender someday but lacks the experience and savvy and reputation to be able to guard the Wade, Lebron, Ray Allen, and Rip Hamiliton's of the world. Add to that that we need him to score for us and to not have to focus so much on guarding the opponents best player. Danny will be in foul trouble in the playoffs if our roster stays the same as it is now.
-Tinsley....doesnt have the desire, height, quickness, or athleticism to guard most teams starting point guards effectively. We can hide and coach around his poorer shooting sometimes, but his lack of defense is a constant factor.
-Armstrong....too old to be counted on for big important minutes as the season goes on....not big enough to guard biger guys and will be exploited if we pair him and Tinsley too much against good teams.
So clearly, in my view, the easiest, cheapest, and best way for us to get better as a team would be to add at least one and if possible two players who are above average or better defenders at the 1,2, and/or 3 spots. If we add a point guard he needs to be able to start, if its a wing we might be able to get by with a backup type, although Id prefer a starter.
In the front court we have Jermaine as a really good defender, and depending on the matchup Foster doesnt hurt us so much. With a lack of bigs in the east as scorers, we probably can get by with who we have in the post: Oneal, Murphy, Foster, Baston, Ike, possibly Harrison and Williams active on certain nights. I don't view our post defense as much of a problem as our perimeter defense is, and I actually think we will end up being above average on the backboard against most of the teams we'd play.
We need someone who can guard the opponents best guy when the game is on the line....someone who can stay in front of them and force them into tough shots. We need a defensive minded role player to play on the perimeter, and a point guard who could pressure the ball and stop penetration would be nice too.
Instead of dreaming of a high salaried scorer like Carter, or an offensive point guard like Bibby or Francis or Ridnour, this is where Donnie and Larry should be looking. If we fill these 2 key spots somehow by the deadline with the right guys, I think we are a legitimate contender right now in the east, if not I think we are too flawed to go very far.
Anybody have any names for a defensive minded wing (please nobody suggest Artest) and/or a defensive minded point guard?
Whether or not we can acquire these guys by the deadline, its these specific weaknesswe need to try and fix in the offseason.....and I admit that early on I thought it would be perimeter shooting that would be a bigger priority, but I now am firmly convinced its defense on the wing and point.
Just my opinion as always....