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Thread: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

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    Default Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    As most of you know, I've felt for a year and a half at least that one of the Pacers biggest weaknesses is the lack of anyone who can be a premier wing defender on the perimeter. Our 2 best players (Granger and Dunleavy) would both be served and their games improved if they were paired with a much better defender alongside them. I particularly think Granger, who is on the brink of being an all-star level (or close to it) player, would be hugely helped offensively if he didn't have to bear the burden of guarding the Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, or Paul Pierce types.

    Basically, as I wrote a few weeks back in my "Building a championship team with San Antonio as our model" thread, we need to obtain a Bruce Bowen type defender, to play alongside Granger and/or Dunleavy.

    This player, whom we don't have, could in fact elevate the games of the rest of our roster by playing his role so well that our other defenders wouldnt be forced to help so early, and so often. It would keep us out of foul trouble, keep Granger fresher, and enable the coaching staff to focus our defense more effectively if we could rely on defensive talent and athleticism to stop someone instead of our complex and hard to execute scheme.

    For this thread, I wanted to identify 2 categories of players:
    1. Wing defenders who are already in the league.
    2. Wing defenders we could draft.

    I went through everyone's roster to perform this exercise, and tried to use common sense in who might be obtainable, and who probably would not be. Hopefully, when I list my reasons you can at least see what I was thinking. If reading this thread you see that I have left off someone I should have included, please name the player I missed and explain your reasoning.

    I think acquiring one or more of these players listed should be the Pacers highest priority this offseason personnel wise, along with doing something intelligently at the point guard position.

    PPEMIER WING DEFENDERS ALREADY IN THE LEAGUE WHO MIGHT BE OBTAINABLE:

    1. Quinton Ross, L.A. Clippers. You all knew I'd list him first, didn't you? I view Bill Simmons as being right about Ross, who he describes as being the next potential Bruce Bowen. Ross is active, long, tough minded, sometimes borderline dirty, and realizes his defense is his calling card. Ross is the kind of player who can really help a winning team with a strong "culture of winning"....in otherwords, not the Clippers. Ross is a free agent, and the best way for the Pacers to get him would be a sign and trade, so we could get rid of a bad contract in exchange for him. With the Clippers in dire need of a point guard, this is an excellent opportunity for us to do 2 things: Get the best available wing defender, and get rid of Jamal Tinsley.

    2. Corey Brewer, Minnesota. Brewer is still on his rookie deal, and hasnt been as good as Minnesota probably hoped after making him a high draft pick a year ago. If we did attempt to make a deal with the Wolves for some other piece (Randy Foye perhaps, as others have speculated) it would be wise for us to broaden the deal to include Brewer. Brewer can't shoot a lick, but he is quick, active, and long armed, with a winning pedigree in college.

    3. Trenton Hassell, New Jersey. Hassell is a strong, older perimeter defender still under 30. He plays little in New Jersey, where he is blocked by Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. Hassell is a smart, veteran player who has been through the wars. He is also cheap. If we would make a bigger deal with the Nets for some other piece, getting Hassell included would be smart.

    4. Renaldo Balkman, New York Knicks. With Isiah out, Balkman loses his biggest fan. The new regime in New York likely won't be as enamored with Balkman, making him I believe very available as a throw in in a bigger deal with the Knicks, should we pursue one. Balkman is an extremely hard worker, rebounder, and physical player who totally has no offensive game....think of a smaller Jeff Foster. Balkman is bigger than most on this list, and would excel in a role guarding stronger perimeter players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and others.

    5. Ronnie Brewer, Utah Jazz. Brewer is a player I liked alot coming out of college, and I still do. If the Jazz and Pacers made a move of some sort, it would be smart of Indiana to insist on Brewer being included.

    6. Thabo Sefalosha, Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Pacers look like potential trading partners anyway, so it would be a smart move for Larry Bird to try and fleece the Bulls out of Sefalosha. He is extremely quick, moves his feet well, and is young and affordable. If the Pacers somehow made a deal with Chicago that included Kirk Hinrich and Thabo Sefalosha, I probably would start posting 10000 words every day proclaiming the greatness of it all. Sefalosha doesnt have the instincts of a great defender yet, but he is developing them with the more experience he gets, and I think he has potential to grow into a lock down wing defender. Yet another player I loved coming out of the draft a few years ago.

    7. Aaron Afflalo, Detroit Pistons. Afflalo was the pac 10 defensive player of the year in college, and this year has served as an apprentice playing behind Teyshaun Prince in Detroit. Afflalo has more offensive game than others on this list, and is young and cheap. AA was well taught under Ben Howland at UCLA, and will be in the league for many years as a jumpshooter/defender extraordinaire. Afflalo has been a huge winner at every level he has been at, and would fill a huge role for us. A few weeks ago I proposed a deal in the trade forum of Afflalo and the Pistons late first rounder for Shawne Williams. I think that deal makes alot of sense for both sides.

    8. Shane Battier, Houston. Battier is the ultimate personification of the type of player/person I want us to add, and would fill a gigantic role for us if for some reason we could get him. He is a bit older than I would like, but I added him to this "available shutdown defender" list for the simple reason that Houston is one of the only NBA teams who might feel the willingness and need to gamble and trade for Jamal Tinsley in the offseason, since their point guard situation is even worse than our own. It is easy to imagine Houston in scenarios trading Battier somewhere....how about us?


    PREMIER POTENTIAL WING DEFENDERS WE COULD DRAFT:

    1. Earl Clark, Louisville. Coming from Pitino's pressure system he should fit better than most would with Jim O'Brien's scheme. He is long and athletic, and possibly could become the type of "Derrick McKey" defender we could use. If we draft him at 11, his defense will be the reason, and would likely mean Shawne Williams (or someone else) days are numbered.

    2. Russell Westbrook, UCLA. Similar to Afflalo above, Westbrook is a quick, tough, smart, and well schooled defensive player. He will be able to play defensively at times against point guards too, particularly back ups or bigger "ones" Westbrook will likely be gone before we pick, although that is not a certainity at all. He'd struggle against some of the bigger guys we need to stop, but would conversley have a chance against quicker types, like Gilbert Arenas, for example.

    3. Kyle Weaver, Washington State. He has huge potential as a potential stopper athletically and toughness wise. Always had to guard the oppoents best player for Washington State, who runs a similar man to man scheme as we do. Weaver is physically strong, and can block and contest shots very well.

    4. Stanley Burrell, Xavier. Burrell transformed into a great defensive player at Xavier, who was one of the best coached teams in the country under New Castle native Sean Miller. He was the Atlantic 10's defensive player of the year, and was a huge asset to his team. He is a bit undersized (listed at somewhere between 6'4 and 6'2, hard to tell which is accurate), and likely won't be drafted. He in my view would be a great aset to have to help guard guys like Arenas, Iverson, Ben Gordon, and others....and would cost us nothing to acquire. He can defend somewhat bigger guys too, due to his work ethic, strength, and coachability. If he was a bit bigger, he would remind you all alot of another Xavier alum who is a similar player, James Posey of Boston.

    If I were coaching in the NBA, I'd want to have a guy like Burrell on my roster for specific defensive situations when I desperately needed a stop and had to guard a smaller guy, like Parker, Ginobili, Deron Williams, etc. If some western team doesnt sign Burrell, I'd be shocked. That is, unless we are smart and use our second rounder on him.


    Ok, that is my list of perimeter wing defenders. Please add yours if you like, and if you want to comment on some realistic ways we could add these guys to our roster in a smaller but very important deal, feel free to do so.




    As always, this is just my opinion.

    Tbird
    Last edited by thunderbird1245; 04-21-2008 at 12:16 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    I agree on Ross, but doubt they would take Tinsleys deal for him.

    Remember when Isaah made the trade with Chicago and said that we "needed some dogs"? I think we need a very similar trade now.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    I have to add Greg Buckner and even Adrian Griffin to your list.

    I think we can forget about Battier, or either Brewers. Although I must say I would LOVE to have Shane Battier on this team.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    That Artest guy is still a good wing defender.


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    Headband and Rec Specs rexnom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    We can't sign Ross outright?

    It might cost us but I feel as if all the changes that we make is signing him, draft a guy, and start him next to Danny, we'll be a playoff team.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    We can't because that would put us into the luxury tax.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    So, are we to assume these potential 'stoppers' would be starting at
    SG ahead of Dunleavy ? Assuming so, theoretically, I have no
    problem with that as long as Duns has been delt elsewhere
    $10mil per is too much for a backup). But not many of those
    names have enough offensive game to be solid starters. If not,
    it's tough to be a 'stopper' coming off the bench when the guys
    who need stopping start for the other team.

    Btw, Clark is returning to L'Ville.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    is our wing defense that much worse than any other spot? Any of those guys are an improvement because we sorely lack talent. However, I'd say we have better options to guard the wings than a defensive point or a big who would change any shots (I'm assuming JO is on the bench hurt).
    "They could turn out to be only innocent mathematicians, I suppose," muttered Woevre's section officer, de Decker.

    "'Only.'" Woevre was amused. "Someday you'll explain to me how that's possible. Seeing that, on the face of it, all mathematics leads, doesn't it, sooner or later, to some kind of human suffering."

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
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    We can't because that would put us into the luxury tax.
    Not if Jeff Foster opts out.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    3. Trenton Hassell, New Jersey. Hassell is a strong, older perimeter defender still under 30. He plays little in New Jersey, where he is blocked by Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. Hassell is a smart, veteran player who has been through the wars. He is also cheap. If we would make a bigger deal with the Nets for some other piece, getting Hassell included would be smart.
    Actually if we did trade JO for Carter, Hassell appears to be the likely player to be included to make the trade work. The only others with contracts that would make such a deal work would be Harris, Swift, and Van Horn. They won't trade Harris since he's their point guard of the future. Van Horn's contract won't be picked up. That leaves Swift who they like because they just traded for him.

    Your post as usual was very good and well thought out. My only other comment would be the obvious. That who we get in the draft will influence who we pursue later in the summer.

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterhead View Post
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    Not if Jeff Foster opts out.
    Jeff doesn't have an option.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcadian View Post
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    is our wing defense that much worse than any other spot? Any of those guys are an improvement because we sorely lack talent. However, I'd say we have better options to guard the wings than a defensive point or a big who would change any shots (I'm assuming JO is on the bench hurt).
    I disagree. I think when you can't defend the perimeter it breaks down your entire defense. If you have to help your PG or SG defend the drive everyone gets out of position and opens up easy passing lanes. The idea is to have both. You want good defense outside and a shot blocker waiting just in case. This forces a lot of long jumpshots, the lowest percentage shot on the floor.

    The Spurs and Pistons (With both Wallaces) have/had both.

    And yes, I think our perimeter defense is not only our biggest weakness, but among the worst in the league.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen View Post
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    Jeff doesn't have an option.
    Interesting, on Hoopshype they list next year as a player option. They are wrong on some things though, so it isn't surprising.

    Anyways, if he does have a PO I think he will use it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    I didn't say one was more important than the other. I said our wing players are better defenders than our point guard and bigs.
    Last edited by Arcadian; 04-20-2008 at 10:18 PM.
    "They could turn out to be only innocent mathematicians, I suppose," muttered Woevre's section officer, de Decker.

    "'Only.'" Woevre was amused. "Someday you'll explain to me how that's possible. Seeing that, on the face of it, all mathematics leads, doesn't it, sooner or later, to some kind of human suffering."

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    i'll take Ross and Balkman

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcadian View Post
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    I didn't say one was more important than the other. I said our wing players we better defenders than our point guard and bigs.
    I meant that I think our wing players are the reason for our poor defense. Dunleavy is a bad defender, and Granger isn't a good defender when asked to defend SG's. Plus, I include PG in my assessment of wing defense and we could have the worst PG defense in the league.

    I think Granger, Foster and a healthy O'neal are our only descent defenders on the roster, so I see what you're saying. We do need a little of everything.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Love to see Josh Smith defending!!!

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    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245
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    6. Thabo Sefalosha, Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Pacers look like potential trading partners anyway, so it would be a smart move for Larry Bird to try and fleece the Bulls out of Sefalosha. He is extremely quick, moves his feet well, and is young and afordable.
    Nothing to add on Thabo -- don't know much about him -- I just wanted to point out that when I first read your post I read that last word as "adorable" and had to do a double take.

    I would love to have any and all of Renaldo, Quinton or Aflalo. Battier obviously, too, but that isn't happening.

    Trevor Ariza has been my version of your "Quinton Ross" and UB's "Marquis" since he was in NY. Looks like he was finally getting run in LA before he went down, but the Lakers are so loaded nowadays that maybe he could become available.

    Tony Allen is also a free agent (I think). He was just coming back from that knee injury and most of yall probably just know him for that, but he's an uber-athlete who has always taken pride in his D. I doubt Boston let's him walk, but he'd be a nice pickup.

    Eduardo Najera, although not perimeter defense, could be a good pickup. Also a free agent.

    Desmond Mason is probably available for a one-year, stop-gap rental. Not sure I've seen him play in two years though, so his lateral quickness may be falling off.

    Keyon Dooling is a free agent. He's not a "stopper" but still better than anyone we have. Can score a little too. Probably a little too "Quisy"esque for my taste though and his lack of improvement doesn't really bode well.

    Like Simmons, I like DJ Strawberry. Maybe the Suns are still in the business of giving players away? Diener for DJ?

    Failing Ronnie Brewer, how bout Ronnie Price. He can guard some people right?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    I would like two birds with one stone. A pg that could defend and pass would be ideal.
    If you take Mike D out of the line up the question remains how do you replace his pts/game. A gurantee you its not with a defensive sg/sf that is other teams are willing to trade.

    I am ok with leaving the wings where they at and looking to stop the pg than the sg. Stopping the points scored while not being able to score points is not ideal in my eyes.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcadian View Post
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    I didn't say one was more important than the other. I said our wing players are better defenders than our point guard and bigs.
    Totally agree.

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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    TBird....this is something that we have discussed and agreed upon.

    Optimally, I actually would like to look further to not only acquire ( either through the draft and/or Free Agency ) a player that can defend / help pressure both PGs and SGs....I would look to see if we can acquire another one that can guard stronger the slower SGs and stronger SFs. I thought about this when we played the Lebrons. The sheer amount of energy that is needed to guard stronger SFs like Lebron wears down players like Granger ( much less anyone ). If we are able to get a stronger SF that can help keep up and pressure scoring SFs like Lebron by using their strength....I think that it would go a long way to improving our defense.

    As to the # of minutes that any perimeter defender can play....IMHO...there are purely roleplayers that can warrant between 10-15 minutes a game. If JO'B expands his likely rotation to a 9-man rotation while limiting players like Granger, Dunleavy and JONeal to 33-36 minutes a game....then I think that we would have enough minutes to get a Defensive minded Wing-Player some enough minutes to contribute over the course of the game.

    This hasn't been brought up yet....but if JO'B will not play a player that has decent offensive skills but has really poor defensive skills ( Ike ), will he feel the same about solid defensive minded players that has limited offensive skills?

    I guess the answer is "maybe" since Foster gets solid minutes.....but he's not an entirely one-dimensional player as he provides not only solid Big Man defense but superior rebounding. Unfortunately, there aren't that many Bruce Bowen's out there that can not only lockdown a player but hit an open 3pt shot on a consistent basis.

    As for who to go after in Free Agency: Quinton Ross or Ira Newble ( if I had a choice....I would want both )

    As for who to go after in the Draft: Kyle Weaver, Brandon Rush, Westbrook or Marcus Dove( Dove will likely go undrafted or some 2nd round pick )

    As for who to go after in some trade: Adrian Griffin, Greg Buckner and Trenton Hassell.

    Although it's obvious to us that we need a defensive specialist....I still have no clue as to whether Bird realizes this or not. My hope is that we can trade Marquis and Ike to free up the necesary Cap space to make some FA moves and go after Quinton Ross. I'm guessing a 2-3 mil / 3 year contract should do it. I know that this maybe too much for a roleplayer.....but there is a reason why players like Trenton Hassell and Raja Bell are highly sought players that are usually locked down to 3-4 year long term contracts.....teams need players like them and once you get one...teams want to be sure that they are kept for the immediate future.
    Last edited by CableKC; 04-20-2008 at 11:57 PM.
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Quote Originally Posted by Rajah Brown View Post
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    So, are we to assume these potential 'stoppers' would be starting at
    SG ahead of Dunleavy ? Assuming so, theoretically, I have no
    problem with that as long as Duns has been delt elsewhere
    $10mil per is too much for a backup). But not many of those
    names have enough offensive game to be solid starters. If not,
    it's tough to be a 'stopper' coming off the bench when the guys
    who need stopping start for the other team.

    Btw, Clark is returning to L'Ville.
    manu comes off the bench...

    on the actual topic i have no names to add but feel as though Ross is our best and most easily doable option.
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    Member Moses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Another good defensive player we could draft, possibly with our 2nd pick is Michael Flowers from Wisconsin. He impressed me in the tournament with the exception of getting lit up by Curry...but he did everything humanly possible to stop him 1 on 1..he just never got any help/double teams from his teammates.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Don't know if this player would have to start or not. Understand the playing time concern if Dun and Granger are both still here.

    If you can somehow acquire one of these guys and a PG that's at least a defensive upgrade, maybe that allows you to play those two positions opposite (start-bench) other than in certain game situations. This would allow both our wings to continue to start.

    Last thought, it's not so much who starts but who finishes and I think there could be time split between three guys at two positions (SF-SG). Plus, if JO's here I fully expect him to miss at least 25-30 games so we'll see the inevitable small ball again allowing those three to get on the court plenty.
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    Default Re: Tbird analysis: Identifying available wing defensive players who fill a huge need

    Thabo Sefalosha and Chris Duhon can probably be acquired from Chi-town. Actually Duhon is a free agent, and out of favor there. The only thing about Duhon seems to be maturity. If he can be reeled in, he's a pretty good defensive pg, and a good 3 shooter.

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