Here’s an assessment and outlook for the players who played a serious role in the past season, injured or not.
JO – A perennially injured player with a $20 million/yr contract. Is incapable of ‘taking over a game’ even when healthy. Can ‘create’ his own shot, but with a low percentage. Probably doen’t contribute to ‘team chemistry’ because he demands the ball when on the court but can’t deliver. An outstanding defensive player and could easily be defensive player of the year if he put his mind to it. No off-court issues. Bottom line: will NOT be traded and will start but due to his health issues will see action in less than 55 games.
Tins – There’s something going on with Jamal besides ‘injury’. Attitude, maybe? He seemed ideal for JOB’s ill-advised ‘uptempo’ philosophy, i.e., unforced turnovers, impossible 3’s, ineffective offensive rebounding and terrible defense. Something happened to Jamal this past season between game 15 – 20. What? He has a terrible off-court record. Salary’s not that bad. No longer young but I believe has upside potential in the right situation. Bottom line: will be traded.
Granger – Our current ‘star’, a very solid player. He’s no Ron Artest on defense (who is?), but he’s good enough in terms of perimeter defensive. No off-court issues. DG is now the face of the current franchise. Had a break-out year in 07/08 – thanks to JO injury. Untouchable in terms of trade. Bottom line: will continue as a starter next season. Note, this guy deserves a cool nick-name.
Murph – Gave us all he’s got, but JOB is right, on a playoff-bound West Coast team, he would not be a starter. Dependable, doesn’t sulk with lame injuries when he takes a breather on the bench. Despite size, plays as a shooting guard. Accuracy is inconsistent, and takes way too many threes. Can’t defend consistently either. True front-court team mates get into foul trouble trying to help out on his defensive lapses. Makes way too many $ for his value and his contract is too long. No off-court issues. Bottom line: will be offered as trade bait, but will probably be a Pacer next season. This is not all bad as he will handle JO’s duties when JO is on the bench with injuries.
Dunlevy – Just finished his best season ever as a pro. He’s an excellent ball handler for his size. His size and transition game puts a lot of pressure on opponents defense. Best 3-point shooter on the team and fits JOB’s misguided game plan (you know, heave a 3 with 16 seconds on the clock). A liability on defense, but then so was Reggie in his later years. Can play at two positions. Salary not out-of-line for last season’s performance. Zero issues off-court. Bottom line: Mike will be a Pacer next season, and will start!
Foster – It’s hard not to like this guy. He doesn’t complain, leaves everything he has on the floor, a fundamentally very solid non-scoring, rebounding and defensive specialist. Plays better defense than anyone on the team because he plays ‘position defense’. Actually sets picks and blocks out (a novel idea!). Pay’s reasonable and there are no off-court problems. Bottom line: May be offered as trade bait but he’ll be back and he’ll start more games than not.
Williams – Has nice size and athletic ability but is dumber than mud. You know, bought a car but drives without a license (every 16-year old kid in America knows you need a driver’s license). Didn’t show up for court date. Hangs with drug user, gun carrying buddy and a wanted murderer so he wouldn’t pass anyone’s man-in-the-street IQ test. Didn’t develop much this past season but shows promise and isn’t especially strong, defensively. His salary makes him tradable. Bottom line: Will be traded in order to cleanse the collective team character, hopefully for a late 1st-round draft pick.
Diener – Amazing assist-to-turnover ratio. Much better than he looks because let’s face it, he appears to be in the 9th grade. I want him on the floor late in the 4th Q if we have at least a 6 point lead. Can’t really create a winning shot if you need a basket but he’s a great insurance policy when you have JT for a starter. Can get you a 3 when you need it since defensively opponents drop off him to double guys in the paint. No known off-court issues and has a reasonable contract. Can’t imagine he’s in demand for trading purposes. Bottom line: He’ll be a Pacer next season and there will be nights when we’ll be glad we have him.
Murray – Nice size for a point guard. Can hit the 3. Inconsistent from night-to-night and at both ends of the floor. Low in basketball IQ but seems like there is upside potential if he get playing time. No publicly known team chemistry issues and has behaved off-court at least so far. Cheap and contract length is ideal. Bottom line: Will continue as a Pacer next season, perhaps as a back-up if the team finagles a true point guard.
Everyone Else On the Roster Including Ike – Trade fodder for the rebuilding that has to come.