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Our beloved Pacers ended this unsuccessful NBA-season for their part with the following 15 players on their roster.
• Jamaal Tinsley
• Flip Murray
• Travis Diener
• Andre Owens
• Kareem Rush
• Marquis Daniels
• Stephen Graham
• Danny Granger
• Mike Dunleavy
• Shawne Williams
• Jermaine O'Neal
• Troy Murphy
• Ike Diogu
• Jeff Foster
• David Harrison
I think now it's time to ponder which players should and/or will return to the team for the start of the next season. Here is my conclusion for this matter based on a short yet impartial player-by-player positional evaluation.
• Tinsley has been inactive quite often because of repetitive injuries and has become more and more unpopular among fans. He is pretty productive, but we cannot afford to let him mainly not be able to play. We absolutely need a reliable PG as a starter. So he should be traded.
• Murray was a starter lately but didn't finish games often. He is a free agent and should be used as a combo guard. He could return because he can score and thus clearly carry some scoring load as a backup SG. However, he needs to be a bigger force defensively than he has been.
• Diener shouldn't start games. He is too small and unathletic to guard opponent's starter, but he has some nice basketball IQ, he doesn't turn the ball over too often and can push the tempo up when needed offensively. He could well be used as a trade bait or as a sweetener.
• Owens didn't earn much minutes late in the season. He obviously doesn't have quality playmaking skills, but he seems to be a capable perimeter defender, which is useful in our team. He is a free agent and in case his price tag ain't too high we could re-sign him as a filler PG.
Tinsley, Murray and Owens won't be back, Diener will be back
• Rush had his ups and downs during the season. Surely, he wasn't as consistant as we wished. He is a decent defender, but as a distance shooter too one-dimensional offensively. He is a free agent and likely will be offered such a deal elsewhere that we have no sense to match.
• Daniels has been a disappointment to some degree. He simply ain't as productive as we hoped. Also, he has some off-the-court baggage.
He can play multiple positions and create scoring chances with his penetration, so he has value. Trading him would be best thing to do.
• Graham didn't play much this season. He is a free agent with no special strengths. Typically he just got some garbage time, or DNP-CD, under his belt and even though he was relatively efficient, all indicates that he ain't going to be in our plans for upcoming season.
Rush and Graham won't be back, Daniels will be back
• Granger certainly established himself as one of our best players this season, if not the best. He is developing perhaps towards stardom. He definately has considerable value in the league, especially with his present contract, but we need to keep him and give him an extension.
• Dunleavy was considered as one of the most improved players this season. He was very important for us offensively. Trading him should be investigated carefully, because his salary is high and his value is now surely at its highest. Nonetheless, he should be keeped as yet.
• Williams is a project and accordingly he has been given some time to mature and develop. However, he seems sort of jammed in this SF position. Add to this his inconsistancy and some off-the-court issues
and figure that he should now be traded maybe for a good draft pick.
Granger, Dunleavy and Williams will all be back
• O'Neal was once again injured for the large part of the season. He proved to be defensive stopper in the paint, but it seems that he has lost a step in the offensive end. His salary is huge and we could invest that money better by trading him and getting a few pieces in return.
• Murphy offered some inside-outside scoring and rebounded decently while nicely improved during the season. He struggles defensively but he can shoot the ball. Because he has relatively such a high salary, he could well be traded, but probably is still worth using as a backup.
• Diogu didn't get meaningful minutes regularly in spite of O'Neal's absense. He is considered as somewhat undersized for his position. He could score inside but clearly ain't a good team defender. He has no real use and thus should be used as a trade bait or as a sweetener.
Diogu won't be back, O'Neal and Murphy will be back
• Foster is a valuable hustle player with limited scoring skills. He does
continuously a lot of dirty work on the court. Every team simply needs that kind of willingness. He is also a very dependable postup defender and rebounder. He is still very useful, mainly as a backup C though.
• Harrison was practically our lone true C, but he didn't respond to that well enough. He wasn't such a force on both ends of the floor that we sure would have liked him to be. He also had a serious disciplinary problem. He is a restricted free agent and ain't considered to return.
Harrison won't be back, Foster will be back
This is how Pacers' depth chart should present itself, in my opinion (starter/backup/filler) after these suggested changes are made.
Now I will try to suggest what type of players we are going to need to fill in holes in this depth chart in order to get a full roster.
1. First and foremost we need a star-caliber PG. No matter how. Not necessarily a superstar, but a very good offensive-defensive weapon, to say the least. He mustorchestrate our team and be good at that.
- We would also like to have an offensive-minded backup PG. Owens could serve as a filler. I don't mind bringing back Diener as a backup PG, but then he shouldn't play nearly as many minutes as this season.
2. Defensive-minded SG, please. He should be our best perimeter defender, maybe capable to defend multiple positions. We don't need him to score much, just to stop opponent's best perimeter scorer.
- Then Murray could be our backup SG. He could also operate some PG duties. Furthermore, we would use a filler for SG. He should be able to shoot the ball. Rush would do fine provided his price tag ain't too high.
3. In case Williams will be traded, which I recommend, we could use a filler SF. Most likely he ain't going to play any significant minutes next season, so therefore his contract shouldn't be massive, nor his duties.
- Dunleavy could actually play as our sixth man, compared to Ginobili of the Spurs, for example. Of course, Dunleavy will eventually play major minutes out of position, like this season, together with Granger.
4. If O'Neal will be traded (most likely he is not going to opt out of his contract) we definately need a decent substitute for him. Preferably not even nearly as expensive. This sub should be able to defend well.
- Surely Murphy could start but it's better to have him as an offensive-minded backup sharing big minutes as PF with a newcomer starter PF. We also would hire a filler. He will be a bench layer for the most part.
5. In our system, a real inside presence would be very attractive. So we would love a dominator of the boards as starter C. We didn't have any this season with O'Neal sidelined. Use some big bucks to get this.
- With offensive-minded starting C Foster would fit in nicely for us as a supplementary backup C. As a filler we would like to have a big body, maybe a project much like Harrison. A promising big C surely is useful.
So, as I see it, we would indeed need pretty many new quality players in our team - perhaps as many as four new starters! But I must point out that we do have several ways to obtain them, naturally through trades, draft and free agency. To my understanding, by trading some of our assets presented above should all this revamping be possible.
I guess it's also worth keeping in mind that we need to be open for any improvements of the team we can get. This means that anybody should be tradable if opportunity comes. Building a team is very multidimensional thing in its entirety. Making one change affects to many things, tiny as they may be. (This part was for Larry Bird, )
There are two steps for us to get a competive team next season. Firstly, we must quickly get rid of all the bad or inappropriate parts, that is to say players that for some reason don't fit in to this team. Secondly, we just need to get the players necessary to accomplish this job. As simple as that. Here I have tried to address the first step.
I would like you to take a stand for this topic. Please feel free to express your opinion. Thank you for your attention!