Heading into the offseason, the Indiana Pacers had one main need. Many people said they needed a big man to help Hibbert carry the load, but that wasn’t the main need. The actual fans of the Pacers knew that their need was for a true point guard to run the team. After having bad experiences over the past few seasons with Jamaal Tinsley, T.J. Ford, and Earl Watson, they finally have gotten their all-around point guard.
On August 11, 2010, the Indiana Pacers were able to acquire Darren Collison from the New Orleans Hornets in a four-team, five-player trade. They received both Collison and James Posey, in return for just Troy Murphy. The Nets received Murphy, while the Hornets got Trevor Ariza from Houston, and the Rockets got Courtney Lee, which also gets them more cap room next season.
Some people are still hating on the Pacers, but why? Their roster is set up very nicely. Their starting lineup is going to look like this:
PG: Darren Collison
SG: Brandon Rush
SF: Danny Granger
C: Roy Hibbert
Granted, the Pacers are weak at power forward, but those three young players are very hungry to play and that will help them all improve. First, Tyler Hansbrough probably is the best all around player out of those three, but his inner ear problems and headaches could very well keep him out most of the preseason and possibly some regular season games. Magnum Rolle was just selected with the third to last pick in the second round in this past offseason’s Draft, and he really made his presence known in the Summer League for the Pacers. He has a nice mid-range jump shot, and also is a great shot blocker and rebounder as well. McRoberts is the most interesting prospect out of these three. He’s gotten limited playing time for Indiana the past few seasons, but when he has played he’s showed great potential. Josh has improved his three point shooting, and alongside that is a very energetic and athletic player. Out of these three players I expect a healthy Hansbrough would start, but that Magnum Rolle would be the next in line with McRoberts being the third string power forward, but also getting playing time at the center position.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the power forward situation, let’s take a look at the bench. The Pacers are going to be a very deep team this year with guys like Dahntay Jones, two of the power forwards listed above, A.J. Price when he returns from his injury, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster, Paul George, and Lance Stephenson. The bench is going to be a major factor in whether the Pacers are a playoff team, or a lottery team this season. If the bench can come in and score a good amount per game, they’ll be fine. However, if the bench is unable to score, then the Pacers will not be able to hold off other teams’ starting lineups. Indiana has a decent starting lineup, but obviously shooting guard and power forward are not going to be that great, so it just shows how important it is that the Pacers win the second-team battle night-in and night-out.
Once again the Pacers will be playing under Jim O’Brien. I’m wondering how well ‘Collison is going to fit into that system. He’s a decent shooter, but from everything I saw from him last season, he likes to get to the basket more. Now I’m not saying that he won’t be allowed to drive as much as he did in New Orleans, but with O’Brien you never know. All that being said, I really think that things will work out and Collison will be a huge addition for the team, both now and in the future.
Overall, this move makes the Pacers a lot better. They finally get a true passing and scoring point guard. The issue from the point guard spot over the last few years is that they haven’t had a guard that could do both of those things. Jamaal Tinsley was mainly a scoring point guard but had some outbreaks of passing. Ford was a scoring point guard only who never passed the ball. Last but not least, Watson passed a lot and just wasn’t able to put the ball in the bucket. Indiana isn’t going to have that problem with Darren Collison, as he proved last season that he can both score and pass at the same time. I personally believe that the Pacers are now a playoff team after making this move. A #7 or #8 seed is the highest they’ll get, but at least they’ll get back into the postseason.