Indiana Pacers Should Add Bench Help Before Thursday’s Trade Deadline
Despite possessing the third-best record in the Eastern Conference and the league’s stingiest defense, the Pacers have gotten very little from their reserves to this point in the season. Two players that were brought in this past summer as possible remedies to this current problem — D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green — have fallen short, to say the least.
Augustin, a 25-year old point guard, is currently shooting 33 percent from behind the arc and just 35.7 percent on 2s. Both are terrible marks for any guard, let alone one who struggles to draw fouls and finish near the basket. However, Augustin is a pass-first lead guard who needs shooters that can space the floor and a big that can play the two-man game with him — two features the Pacers’ bench doesn’t employ.
Even though the Augustin experiment has failed the Pacers to this point, he’s playing under a one-year deal, but the same can’t be said for Green, who Indiana has locked in for the next three seasons at $3.5 million per. Green seemed to finally start to figure things out last year after some time in the D-League, but hasn’t been able to replicate that production this season. His 7.44 Player Efficiency Rating (15 is seen as average) is the lowest it’s ever been in his career and he’s only connecting on 28 percent of his three-point shots. Green simply hasn’t been able to be the floor-spacing shooter the Pacers thought they were getting.
Some will point to Danny Granger’s eventual return from injury as the scoring punch Indiana desperately needs and call it a mid-season acquisition in itself. Granger’s inevitable move to the starting lineup once he’s fully healthy will slide the surprisingly productive Lance Stephenson to the bench, but his presence alone can’t fix the current issues.
Last season on Deadline Day, the Pacers flipped their 2012 second-round draft pick to the Toronto Raptors for combo guard Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa proved to be a valuable reserve for a team that gave the Miami Heat everything they could handle in last year’s playoffs.
A similar move this time around is another step the Pacers should take in potentially knocking off the reigning NBA champions.
Brandon Curry is an NBA Blogger for Rant Sports. Follow Brandon on Twitter @ByBrandonCurry.