The Indiana Pacers gave the Miami Heat everything the back-to-back NBA Champions could have asked for in the Eastern Conference Finals. This summer they seemed to have made it a priority to add shooters to their bench, one of the things that proved to be a real weakness for them in the playoffs, particularly against Miami.
Indiana seems to have done that on Friday afternoon when, according to a report from ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling, the Pacers agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract with 29-year-old swingman Chris Copeland, who played his first NBA season last year with the New York Knicks. Copeland was a restricted free agent, but the Knicks could only offer $1.7 million next season, so they were instantly unable to match Indiana’s offer sheet..
The 6’8” small forward appeared in 56 games for the Knicks last season and played 15.4 minutes per game. Overall he averaged 8.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game while shooting an admirable 47.9 percent from the field and a solid 42.1 percent from beyond-the-arc.
One thing that was impressive about Copeland last season was how well he played when he was inserted into the starting lineup on occasion. He started 13 games for the Knicks last season and averaged 16.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three in 27.2 minutes per game.
Copeland’s playing time with the Pacers will likely fall between the overall minutes he played last season and the minutes he played as a starter last season, but there’s no reason to believe that his production will be any less efficient on the offensive end, which will give Indiana’s bench a huge lift. This signing seems like a great deal for the Pacers.