NBA Indiana Pacers

5 Changes the Indiana Pacers Must Make This Offseason

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5 Changes the Indiana Pacers Must Make This Offseason

Robert Mayer-USA Today Sports

When the Indiana Pacers lost All-Star forward Danny Granger to a knee injury that forced him to miss pretty much the entire 2012-13 season, people wondered how well the team would respond to adversity. The team struggled mightily in their first 10 games, winning only four of them, but they later had a strong outing in December. However, they also lost five of their last six games, which dropped them to number three in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They beat the Atlanta Hawks convincingly at home but failed to take a road win until Game 6. They upset the New York Knicks in the second round and nearly advanced to the NBA Finals against the top-seeded Miami Heat.

The Pacers have always been known for their defense, as they play physical and with tenacity. It's their offense that needs work. Their points per game and assists per game are both near the bottom of the standings. They could never get into a rhythm. Paul George, third year man out of Fresno State, filled in admirably for Granger at the small forward spot. He averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists. His increased output won him Most Improved Player and selections to the All-NBA Third Team and All-Defensive 2nd Team. Lance Stephenson was inserted into the starting lineup to replace George at shooting guard. These moves made the Pacers' bench weaker.

The team drafted Solomon Hill, a small forward. They already have many wings. Does that mean Granger will be traded? Tyler Hansbrough is headed to the Toronto Raptors. They'll need a backup power forward to replace him. In addition, assistant head coach Brian Shaw is now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets. With a few more changes, the Pacers can be better than they are now.

Robert Lin is a writer for Follow him on Twitter: @rlin2k or add him to your Google network.

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Refine the Offensive System

Robert Mayer-USA Today Sports

Last season, the Pacers averaged 94.7 points per game and had only 20.3 assists per game. That's 23rd and 28th overall, respectively. That means that as good as their defense is, they struggle to score compared to most teams and to get easy shots. Yes, defense wins championships, but if the team can't score then they can't win either.

In the regular season, starting point guard George Hill averaged a measly 4.7 assists per game. During the playoffs, it was George, their small forward, who led the team in assists. In addition, the team often used up the entire shot clock before chucking up a bad shot. So either they get out in transition for easy baskets from steals or they change the offensive system so that there is more ball movement to get open shots.

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Acquire More Three-Point Shooters

Jamie Rhodes-USA Today Sports

The Pacers averaged about 30 percent from three point land during the playoffs. Their main outside shooters were George and Hill at 33 percent and 35 percent respectively. They've got to find more guys that can shoot from outside. It enables David West and Roy Hibbert to post up down low. If the defense double teams them, the three-point shot would be open. However, if the team can't consistently shoot from outside, then the defense can live with giving them open jump shots. The problem with the Pacers is that their two best three-point shooters are Hill and DJ Augustin--both small guards. They're a liability on defense and are not very good setting up their teammates.

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Fill the Void left by Tyler Hansbrough's Departure

Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

Tyler Hansbrough is heading to the Raptors as the Pacers have decided not to match. Hansbrough was the team's junkyard dog. He hustled after rebounds and loose balls, and his energy off the bench will be missed. The team should look for another power forward to fill his spot. For the time being, Ben Wallace is tutoring Solomon Hill to be that hustle player.

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Trade Danny Granger

Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports

The Pacers drafted Hill, a small forward. George has filled in admirably for Granger. The team also has Gerald Green and Chris Copeland which gives them a lot of small forwards. The only player with true trade value is Granger. The Pacers would rather keep George because he's younger and cheaper. The team can trade Granger for a point guard or power forward, two spots that need attention.

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Hire a New Assistant Head Coach

Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

Shaw has become the Nuggets' new head coach. The Pacers' have said he was instrumental in developing their young players. Coach Frank Vogel will need to hire a new assistant coach, preferably one who is offensive minded.