Also, the veteran leadership of David West helped Indiana throughout the tough times of the season. Well, next season, we may see a better frontcourt in Indiana.
This season overall for Hibbert and West should be better. Hibbert was coming off a big contract signing, but was silently suffering through a wrist injury the first half of the season. If he can play even close to how he was in the playoffs last season, he will be a dominant force in this league and very tough to stop.
West was the leader of the team last year, and that’s most likely how it will be again this season. West is coming off a fresh new contract and craves for a championship. Very few can control West when he gets hot and with title hopes in his mind, he will be even more of a beast than we’ve seen.
Now, we look at the bench. We have Tyler Hansbrough now in Toronto, and Ian Mahinmi still backing up Hibbert. Hansbrough being gone is a good thing for this team as he brought hustle and heart, but lacked in putting up points and making it count at the line.
Rumors were flooding social media about a possible trade where the Pacers would bring in veteran power forward Luis Scola, and those rumors were proved true Saturday morning. Scola isn’t only a replacement for Hansbrough, but a major upgrade. Scola, even at an older age, can beat anyone in the post and will give Indiana good minutes off the bench.
Indiana needed bench scoring, and they surely got that in Scola. Backing up Hibbert is Mahinmi. Mahinmi didn’t have the best season last year, but showed potential. To me, it seemed every time he drove to the basket, he either got fouled or made the shot. With his athletic and big body, it surprised me that he didn’t take it to the hole every play.
Mahinmi also had a nice jump-shot and had some blocked shots here and there. If Mahinmi executes where he has the advantage more often next season, he will put up much better numbers.
Indiana has one deep frontcourt and as long as no major injuries pop up, it will be tough for anyone to stop it next season.