The Indiana Pacers completed one of the bigger trades of the off-season when they completed a deal with the Phoenix Suns that landed them Luis Scola. The general consensus on the trade is that Scola will add a solid offensive threat to the Pacers’ bench, one of their areas of weakness over the 2012-2013 NBA season and the postseason.
There’s no doubt that Scola will give the Pacers’ bench more offensive firepower, but he might also take away opportunities from another one of Indiana’s signing from this off-season in Chris Copeland.
Last year as a 28-year-old rookie with the New York Knicks, Copeland left a lot of analysts and fans raving about his potential. He averaged 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in just 15.4 minutes per game and also shot a solid 47.9 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from three. Watching Copeland in his first NBA season, it was clear that he has a lot of potential as an offensive player in this league.
When the Pacers landed Copeland this summer as a free-agent, he was looked at as a guy that could add some offense to the Pacers’ bench. However, with Scola coming to town, that might push Copeland out of the rotation.
Copeland can either play at the three or play the four in somewhat of a small-ball lineup, but with starters Paul George and David West already set and Danny Granger and now Scola coming off of the bench, Copeland really doesn’t seem to have a place in that rotation.
The Pacers’ options going forward seem pretty simple. Either they signed Copeland as insurance for injury or they are hoping to deal Granger in the near future. With Granger’s injury history, the Pacers’ success without him and Copeland’s potential, the latter option may be the best one for Indiana. We shall see what goes down over the rest of the summer.