The Indiana Pacers decided to tune-up their bench this offseason, which ranked near the bottom of the league in production, by being very aggressive in who they went after. The Pacers picked up forward Chris Copeland from the New York Knicks who will be wearing the number 22 jersey this year. Aside from the late surge last year, most fans are wondering just who Copeland is.
You can’t look at the season stats of Copeland and decide whether or not he was a good pick up. He recorded 8.7 points per game, 2.1 rebounds per game, and .5 assists per game. Those are typical numbers by a second-year player who did not get much playing time until the end of the season when the Knicks had already locked up a playoff spot. In his last two games as a Knick, Copeland recorded 32 points and 33 points respectively and shot better than 50 percent in those games.
The second year player out of Colorado was an unknown name most of the year until he won the NBA Rookie of the Month award in April 2013. During that span, he shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and near 45 percent beyond the arc. In his short career with the NBA, he shoots nearly 48 percent from the floor and 42 percent from downtown.
The Knicks signed Copeland after his impressive performance in the 2012 league games in Las Vegas. During that time he averaged 22.8 minutes per game scoring about 13.8 points per game while shooting nearly 47 percent from the floor. So with all these numbers, how does he fit into an already deep Pacers lineup?
Copeland may have trouble seeing some playing time this year. It all depends on what coach Frank Vogel may do with forwards Danny Granger and Paul George with whether or not Granger will come off the bench. If Granger does come off the bench, Copeland may have some problems finding some time on the court. However, the Miami Heat caused problems with the Pacers during the finals last year when power forward David West had to guard Heat forward Chris Bosh, which was very difficult for West. The Pacers will definitely not make West come off the bench, but look for Copeland to assist West in the guarding of Bosh. Also, look for him to be used to counter some of the matchup problems the Pacers will face this year.