Since the devastating injury to Indiana Pacers‘ Paul George, the team has been searching for ways to use this terrible accident to their advantage. The focus is no longer on winning a championship right now, for it has shifted to preparation for George’s return.
The Pacers had been slowly declining towards the end of the 2013-2014 season and into the playoffs, and guys like Roy Hibbert certainly lost the passion. Even before the loss of George, Indiana had been slipping from contender to pretender. The loss of Lance Stephenson degraded this team immediately from a top three spot down to top six. Now with rising star George out for the season, the team would be better off tanking.
Hibbert should be moved while Indiana can still get great assets in return, and most importantly, the Pacers don’t need him. The last half of the 2013-14 season proved that Hibbert isn’t working in the Pacer system. Also, he’s only averaged 11 points and under seven rebounds per game throughout his career. Certainly not a dominant or even threatening figure below the rim. He doesn’t utilize his 7-foot-2 height to his advantage. Therefore, Indiana would be smart to get what they can and cut their losses.
After the 2014-2015 season, Hibbert will be asking for a max deal contract which the Pacers will not be willing to give him. Indiana has been rumored to be shopping Hibbert to the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns. Both trades seem highly unlikely because Goran Dragic of the Suns is highly valued in that organization, and the Pistons don’t need a center because they have Andre Drummond. Regardless of where he goes, the Pacers should still try to move him to gain assets such as first-round draft picks and a few up-and-coming role players.
The Pacers would then have two solid first-round draft picks by finishing poorly in the standings and picking one up in exchange for Hibbert. These will be highly valuable, for the upcoming draft class looks to be just as strong as this past year. Then when George returns, there will be better pieces around him, and the Pacers can make a more legitimate run at the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers in the central division.