Pacers Stick To Underwhelming Deals

Few in the executive offices around the NBA command more respect than Donnie Walsh. Likewise, few GMs from generation-next created more buzz than Kevin Pritchard, both when he got hired and unceremoniously dumped in Portland.

But trusting in the wisdom of the men making the deals isn’t the same thing as trusting one’s own eyes when assessing personnel moves. That’s why the Indiana Pacers’ latest maneuvers triggered so much head-scratching among the team’s fans and here at Sekou’s Hang Time hideout.

Darren Collison, a legitimate starting point guard but one who finished last season coming off the Pacers bench, is gone. So is wing defender Dahntay Jones, reserve scorer Leandro Barbosa and off-the-bench big Louis Amundson. They’ve been replaced by D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green, Ian Mahinmi and rookie center Miles Plumlee – well, replaced might not be the best word, so let’s say their roster spots have been taken by those newcomers.

Doesn’t seem like much, as judged here at HTH. Not even a push, never mind an upgrade to the Pacers’ roster. And that’s what Indiana was hoping for, wasn’t it, a surgical move or two to vault it into close-second status in the Eastern Conference this season behind the Miami Heat?

Beat-writer extraordinaire Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star tried to explain the moves to a fan base growing increasingly restless:

Fans don’t like what they’ve seen so far. Some already want Walsh to retire and Pritchard to go somewhere else.

Have the moves been flashy? Not even close.

Are the moves good enough to catch Miami in the Eastern Conference? Not as long as the Heat have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

But it’s all about progression for the Pacers.

They had no choice but to trade point guard Darren Collison…

Wells then explains that Collison, though he said he would be willing to continue as George Hill’s backup, really wasn’t happy in that role. Well, that shouldn’t have bothered the Pacers one bit – would they prefer a backup who doesn’t burn to start? Even then, Collison figured to have trade value in excess of Mahinmi – that deal withDallasseemed to gift the point guard and Jones to the Mavericks. Augustin doesn’t have nearly the juice, and can leave next summer as a free agent anyway.

Moving out some of the other players while trusting the latest mature version of Green, compared to all his previous incarnations, might not be the most sound decision either.

There’s a tendency to rely on Walsh and Pritchard, based on the basketball bank accounts both have amassed in their careers. But for a team that had the Heat down 2-1 in their best-of-seven East semifinals, for a club that was thinking about an Eric Gordon signing as this offseason’s signature move – as well as retaining center Roy Hibbert and point guard George Hill – the Pacers’ approach of one step forward, maybe two back, is hard to embrace.

6 Comments

  1. GSW15 says:

    Augustin is just as good as Collison. Mahinmi has alot of potential to become great. and Gerald Green is a great defender. But David West needs to put up all star stats like he did in NO for the Pacers to be frightening. Sure he played well for someone coming off a torn ACL, but it wasnt as great as his All star year. with a full offseason, this team can contend for the title.

  2. jrich says:

    Well i think he’s been officially resigned but its not on here. And btw all those new players, if even a little, are an upgrade from what they had, with the exception of collison. greens better than jones and barbosa, and mahinmi is better than amundson for sure. Also, augustin was a starter so idk how the pacers are taking a step back. The bench that was heavily relied on during the season didn’t even exist in the postseason. This guy’s crazy. The one thing though I think the pacers should’ve done was get oj mayo, but besides that, I don’t see any reason for complaint

    • dwest says:

      “Also, augustin was a starter”
      … on the Bobcats. Dawg, Collison was and is a legit top-20 pg in the league. Augustin is a backup at best to a decent pg. Green is risky and losing Barbosa who figured to be a damn good 6th man is a questionable move. Most of all though in order to contend in East they needed a big move – get rid of Granger and get a real star maybe?

  3. Travis says:

    Why isn’t anyone talking about Hibbert? Am I missing something here?

  4. Me says:

    But that’s the shyt about Indiana, they make it so easy for ppl to dismiss em but they could’ve (almost) won against Heat, they lost focus and got too ahead of themselves and that, I believe, is why they lost. On the other hand, Heat underestimated em, hence if they didn’t get too ahead of themselves e.g. with the choking gestures n what not, they would have won against em.

    • two says:

      For a while I thought it was going to be Spurs – Pacers in the finals, an outcome with probably the least ratings of all possible combinations, ha. Would have been fun to watch nonetheless.

      Ah well, we can all dream.