The Indiana Pacers have continued to be active this offseason by attending to their most pressing need — the bench. We know the starting lineup, whether it be Danny Granger or Lance Stephenson, is one of the best in the league, but when the team went to the bench last season it often ended in disaster.
With that in mind, the Pacers went out and got CJ Watson to replace DJ Augustin (should be a significant upgrade) — and now we hear they have signed guard Donald Sloan to a multi-year contract to be the team's third-string (ie, insurance policy) point guard. This essentially means the end of the Ben Hansbrough experiment, and let's face it, as much heart as Baby Hansbrough has he just isn't cut out to be an NBA rotation player.
Sloan has good size at 6'3" and averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 assists and 16.6 minutes in 56 games career games. He has also played extensively in the D-League.
The Pacers' bench also needed some more outside shooting, so they went and signed Knick forward Chris Copeland, who lit up the Pacers during the second round of the just-concluded playoffs. Copeland is a 6'9" sharpshooter who can play both forward positions, though his defense is allegedly a weakness. But from what I've seen of him, he can hit open jumpers with confidence and is a real high energy guy the Pacers could use to give the second unit a boost.
I don't mind either signing since they are cheap and the Pacers cannot afford to be big spenders, but there are still a couple of big problems the team needs to address. The first is the backup power forward position, which at the moment remains unaccounted for. The Pacers have rescinded their qualifying offer to the incumbent Tyler Hansbrough, meaning he won't be back, but will likely sign former third-string PF Jeff Pendergraph to a cheap contract. But while I like Penders, would the Pacers really feel safe with him (and Copeland or second-year player Miles Plumlee) filling out that crucial role?
I heard the Pacers were after Robin Lopez to backup Roy Hibbert so Ian Mahinmi could be shifted to backup PF, but Lopez has been snatched up by the trailblazers. Carl Landry, who is probably overrated anyway, is heading back to Sacramento. So I guess maybe Penders will have to do for now.
The Pacers have said all along that they want to keep Danny Granger, who is in the last year of his fat contract, but right now they have an overload of small forwards. Paul George is a small forward, Chris Copeland is a small forward, rookie Solomon Hill is a small forward, and Gerald Green, whom they would love to give away, is a small forward. Assuming they can find a taker for Green, that's still one small forward too many.
Does that mean they would like Granger to play more at the four, or are they looking to move him?