Pacers could contend if they make moves
by Bob Kravitz, USA TODAY Sports
It’s not enough for the Indiana Pacers to win 50-plus games and go deep into the playoffs. It’s not enough for them to be a really good team that has a chance to take the Miami Heat to the edge and make them sweat, as they did one year ago.
The bar has to be raised higher, an NBA Finals appearance or bust, and there’s only one way that’s going to happen:
Before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, team President Donnie Walsh and general manager Kevin Pritchard must make a season-changing deal.
If they maintain the status quo, they can compete and be interesting in the postseason.
If they change the team — add a bench scorer first and foremost — this team can do some amazing things, like the 2004 Detroit Pistons did when they rode a team of multiple scorers and role players to a title.
So here’s the deal:
Make a deal.
Make a couple of deals.
They have two needs if they want to go from nice playoff contender to NBA Finals possibility.
They need a dynamic scorer off the bench. Right now, they’re hanging on by their fingernails, scoring by committee. But they don’t have anybody like, say, a J.R. Smith of the Knicks, who can come off the bench and drop 20 on an opponent.
They hoped Gerald Green would be that guy, but he has been an abject bust. These days, he’s not even getting off the bench. At some point, Pacers coach Frank Vogel will try bringing Green back in the hope he finds his game, but for now, he’s a lost puppy.
Go grab somebody like J.J. Redick, the Orlando sharpshooter who would give the Pacers the dead-eye presence they so sorely lack. That might mean losing Redick, a free agent, at season’s end, but it could be worth the investment.
Or how about picking up some of the pieces when and if the Boston Celtics decide to break up the old gang? The Pacers would re-unite with Leandro Barbosa in a heartbeat. The Pacers would love a piece of Jason Terry. Somebody. Anybody.
They could also use a bit more size at the … [For more on Pacers could contend if they made some moves, click here.]