The number one question the Pacers are facing right now -- How do we address the point guard situation? Well, since we are not blessed with the likes of Chris Paul, John Wall, or even Raymond Felton, there is no easy answer. The Pacers have three players who could fill in at PG over the course of the season, right now.
T.J. Ford -- Undersized veteran out of the University of Texas. Has underwhelmed for the Pacers the last two years. In JOB's doghouse and reportedly on the trading block.
A.J. Price -- Young second-year player out of the University of Connecticut. Did not receive extensive playing time last season, but showed flashes of potential when given the chance. Coming off of a knee injury and surgery.
Lance Stephenson -- Very young rookie out of the University of Cincinnati. Very impressive in the summer league in Orlando. Very strong and agile, but still getting a feel for the speed of the game and the PG position.
There is no clear answer. Winning is nice, but we have to think realistically. How far could we really go in the East with Miami, Orlando, Boston, and Chicago? Don't forget Atlanta, Milwaukee, Charlotte, and even New York. Obviously, it is naive to just look at the short-term. I will lay out some of the pros and cons of the options we have now, as well as address the idea of adding another PG through a trade.
Why the Pacers should start him --
He could be the only healthy PG with any NBA experience on the roster for opening night.
He's in a contract year and could actually have a nice season for that reason.
Larry and JOB prioritize winning now over getting a healthy A.J. Price or inexperienced Lance Stephenson playing time, immediately.
Why the Pacers should start him (when healthy) --
He has played in JOB's offense before, and had some success in limited minutes last year.
Still young and could contribute to the Pacers down the road, so getting him experience would be a plus.
Why the Pacers should start him --
He looked like an absolute stud in the summer league.
Has the most potential of any of these 3 players, as well as the strongest build.
Could be the answer at PG for the future.
Looking at the pieces we have right now, it essentially comes down to this.
Trying to win now vs. Getting young players experience
Letting Lance grow vs. Throwing him right into the fire
Here is an interesting article on Stephenson. I highly recommend reading it. I never thought playing him now could be a bad thing.
And as we know, TJ Ford and Mike Dunleavy are on the trading block. Not many takers there, though. I honestly don't see any deal happening that brings the Pacers their long-desired PG. We might unload them, but not for much, unless we take back heavy, long contracts which isn't happening.
I personally don't see A.J. Price starting at all for the Pacers this season, barring an injury to the others. I say it's between T.J and Lance. If the Pacers do not start Lance, I still would demand that he plays for about half the game. If this kid is buried on the bench, I will be sick to my stomach. He was "Born Ready" so let's see what he's got, even if it's against other teams' second-teamers. It would build up his confidence and allow him to adjust more easily. This also gives the Pacers a chance to let T.J. build some trade value. So while I do not endorse T.J. Ford as starter of the Pacers, I think that's the road we're going to take. As long as Lance gets considerable experience along the way, and is allowed to grow into the role as the starting PG as the year progresses, especially if the season is lost by Christmas, I'm all for it.
Please, share your thoughts. Is starting T.J. Ford for now our best option, as long as Lance gets about 25 minutes a game on the court? Or should we let him start and go against other teams' best PGs?