Seeing all the recent commotion on IC of trades that will bring Josh Smith to the Pacers, there seems to be a misconception of what Josh Smith really is. I'm certain that most people are well aware of the fantasy stat monster and the highlight machine that is Josh Smith, but that however is far from the real deal. I use to be an avid supporter of a trade that will bring Josh Smith to Indy, however, after seeing his performance against both the Magics and the Bucks, i don't think Josh Smith is the right player for the Pacers. Don't get me wrong, Smith would improve the pacers a lot, however, he is just not a team player. During the playoffs, Smith would loose focus on many occasions. On certain plays where he is beat or his teammates are beat, he does little in attempt to recover. Smith is a good individual defender and a good help defender, but lacks focus and intensity to sustain the effort the entire game. Smith also has a very limited offensive repertoire. He lacks dribble penetration and elite foot works that would otherwise utilize his athletic abilities. Most of his point will come from fast breaks, cutting to the basket or backing down a physically inferior defender until he is deep enough to bank the shot over his man. Josh Smith has a very sporadic jump shot, and is a reason why he has completely abandon his 3pt shot last year. Aside from all of the aforementioned critiques, the Hawks don't appear to be in any rush to trade away their starting pf.
Now, with the current roster, either Mcrobert or Hansbrough would be the starter. Neither are physical freaks that will impose fear towards opposing players. I think everybody can agree that the Pacers' greatest weakness is their defense. They were horrific both at defending the three and the paint. Hence, the greatest need upgrades at the defensive end. Like Bill Walton says the controlling the paint is key to winning, as evidence of the Lakers and the Celtics over the past three years. The Lakers have not one, not two but three above average post presence in Odom, Gasol, and Byum, anything near the paint by the opposing team is heavily contested. Once a team controls the paint, the opposing team has to settle for contested jump shots as the wing defenders do not need to consistently help out with interior defense. Interior defense was one of the Pacers major flaws, Non of the Pacers power forwards were able to stop the opposing pf by themselves and that leads to wing defenders collapsing to help while leaving their man open outside.
In the past decade, championships are won with defense not offense, any good to above average defensive team will be guaranteed a playoff spot. The Pistons, the Spurs, the Celtics, the Lakers are all great defensive teams with great interior defensive stoppers.
Of all the viable options, I think Samuel Dalembert is a good fit. The guy is a 6'11' athletic, defensive minded center/forward, who rebounds, block shots, scores on tip ins and put backs. The kings traded Nocioni and Hawes before the draft to philadelphia inorder to acquire Dalembert inorder to get rid of Nocioni's contract. Dalembert's current contract is roughly 13mil a year and rounds out after 2010-2011, The kings however are loaded in the front court especially with the draft of Cousins. I think the kings would unload Dalembert since they would be paying 13mil to a guy that is only going to be a part time starter. If i was bird i would offer them Tj Ford, Dantay Jones and/or Brandon rush, and a second rounder for Samuel Dalembert.This is realistic in that Samuel Dalembert is a one dimensional player.
Other options may include Tyson chandler, Nazr Mohammed, and maybe even Tyrus Thomas. Although, unfortunately, the pacers don't have much trade chips that any team would actually want not name Hibbert, Granger, and george.