The Pacers and Suns meet tonight on ESPN for the first time since the summer trade that sent Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green and a No. 1 pick to the Suns for Luis Scola. Both teams remain quite pleased with the deal and the Suns are certainly getting better production from Plumlee and Green this year than they could've expected when agreeing to the deal.
Plumlee showed strong signs of "getting it" during the Pacers summer league runs in Orlando which certainly helped Larry Bird shop the then Pacers reserve big man for the veteran depth Bird craved in Luis Scola. Plumlee has been a huge help for the Suns as they continue to surprise in the West
There is nothing sweeter than Lance galloping into a pick n' pop, then flipping a pass behind his back to Scola who he finds standing at the other end of the flash continuum from Stephenson, but still open and able to knock down the 17-footer. An awkward juxtaposition of talents meshing perfectly to help make the second unit go.
The Pacers are all in for a championship this season and Scola has provided what Bird expected which includes embracing big moments to help win big games. Scola was huge in helping knock out the Bulls in an early statement game prior to Derrick Rose going down for the season.
He sparked a knock out run in the second half, finishing with 12 points on 6 of 8 shots in just 16 minutes. In the Pacers impressive win at San Antonio, Scola played 28 minutes and delivered 12 points and 10 rebounds. That's what the Pacers are looking for from Scola in the playoffs.
It is great to see Green getting some time and putting up numbers but his inability to help (literally on defense) along with his remaining contract are why the Pacers had to toss in the protected No. 1 pick (a late 20's pick at best this year). Green had his opportunities to shine with the Pacers, including a shot at the starting spot prior to Lance Stephenson seizing the guard slot for good, but on a team dedicated to dominating the defensive end, Green wasn't the right fit.
His defensive lapse-to-dunk ratio was far too skewed in the wrong direction for the Pacers to mask his presence on the court. So you can complain about the long-term gain the Suns will see from this trade, but remember that the Pacers are in this thing for the short-term and had to make sure they had all the parts in the playing rotation covered to make a run through the playoffs. With Granger's return, it is now all systems go.
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