Pacers sign Shayne Whittington, complicate frontcourt

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the signings of an international stretch four and an undrafted big man out of Western Michigan, the Pacers frontcourt is getting crowded.

The Pacers made their signing of Shayne Whittington official and clarified that he will not be participating in the Summer League or any camps as he recovers from a broken fibula that he sustained in May.

Whittington was the 77th best prospect according to Draft Express going into this year’s draft. He played four seasons at Western Michigan, where he started every game of his junior and senior seasons. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.9 rebounds last season, and Western Michigan was 22.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor.

He was over 50 percent from the field in college, and he showed some capabilities of hitting jumpers. Whittington shot 72 percent at the rim and 40 percent on two-point jumpers, per hoop-math.com.

In a very small sample size, Whittington showed some three-point prowess at the Portsmouth Invitational where he shot 10 of 22 (45.5%) on threes in three games. In a bigger – but not by much – sample size, Whittington shot 8 of 48 (16.7%) on threes in his collegiate career. The Pacers need shooting, but don’t expect Whittington to be even a portion of the answer to that problem.

So what in the world is the Indiana frontcourt going to look like next season?

At center Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi are under contract for next season for nearly $19 million. According to the Pacers release about Whittington, he is a center, but he’ll likely be able to play either front court spot.

And at power forward the Pacers just added a Croatian to bolster the bench shooting. Now power forwards David West, Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and Damjan Rudez are under contract for next season. Surely, West will be the opening day starting power forward, but Luis Scola may very well be gone. His contract of $4,868,499 is only partially guaranteed, $2.5 million of it according to Candace Buckner. If the Pacers are actually going to keep Lance Stephenson, as well as add another player for the bench, it is hard to imagine Scola will be a Pacer next season.

Though without Scola, Indiana is left with two power forwards who may only do one thing at a high level – shoot threes. And if Frank Vogel was reluctant to play Copeland, why would he be expected to play two different stretch fours?

Lavoy Allen also remains in the mix, as the Pacers have expressed interest in keeping him despite not extending a qualifying offer. Allen would be more of what Vogel looks for in a big man, but he too didn’t see much of the court for Vogel.

Maybe Copeland will move to the wing. It would appear to be the best move if the Pacers lose Lance Stephenson or don’t sign another guard like C.J. Miles or Rodney Stuckey.

Indiana has a lot of moving parts in both the front court and back court. There could be a major shakeup on the way, or the status quo of the last few seasons could remain – same starting five with a retooled bench, hoping to get over the LeBron James hump.

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