Once again, the Indiana Pacers used the offseason to upgrade their bench in hopes to resolve a sore spot in the playing rotation that stood out in the playoffs once again. After adding talent across the board last year with D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Sam Young joining Tyler Hansbrough, there simply wasn't enough talent to overcome the lack of veteran, big-game experience.
A big welcome to new Indy Star beat writer Candace Buckner, who delves into this topic in her first official story for the Star (btw, follow her on Twitter because it appears she like to hash out a first draft of potential stories from practice which offers some nice insights). As Buckner points out, the Pacers were singing the praises of their bench last year at this time, but this year things are different.
Luis Scola an C.J. Watson bring a whole different set of talent and experience to the reserve unit this year, while Chris Copeland appears to be a more reliable offensive threat who certainly stepped up in big playoff games for the Knicks last year. Just ask the Pacers, right? Plus, throw in Lance Stephenson or Danny Granger and, well, we've been over this ad nauseam but yeah, the bench won't be an excuse.
David West explains the different mindset the experience gives these new players with his revelation about D.J. Augustin's struggles last year while playing games that mattered at the end of the season.
"D.J. Augustin, respect him to death, but D.J. was never in a winning situation," West said. "He was put in a tough spot last year. With 40 games to go, we had conversations (that) he's used to his season being over. He wasn't used to playing so late in the year.
"These guys are different. These guys are battle tested."
Yikes! What makes the upcoming season more exciting is to think of the deficiencies the Pacers had last season while still making it to Game 7 of the ECF. The concern now shifts to keeping that veteran help healthy and ready to play when needed.
More from Indy Cornrows:
- Pacers Training Camp: Granger easing through two-a-days, Copeland working at both small and power forward
- Pacers Links: Hilton Armstrong added to training camp roster
- Pacers Training Camp: Granger starts strong running with second unit
- Pacers Links: George Hill and Paul George car pool to first day of training camp
- Pacers Media Day: Danny Granger's return dominates discussion