In the eyes of one reputable NBA writer, the Pacers finished in the top half of the league's offseason arms race. But just barely.
Below is Aldridge's official review:
THE KEY MAN: Myles Turner. The first-round pick may well start at center in the Pacers' revamped lineup next season. He's big and strong, and can score inside and outside. Per Synergy Sports, he led all Lottery picks in the Vegas Summer League in scoring efficiency, averaging 1.24 points per possession. There will be peaks and valleys; Turner struggled with consistency in his one season in college at Texas. But he's going to help the Pacers very quickly.
THE SKINNY: Larry Bird followed up on his vow to play smaller, moving Hibbert to L.A. for next to nothing (a future second-rounder) and giving the talented Ellis a three-year deal to step in at the two. Ellis and George Hill could be one of the league's more underrated backcourts next season. The plan is to gradually move Paul George, who returned from his broken leg late last season, into the power forward minutes created by West's departure, with a host of candidates vying for George's old minutes at the three. Not sure it's all enough to get Indiana back to the playoffs, but the locker room should at least calm down after the last couple of seasons of turmoil.
A couple of interesting tidbits here:
1. Aldridge's speculation that Turner could start is moderately surprising. Good teams rarely hitch their playoff-seeking wagon to 19-year-old centers who underwhelmed during their one season of college. Turner's performance at the Orlando Summer League turned many heads, however, so the hype train steams on. You'd have to think it Optimal Scenario No. 1 for the Pacers to land a playoff spot with Turner playing a significant role ... as unlikely as it seems.
2. Paul George gradually moving to the four-spot? That would seem to be the sensible thing to do: gradually introduce your most valuable player to a brand-new position one year post-injury. But Larry Bird's comments on the matter have been far more brash than gradual, so we'll see about a patient approach. If they choose to go the gradual route, then it might mean a healthy dose of space-sucking combos (Ian Mahinmi/Jordan Hill, J. Hill/Lavoy Allen, etc.) at the beginning of the season.
Scott Agness reported a bit of news today on the Pacers' newest roster addition:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Guard Toney Douglas being made available to the media on Tuesday. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacers?src=hash">#Pacers</a></p>— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottAgness/status/630832075541753856">August 10, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Question: Teams don't usually give training-camp fodder its own media day, do they?