It has been clear for some time now that the Pacers have needed to put an athletic power forward with an inside presence next to Myles Turner. The athleticism is needed purely because Turner is young and energetic and needs someone who can keep up with him in an up tempo offensive system. An inside presence is needed because Myles Turner will occupy the perimeter and most importantly the mid-range area.
Many believe the draft is the way to fix this problem, but drafting for need is a terrible strategy and it would make more sense to pick up someone who will be ready made for the role so there is no extra pressure on Larry Bird on draft night. Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets is a guy who would be available and probably wouldn’t cost an awful lot, he would provide inside presence, system familiarity and a much needed power forward. The platoon of LaVoy Allen and Jordan Hill simply isn’t good enough to roll with, and we need to acquire a guy in his prime and possibly sit a developmental guy behind him for a couple of seasons.
One of the key elements of an up tempo offense is the pick and roll as it gives you chances to get easy and quick buckets, Kenneth Faried would help enormously in this aspect. He was ranked in the 78th percentile for effectiveness as a roll man and only Danilo Gallinari ranked higher on the Nuggets roster. In terms of the Pacers roster, Solomon Hill ranked in the 88th percentile but he was only involved as the roll man on 13 occasions. Ian Mahinmi ranked just below Faried in the 77th percentile but it is extremely likely that the Frenchman will leave Indiana this summer in search of a large contract that we can’t provide. Myles Turner ranked in the 19th percentile and Jordan Hill in the 41st percentile which simply won’t be good enough if the Pacers pursue with their up tempo offense.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Faried, you cannot ignore the fact that in terms of the offensive system, he would be beneficial as there will be a huge void of effective roll men on the roster if or when Mahinmi leaves. Faried managed to put these numbers up despite not being a preferred option of Michael Malone, who has tried to slow down the Nuggets offense to add variety to their style.
Faried is also a decent post up option as he ranked in the 77th percentile on 94 post ups, he has good power down low and he was helped by decent floor spacing, something which he could get at Indiana depending on the moves that are made. With Turner expected to move outside to occupy the perimeter and mid-range, getting a guy who is effective both in the post and as a roll man could be a terrific move for this team. Indiana’s best post man was Turner but he only ranked in the 52nd percentile which isn’t great, although he could eventually develop these skills.
His defense is definitely a problem, in every year he has been at Denver the team have had a better defensive rating when he is off the floor, he isn’t great at defending in the post and he often looks slow to grasp off the ball defense. This may seem like a longshot, but I do feel that Dan Burke and the Indiana Pacers staff could somewhat fix these defensive issues. Jordan Hill has never been a great defender for example but the defensive system went at least some way to masking his deficiencies. Regardless of this, Faried makes up for his defensive problems with his versatile and efficient offensive play.
Perhaps the major reason this signing would be great, is that it means Indiana do not necessarily have to draft a power forward. This of course isn’t the case now, but most mock drafts have us going for a power forward and it would make sense for Larry Bird to take one. This is fine, but a power forward should be taken only if they are the best player on the board, no one should be forced into drafting a specific player because of team needs, especially when solutions are available outside of the draft. Faried would allow Bird to pick the best player on his board and even if it was Sabonis, having him sit behind Faried and Turner for a year or two isn’t necessarily a bad thing as he is quite raw.
To put it simply- if the Pacers want to pursue with a pace offense then they have to bring in specialist players who have experience playing in it. Shooters are obviously important, but having a forward who is comfortable in the pick and roll whilst making hustle plays is another role that will be important. LaVoy Allen offers something defensively, but he simply can’t get up and down the floor at the same rate as Myles Turner which will be a long term problem.
In purely non-statistical terms, a move for Faried could also help Ty Lawson feel more settled in Indiana. Lawson looks set to be the franchise point guard for the foreseeable future as Nate McMillan said having a guy like Lawson who can run up and down is ‘so important’. Lawson was at his best when he had Faried as his pick and roll partner in George Karl’s warp speed Nuggets offense, if Indiana recreate this partnership it could help get the best out of Lawson in addition to making the offense better-rounded and more complete as a whole.
Indiana want to run a ‘pace and space’ offense and although Faried doesn’t fit the latter part of this (29.8% on jump shots in 15/16), he fits the pace part excellently. He is one of the biggest transition threats in the whole of the NBA as he ranked in the 87th percentile in transition and he provides a perfect foil to Myles Turner for the time being. I have very little idea of what Indiana would have to give up, but it surely wouldn’t be much as Faried has been eased out of the Denver system by Coach Malone.