The Indiana Pacers have waived Ike Anigbogu to make room to complete the deal with Houston, the team announced on Thursday night.
Indiana’s 2017 second-round pick has been limited by nagging knee soreness in recent weeks. Shortly after announcing his call-up on Wednesday, the Pacers released their injury report for tonight’s game with the Clippers, listing him as out.
According to Justin. A. Cohn of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, he was also recalled to the Pacers to get treatment for his knee in early January. The 20-year-old center was listed as inactive for games against Chicago (Jan. 5) and Toronto (Jan. 6) before being re-assigned to the Mad Ants on January 7. Around two weeks later, he sat out versus Agua Caliente (Jan. 14) and played only 8 minutes in the next game against Grand Rapids (Jan. 18). He then missed the subsequent loss to the Lakeland Magic (Jan. 19).
He didn’t play for the Pacers in the last two summer leagues.
On top of dealing with lingering pain, the 6-foot-10, 252-pound specimen’s numbers with the Mad Ants haven’t been particularly rosy.
The Pacers don’t judge the shot-blocker’s performance by how many points he scores, but the fact that Fort Wayne has been 10.6 points per 100 possessions worse in point differential when the bulky rim protector is on the floor versus when he’s off likely raised a few eyebrows.
When Anigbogu is in the game, Fort Wayne scores 101.6 points per 100 possessions. Take him off the court, and that number balloons to 113.6 points per 100 possessions.
Put simply, his defensive impact struggles to keep pace with some of the active as well as passive harm he does on the other end of the floor.
It doesn’t help that his hands have been shaky. With a penchant for fumbling pocket passes and getting stripped on face-ups, Anigbogu has a turnover rate of 17.3 percent, the worst mark of any player on Fort Wayne’s roster.
He’s also has a tendency to get in the way.
Take this possession against the Canton Charge, for instance. With Rob Gray snaking his dribble, Anigbogu needs to stay parallel to and behind the ball in order to give the rookie ball-handler room to drag the opposing big man to the opposite sideline and pry open the window for an easy pocket pass or open two.
Instead, Fort Wayne’s man in the middle rolls directly in front of the ball and bumps Gray off his path, leading to an offensive reset.
He has the facility to build his game around hard screens, rebounds, and blocks, but he has a ways to go to figure out how to use his big body to his advantage without siphoning space.
Anigbogu played in 21 games for the Mad Ants, averaging 11.1 points, 9.5. rebounds, and 1.9 blocks while shooting 47 percent from the floor.
As it stands now, the Pacers will still have an open roster for Edmond Sumner to potentially parlay his two-way contract into a standard deal, although he’s less likely to factor into the rotation with the team adding Wesley Matthews in the wake of Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury.
“We’re trying to win basketball games,” Nate McMillan responded, when asked about the impact today’s moves will have on the playing time of Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumner.