The Pacers have added a new member to the post-Tinsley point guard carousel. Welcome aboard, Earl Watson. The deal isn’t final yet since Earl needs to clear waivers first (he was released by Oklahoma City), but he is expected to sign a contract worth an undisclosed amount on or around next Friday.
Best known as a good defender, Watson was a four-year starter at UCLA, making him yet another well-pedigreed acquisition for Larry Bird, who has already picked up guys from UNC (Hansbrough), Duke (Dahntay Jones) and UConn (AJ Price) this summer. Since his Los Angeles days, he has bounced around from Seattle to Memphis to Denver and then back to Seattle/OKC. During the last year of the Sonics, he started 73 games, but other than that he has mainly been a reserve or a spot starter. I can’t say I paid much attention to him last year since my eyes stayed pretty well focused on Kevin Durant whenever I was watching the Thunder, but both his scoring and FGA numbers were the lowest they’ve been since 2004.
Still, this should provide some relief from the loss of the almost-certainly-gone-for-good-now Jarrett Jack. Watson is a pro’s pro. You’re probably not a great team if he’s your starting PG, but he is certainly capable of coming in and playing a serviceable 20 minutes a night, which will hopefully help keep TJ Ford well-rested and out of the trainer’s room.
UPDATE: spstevenson over at Indy Cornrows is reporting that many folks in Oklahoma City are happy to see Watson leave, as his demeanor noticeably changed for the worse after he was demoted to the bench in favor of Russell Westbrook and a youth movement 15 games into last season.
After a tough year watching from the outside of a burgeoning youth movement in Oklahoma City, the Pacers are hoping Earl Watson can return to level of production he showed the previous year in Seattle. (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)