Pacers fans have plenty of new faces coming off of the bench to get used to. . In Part 1 we looked at the players that left the Pacers over the summer and in this Part 2 we see who has been brought in to fill the voids. Can they help provide the Pacers with the depth that got them the third best record in the Eastern Conference last season? We shall see.
D.J. Augustin – PG
Augustin came to Indiana as a free agent from the Charlotte Bobcats. Last year he struggled with his shooting touch all season long but averaged 6.4 assists per game, which was more than any Pacer. The Bobcats finished last year’s shortened season with the worst win percentage in NBA history, 10.9%. Let that sink in for a moment… We should expect Augustin to be rejuvenated on this winning team after suffering through a season with the most futile NBA team ever. He comes in to take the place of Darren Collison who the Pacers traded to Dallas after George Hill proved his value to the Pacers as a starter in the point guard position. Although Augustin will likely be coming off of the bench he is still expected to see significant playing time this season. Check out Andy Miller’s article here on Always Miller Time for the full scoop on D.J. Augustin.
Gerald Green – G/F
If Gerald Green is known for one thing in the NBA it’s his ability jump out of gym. The high flying Green won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2007, but since then he has bounced around the NBA and leagues overseas trying to become more than a one trick pony. Last season he finally showed general managers around the league that he belongs during his time with the New Jersey Nets (now in Brooklyn). After signing a pair of 10-day contracts he earned himself a spot on the team through the end of the season by showing off his much improved jump shot and defensive awareness. That is what the Pacers are looking to get from Green this season. Green will be backing up team captain Danny Granger and fellow high riser Paul George. All three of these players are 6’8” with similar build so physically Green should be able to fit right in, hopefully improving upon what the Pacers will be missing without Dahntay Jones this year. With that being said, we’re all really looking forward to seeing some of this with the Indiana Pacers.
Ben Hansbrough – G
We’re all well aware of Tyler Hansbrough and what he brings to the Pacers as their top big man off the bench. Now the team has acquired his lesser known little brother Ben Hansbrough as he begins his NBA career. Last year Ben struggled to get significant playing time in Germany and he may have a hard time getting on the court with the Pacers as if he cannot adjust to the speed and size of NBA guards. He has definitely picked the right team to join if he’s looking to feel at home in the NBA. Aside from the residual love he will receive from being Tyler’s little brother Ben will also be in the hearts of locals due to his college days at Notre Dame. He won the Big East Player of the Year in 2011 as the featured guard for the Irish so he can definitely play the game of basketball. We’ll see if he can put it together and find time between the guards that the Pacers already have.
Orlando Johnson – G
Johnson joins the Pacers as their second round draft pick in the 2012 draft. He comes in with a solid skillset for scoring on the college level but following the preseason it looks as though he has to develop more before he’ll be ready to have an impact on a professional team. Coach Vogel says that he is planning on having his rookies spend a lot of time playing in the D-League, and of all three Johnson should benefit the most from that. The Pacers are solid at the shooting guard spot so we all hope he grows in the D-League so he can be ready in case injury strikes the Pacers later in the season.
Ian Mahinmi – C
The Pacers’ big trade of the off season yielded backup center Ian Mahinmi. Coming in to relieve All-Star center Roy Hibbert will be an important task. In order to avoid a huge drop off the French center will need to be productive on both ends of the floor. In the preseason Mahinmi showed that he knows how to get buckets and do it efficiently, which is key for post players. Offensively he is more skilled than former Pacer Lou Amundson and he is also a superior athlete. It’s yet to be seen whether or not he’ll be able bring Lou’s level of all around energy to court on a nightly basis. To this point, though, Mahinmi appears to have the necessary tools to be an excellent supplementary center for Indiana.
Miles Plumlee – F
The Pacers used the 26th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft to add forward Miles Plumlee out of Duke to the roster. Plumlee is very athletic and should be a monster on the boards, but he’s not quite NBA ready offensively. We should expect to see Plumlee logging plenty of minutes in the D-League throughout the season while Tyler and Mahinmi eat up most of the backup big man minutes for the Pacers. If Plumlee’s shot and post moves improve because he has the potential to make an impact in the NBA.
Sam Young – G
Sam Young went through last season with Philadelphia, never really getting the playing time received during his previous years with the Memphis Grizzlies. Young was able to impress the Pacers’ staff during training camp this summer and landed a spot on the 15-man roster. Vogel plans to make use of his perimeter defensive skills at times and hopefully integrate him into the offense when needed.
Tyler Hansbrough will still be bringing his hard-nosed style of play off the bench and the team is expecting to see Lance Stephenson make some headlines for his on the court play as opposed to his antics on the bench (leading to this blatant elbow by a Miami Heat goon). Larry Bird still vouches for Stephenson. If you couple that with the games he had in the Summer League and preseason and you’ve got to think he’ll have an impact this year. Hopefully the new comers will be able to familiarize themselves with the selfless style of play that the Pacers utilize. This is a chance for Coach Vogel to show us all, once again, why he’s the man for the job by integrating the new pieces as seamlessly as possible .