The Indiana Pacers Approach the Trade Deadline: Part 2 – The First Group of Candidates


Today I’d like to look at the two players that seem to be on everybody’s mind and three more guys who’s names are being bandied about: Chris Kaman, Jamal Crawford, Michael Beasley, Boris Diaw, and Stephen Jackson. Remember that I’m not interested in proposing specific trades, just looking at how these players would fit in with the current roster.  That being said, there’s no one on this list for whom I’d give up a first round pick.

Chris Kaman

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Kaman would be a good fit for the Pacers.  He’s a big who can score and block shots, thus filling two of the needs I mentioned yesterday. Kaman’s passing is one aspect of his game that often overlooked, and I believe he could step into the “big man facilitator” role quite adequately.  His per-36 assist numbers are actually higher than Hibbert’s this season (2.6 to 2.0).  Other than his shot-blocking, which is only slightly above average, Kaman does not bring a lot to the table defensively.  When thinking about Kaman joining the Pacers, it seems like he could be the second coming of Brad Miller: a big, ugly country boy who plays the game with an odd mixture of power and finesse. Looking into the future, Kaman is a player who’d likely be open to re-signing in Indiana for market value, if Bird wanted him back.  He’s from Michigan and seems to embrace traditional rural Midwestern values. If he ended the season with the Pacers, he’d be a good second option if some team decided to tender Hibbert an unmatchable offer.

Verdict: Good fit as a talented and versatile big man

Jamal Crawford

Everybody in the NBA knows that Larry Bird wants Jamal Crawford, all that matters now is agreeing on the price (or Price, as it may be).  Crawford definitely fills a need as a shot creator and maker off the bench, and his defense, at least while he was playing meaningful minutes for a good team in Atlanta, is not as bad as it gets made out to be.  There are valid concerns about Crawford.  He’s a chucker: he shoots a lot, and he generally shoots at a low percentage.  He’s having a pretty bad year in Portland (their offense and defense are both better when he’s off the court).  However, Portland’s style is a bad fit for Crawford, and he’s being forced to play out of position at PG about half the time. I also wonder how well he’d mesh with George Hill. To get both guys on the court you’d have to play one out of position at PG or push Crawford up to SF.  Two additional things are worth noting: 1.)Crawford has said all along that intends to test free agency again next season.  With that in mind, he should be highly motivated when playing for a contract on a good Pacer team that’s really only asking him to do the one thing he loves to do: score. 2.)Crawford has scored 50+ points in an NBA game, which is something no current Pacer has ever done.

Verdict: Good fit as a bench scorer, but there are valid concerns.

Michael Beasley

Beasley’s a talented, young combo forward. He can score. He can rebound. He’s a pretty darn good 3 point shooter (42% this season on 2 attempts per game). He’s also an immature head-case who has not shown any statistical improvement since he set foot in the league 4 years ago and has been totally unable to demonstrate that he can help a team win games. While he would fill needs (he’s a big, strong scoring bench SF) for the Pacers and (hopefully) be gone at the end of the season, I seriously doubt Bird would roll the dice on low-impact player with very questionable character.  The combination of Beasley and Lance Stephenson seems especially combustible.

Verdict: Good fit skill-wise, but terrible in every other aspect.

Boris Diaw

Sure, he’s fat and out of shape, but would you be motivated if you were playing for the Bobcats? It looks and sounds like Diaw’s headed for a buy-out and late season free agency, and if he were able to rewind the clock just one year, he’d be a great fit for the Pacers. Diaw’s primary skill is his excellent passing. When he first arrived in the NBA, Atlanta experimented with playing him at PG.  He’s averaged nearly 5 assists per 36 minutes over the course of his career. He’s also a capable scorer who’s consistently averaged 10+ points per game on nearly 50% shooting. He’s not going to help defensively.

Verdict: Good fit, if motivated.

Stephen Jackson

Really? If his name weren’t Stephen Jackson, if he had never assaulted fans in stands, if he had never fired guns into the crisp night air, if he hadn’t quickly warn out his welcome in every city he’s played in…Then I could see the Pacers wanting a veteran with his skill set.

Verdict: Larry Bird would rather cut off his left hand.