The Indiana Pacers don’t have to sign free agents or make big trades to put the franchise in the right place. Patience is key.
It’s a faint noise but if you listen closely you can hear it. A little beyond the ominous sounds that is the “offseason” storm of Lebron James’ free agency, there is a soft buzz. A low murmur involving many scenarios about how the Indiana Pacers could move forward during their off-season to further their chance at contention.
We have already seen them turn down Lance Stephenson’s $4.3 million team option to make room for some medium-sized game hunting. Players like
Will Barton, Tyreke Evans, and Marcus Smart are a few names that have risen to the top of the Pacers’ wish list.
The Pacers are in a great place as they have their biggest roster piece already in place with Victor Oladipo as the star player and future of the Pacers.
Unfortunately, we learned as recently as last summer Indy isn’t a “free agent” destination as many media outlets report and Paul George all but confirmed.
It would be hard to convince the likes of LeBron James or say Kevin Durant to join the Pacers, but some players who did not need convincing and embraced Indy as much as Indy embraced them were guys like Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. What the Pacers really need are a few more roster guys that may just be looking for a better fit. A fit like Indiana was for Victor.
Sure “The Golden State Warriors” have “The Bay” area, but let’s be honest, free agents weren’t knocking down the Warriors door until they discovered a scrawny kid from North Carolina that could shoot named Stephen Curry and a loudmouth defensive machine and emotional leader in Draymond Green. Not to mention the other half of the Splash Brothers in Klay Thompson. All players that the Warriors drafted, not signed in FA.
Not long ago the Warriors were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs a few times before they finally busted through the wall. Next thing you know they are winning titles and setting up meetings in the Hamptons with the likes of Kevin Durant.
Point being, not all players are meant to come here and play in Indy. The Pacers are made up now of guys that love to play together and represent the name on the front of their jersey. They are guys that like to compete and don’t necessarily need the “limelight” that other cities may offer.
The NBA is littered with guys like this. Players that are unselfish and just need to be put in the right situation to succeed. Victor and Sabonis are proof or this.
It took Victor five seasons in the league before we saw a glimpse at what he can really become. Many star players in today’s game had a similar storyline as Vic and took a few years to fully mature into the type of players they are today. Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo to name a few.
Nobody can say if Victor Oladipo will be as good as any of those guys, but nobody can say he won’t be either. There are several guys out there that are waiting to be put in the right position to succeed. Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers just need to find them.
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I am the first to admit that I have no pulse what so ever on the inner thinkings of Kevin Prichard & Co. And believe me when I say that with relief seeing as I was one of the people that were ecstatic about the George Hill for Kawai Leonard trade. I will forever be haunted by this.
That said, the smart move for Prichard and the Pacers is quite simple… Patience.
Let the dust settle. Maybe if the Pacers are lucky they can land a free agent who would fit in well and not cause too much of a shockwave throughout the locker room chemistry.
Maybe Leaf will learn how to play defense and become a knockdown three and D guy. Maybe Sabonis will turn into a version of his father. Maybe Myles Turner will gain some muscle and learn how to improve his rebounding.
Give this team another year to gel and come next year, the Pacers will have a much better idea with what to do with this team. For now, as unsexy as it may sound. The move may be to be patient and see what this team can become. Or what it can’t.