Indiana Pacers: Brad Wanamaker addition is a head-scratcher

Indiana Pacers, Brad Wanamaker - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Brad Wanamaker - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

In the heat of preseason action, the Indiana Pacers made a subtle addition to the roster, bringing in point guard Brad Wanamaker through a training camp deal. The 32-year old facilitator, who debuted in the NBA three years ago with the Boston Celtics, played a meager role in the last campaign with the Golden State Warriors before ending the season with the Charlotte Hornets.

After guard Edmond Sumner‘s season-ending injury unsurprisingly culminated in the team trading him to the Brooklyn Nets for, uh, spare change, the Pacers are left with limited options to fill their point guard depth. While Sumner is not a natural floor general, he was pegged by many to handle the role this season before his unfortunate Achilles injury.

Still, given the front office’s existing options both in-house and in the free agency market, the addition of Wanamaker, who has not proven that he can be an effective role player, spawns more head-scratching sentiments than applause, and justifiably so.

Brad Wanamaker addition is perplexing for the Indiana Pacers

While a training camp deal is far from a guarantee and thus, essentially harmless, the Indiana Pacers could’ve plucked at better options to bring in to training camp for a chance to make the roster.

From the team’s young guns in two-way signees Duane Washington Jr. and Dejon Jarreau, as well as feisty guard Keifer Sykes, the Pacers have in-house options jockeying for a roster spot who can fill in the void left by Sumner. All three of them are more springy and bring more dynamics to the club at this juncture, even if raw and inexperienced.

While this may be a play by Indiana to secure an experienced guard for the role, third-stringers are better off being tendered to prospects who can still develop. Alas, the Pacers still could’ve done a lot better if what they intended is an additional locker room presence, especially with unsigned veterans still lurking in the market.

Players like Wesley Matthews, the perpetually-on-the-rumor-mill and local hero Lance Stephenson and Darren Collison, among others, are still unsigned at this juncture. While all of them are already past their primes, they could easily serve as tenable locker room upgrades and effective bench fillers in spot minutes. As an added bonus, all of those veterans have already played for the Pacers, striking organizational familiarity.

If Wanamaker makes the cut, a fringe possibility amplified by the team’s veteran direction, he will need to prove that he can contribute, even on menial duty. Last season, he was a usual suspect of poor play in both Golden State and Charlotte, boasting a subpar 38.5 percent shooting from the floor, including an abominable 18.8 percent mark from behind the arc. His passing is fine for a backup point guard, but even that is not a glowing part of his game.

Given all the bits here, the foray of Brad Wanamaker in training camp spawns a lot of confusion. While the Indiana Pacers are evidently stacking up on injury safety blankets, unless he proves otherwise, the 32-year-old figures to be a questionable addition.

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