Second-round series vs. Knicks show the Pacers need an elite wing defender

If there is one thing that this series against the Knicks has shown us, it's that the Pacers need a wing defender.
May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) looks to drive past
May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) looks to drive past / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have to climb out of a 0-2 hole against the Knicks. That means they have to beat them four out of the next five times they play. That's a tall task for any team, but that's especially true of a team that doesn't have any good wing defenders on the roster.

During this series, the Pacers have gotten torched on defense. Andrew Nembhard has been cooked by Jalen Brunson in every way possible so far. Aaron Nesmith hasn't done much better when he has been on him, nor has he done a good job defending Donte DiVincenzo.

It's clear that this Pacers team has some flaws. We'll see if they're going to be able to overcome them. What we do know for certain is that this team needs to be improved this Summer if they want to be better equipped to get deep into the playoffs next season.

The Pacers need to sign an elite wing defender to the roster in free agency

As far as offense is concerned, the Pacers are fine. They have been able to score plenty of points in the playoffs against both the Bucks and the Knicks. Indiana clearly needs an elite defender in the starting lineup that they can deploy against the toughest offensive players.

So who could possibly fill that void? We've talked about Paul George before. He would be a good option for the next few years. Offensively, he also is still able to put the ball in the hoop at a good clip. While he may not be as elite on defense as he was a few years ago, he can still lock guys down.

Demar DeRozan is a pretty strong defender too. He's not at an All-NBA level like George is, but his length gives people some issues. He's also extremely durable, even as he's gotten older. There's a chance he could be cheaper too.

OG Anunoby is the best free-agent defender on the market, but he might opt to stay with the Knicks with his player-option. If he doesn't maybe Pascal Siakam can convince him to reunite in Indiana and go back to where he played college.

The three best Pacers playoff moments vs. the Knicks. dark. Next. Next story

Defense needs to be the priority in free agency this Summer. That much is clear so far into this playoff run.