The Indiana Pacers‘ 2019-20 campaign comes to an end after being swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. It was a devastating result that could have been much different if their All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis didn’t suffer a foot injury that forced him to sit out the bubble games.
Still, there’s no reason for the Pacers’ front office to push the panic button this offseason. It will be enticing to shake the roster up, especially with all the valuable trade assets they have. Moreover, they will be hard-pressed to take the next step and stop being just a borderline contender in the Eastern Conference.
With the exception of maybe a trade or two to bolster their bench and unclog their frontcourt, the Pacers should count on the power of continuity and build more chemistry moving forward.
Move Turner and pursue a 3-and-D wing
Myles Turner may have grown into a much-improved three-point shooter in the past couple of years, but there’s always a feeling that the young big man is poised for more than what he’s currently showing with the Pacers. Despite not growing into the franchise cornerstone that people expected him to be, Turner is still a valuable trade asset that could net Indy an excellent package in return.
Turner may have his lapses during switches on defense, but he is already one of the best rim protectors we have in the league. He has eclipsed an average of two blocks per game in the past couple of seasons, a great indicator of his shot-blocking prowess. Furthermore, Turner has also shown that he can space out the floor and hit the long-range shot. His three-point percentage dipped to 34% from a career-best 38% last season, but there’s no denying that he can do well on a more free-flowing offense.
Lastly, Turner comes with a relatively bargain contract. He is set to earn a little above $17 million for the next three years, a figure that won’t be that much of a financial burden. Turner is still young at 24 years of age, and there’s more room for him to improve on both offense and defense. If the Pacers would indeed move Turner, they should pursue a quality 3-and-D wing, possibly in the form of Houston Rockets forward Robert Covington.
Build on continuity and let the Brogdon-Oladipo duo grow
It was unfortunate that Pacers fans weren’t able to see just how much damage the backcourt tandem of Malcolm Brogdon and Victor Oladipo can inflict. This is the main reason why Indiana has to pursue continuity, rather than blowing it up and retool the roster again. With the news that the franchise has extended head coach Nate McMillan‘s contract, continuity may indeed be the direction that the team is heading for.
Having said that, the Pacers should hope that Sabonis can become a better interior defender so that he can co-exist with T.J. Warren in the frontcourt. Brogdon and Oladipo could guard three positions, and if the Pacers could sign or trade for a versatile defender like Covington, they would have a solid starting five on both ends of the floor.