The Indiana Pacers have had a busy offseason. They re-signed David West. Picked up C.J. Watson and added Chris Copeland.
Last week, the team participated in the Orlando Summer League. The Pacers went 3-2, but the scoreboard doesn’t really matter.
This is a time for management to evaluate the team and see who can fill the few open roster spots. It also gives the rookies a chance to adjust to a higher level of competition.
The Pacers were looking for a few things:
- Can Miles Plumlee compete at a high level?
- Is rookie Solomon Hill really ready for the NBA?
- Do the Pacers have depth at the guard position? (Specifically Orlando Johnson)
Plumlee was solid in each of his four starts. He never had less than seven rebounds, but was less effective on of offensive end. He only broke 10 points once, against the 76ers where he had 16 points off 7-of-13 shooting. He also had 15 rebounds and four blocked shots in that game. Everyone compared Plumlee to ex-Pacers fan favorite Jeff Foster, and that seems like an appropriate comparison. He can play tough defense, grab boards, and give the team a boost off the bench. The Pacers will be looking for a high energy guy with Tyler Hansbrough being let go (albeit without the fouling).
Hill looks like he’ll be a solid contributor. He has three very good games, but his opening and closing games were pretty bad (especially the last one where he was 1-for-7 in 29 minutes). He had 49 points in those three good games, off 18-for-36 shooting. He also was good for a few assists in every game. While many analysts were scratching their heads when the Pacers took him, but some merely suggested that the four year player was NBA ready. Hill might be a project, but he’ll be solid off the bench.
Johnson was in the double-digits in scoring in all five games. He showed flashes last season, appearing in 51 games and averaged 12 minutes per. He struggled at times shooting the ball, but made up for it by getting to the free throw line frequently. He didn’t contribute much outside of points, but if his shooting gets less streaky he’ll see more minutes, and appear in games more frequently.
The Pacers struggled shooting the three-pointer at times last season. Hill and Johnson are two players that can, more or less, consistently hit the long ball. Another player fighting for a roster spot is former IU star Christian Watford. GM Kevin Pritchard praised Watford, who had a good workout with the team before the draft. There was an outside chance that the Pacers would draft him in the second round, but ended up trading the pick instead. Watford didn’t really get the minutes he needed to produce for the team and only appeared in three games.
Watford is a player that is hard not to like. He is a master of the transition-three and solid on the low-block. He is a capable defender, had a knack for hitting big shots (see 2011 vs No. 1 Kentucky), and can create his own shot. At 6-9 he can play multiple positions and would be a great floor spacer off the bench for the Pacers.
The rosters is nearly full for the Pacers and we should know more in the near future.