May 26, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird watches the game against the Miami Heat in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 102-90. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Pacers Sign Croatian Forward Damjan Rudez

The Indiana Pacers made a move today by signing Croatian forward Damjan Rudez, a player who many teams across the NBA coveted this offseason. Rudez is a 6’10” forward who will likely be a backup small forward for the Pacers this coming season. He has a similar playing style to Hedo Turkoglu, and will be a very intriguing piece for Frank Vogel to play around with throughout the course of the season.

He played 16 games during the EuroCup last season, averaging 10.4 points, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 rebounds per game. He also shot 51% from behind the three-point arc in those 16 games, and that is exactly what he will do with the Pacers. His rebounding will need to improve when he gets on the floor with the Pacers, but his other talents will certainly make up for the rebounding issues early on.

This isn’t the type of move that is going to put the Pacers over the top in the Eastern Conference, but it certainly adds to their depth and their major weakness of shooting last season. He likely won’t play too much to begin the season, but as the year moves on and he learns he might just crack the rotation. His basketball I.Q. is high, and at just 28 years of age, there is a lot of good basketball left in him.

The Pacers reportedly signed him to a three-year deal, but the terms of the contract have not been released yet. It will be interesting to see if this move jeopardizes either Luis Scola or Chris Copeland, but for now it appears that the roster is safe. Larry Bird made it clear that he wanted more shooting and a better bench, and this move could help kill two birds with one stone.

Tags: Damjan Rudez Indiana Pacers Larry Bird

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