The Indiana Pacers made some moves last offseason in hopes that they would make the bench better, but they simply didn’t use their main free agency signing very much. Chris Copeland was signed to be the backup power forward, but a trade that brought Luis Scola to Indiana put that on back burner. All of that being said, will the Pacers finally unleash Copeland’s three-point shooting ability this coming season?
There were questions all season long last year about why head coach Frank Vogel refused to play Copeland, and his answers simply didn’t add up to facts. Vogel’s main reasoning behind leaving Copeland on the bench was his lack of defense. Unfortunately, that was the worst reason that he could have possibly come up with due to the absolutely terrible defense that Scola was playing for the majority of the season.
He ended up playing in just 41 regular season games with the Pacers, averaging 3.7 points and 0.8 rebounds per game. His three-point percentage ended up at 41.8% and proved exactly why Larry Bird chose to give him a contract. The Pacers went out and signed C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez in an attempt to improve their three-point shooting, but Copeland would help them take a step in that category as well.
It will be very interesting to see what kind of improvements Copeland makes this offseason. He is going to try to get stronger and quicker, and he’ll also likely be looking at improving his ball handling to get to the rim. If he is able to round out his offensive game, he is going to force the coaching staff to allow him onto the court.
Overall, it will be much clear as to what role they view for Copeland by what they end up doing throughout the rest of the offseason. If they allow Scola to walk away in order to free up more money, that would signal that Copeland is about to get a big boost in minutes. That being said, if they keep Scola on the roster, it is very likely that Copeland will be stuck on the bench once again.