The last 24 hours have been busy for the Indiana Pacers.
They began the free agency period by locking up Roy Hibbert and George Hill. Both players signed big contracts (Hibbert 4 yr/$58 mil, George 5 yr/$40 mil), but both were starters when the Pacers were playing their best basketball last season and figure to be a huge part of the Pacers push to become one of the NBA's elite teams.
After the resignings, however, the Pacers got creative.
Last night they traded Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones to the Dallas Mavericks for big man Ian Mahinmi. This was a sign-and-trade deal which gave Mahinmi a 4 year, 16 million dollar deal.
The next move made by the Pacers was the signing of swingman Gerald Green. Green was drafted out of high school in 2005 and has had a strange career. He has played for five NBA teams in the NBDL, Russia and China, before finally finding a place with New Jersey last year where he averaged 12.9 ppg and 3.5 rpg.
Finally, it has been reported today by Mike Wells of the the Indianapolis Star that the Pacers have agreed to terms with point guard D.J. Augustin.
This leaves the Pacers with a largely new second unit. Gerald Green, D.J. Augustin, Ian Mahinmi, Miles Plumlee and Lance Stephenson will likely round out the second unit. I have left Tyler Hansbrough off this list because he is still involved in some trade rumors, and it is unclear if he will be on the team when the season tips off.
I understand that Stephenson and Augustin are both point guards, but it seems both may be on the floor at the same time if Stephenson keeps playing like he has been this summer, which is why I included both.
Is this second unit better than last season's which did not perform up to expectations, especially in the playoffs? I am going to be totally honest and say I really do not know.
Look at the numbers (2011-2012 season stats)
Gerald Green - 12.9 ppg, 1.1 apg, 3.5 rpg, .481 fg%.
DJ Augustin - 11.1 ppg, 6.4 apg, 2.3 rpg, .376 fg%.
Miles Plumlee - N/A.
Lance Stephenson - 2.5 ppg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 rpg, .376 fg%,
Ian Mahinmi - 5.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.5 bpg, .546 fg%.
Tyler Hansbrough - 9.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.5 apg, .405 fg%.
Darren Collison - 10.4 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.1 rpg, .440 fg%.
Lou Amundson - 3.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.7 bpg, .430 fg%.
Leandro Barbosa - 11.1 ppg, 1.5 apg, 2.0 rpg, .399 fg%.
Dahntay Jones - 5.3 ppg, 1.0 apg, 1.8 rpg, .409 fg%.
Augustin and Green were the highest scorers of the bunch, but Collison, Barbosa and Hansbrough had some games where they filled it up as well as anybody on the Pacers. Jones is the best on-ball defender of the 10. Amundson and Hansbrough bring as much energy on the glass as any bench twosome in the league, although Plumlee and Mahinmi may be very close.
I feel like Mahinmi will give the Pacers exactly what his numbers indicate. Plumlee will have growing pains. Augustin will be a solid backup to Hill, although if he will be better than Collison is debatable.
The one thing the "new" bench has that intrigues me is the Stephenson and Green uncertainty. I truly do not know what to expect from either guy next season. Green has had such a roller coaster career and really looked like a player to be reckoned with last season, but those first six years where he couldn't put it together worry me. Did he just look good on the Nets last season because they were so bad? The classic decent player on bad teams who just looks good in comparison? That remains to be seen.
Stephenson has always had the talent; he has had the talent since high school. The question with Stephenson has always been: when, or if, he puts it together. He has the ability to score in bunches and carve up defenses to create open looks for his teammates, but will he?
The Pacers starting line up of Hibbert, Granger, West, Hill and George seems to be set in stone at this point. The second unit is beginning to take shape as well. They have the opportunity to be very explosive and a great compliment to the starters, or they have the potential to be a small step backwards from last season.
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