The Indiana Pacers are standing at a respectable 32-21, claiming the third spot in the Eastern Conference. They are in the mix of championship consideration with the current team that they have. Even with Danny Granger still sidelined (via Scott Agness of Pacers.com), this team should keep everyone together and see how far they can go in the playoffs.
This team is in a similar position as the Chicago Bulls. Obviously Granger isn't the same caliber player as Derrick Rose, but both teams are missing their best player and they will be completely different teams when the two aforementioned players return.
Although J.J. Redick is an enticing option to go for, the Orlando Magic would demand a much higher price for him because he's having a career season. The Pacers already tried offering Tyler Hansbrough and D.J. Augustin for Redick, but the Magic weren't interested (according to Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider).
For whatever trade they want to make, the Pacers would have to give up much more than they would like, and for much less in return.
Also according to Broussard, rival executives have speculated that the Pacers would try to move Granger before the deadline. However, the deadline is two days away and Granger hasn't even suited up for a game yet this season. It's unlikely any other team would even risk a trade for an injured Granger at this point.
The Pacers also maintain one of the most balanced rosters in the league, which is why they are able to endure the loss of Granger and still hold one of the top spots in the East.
Rebounding is critical in order to be a successful team, and the Pacers have the highest rebounding rate in the league (per Hollinger's Team Stats).
Their frontcourt tandem of David West and Roy Hibbert, along with Ian Mahinmi, Tyler Hansbrough and the improving Jeff Pendergraph creates a good mix of offensive firepower, suffocating defense, stretching the floor and interior toughness.
Nobody in their frontcourt averages less than eight rebounds per-36 minutes (stats from Basketball Reference).
There are very few teams in the league who have as many capable frontcourt players as the Pacers do. They also bring very different skill sets to the team, and would cause havoc for any team who is vulnerable in the paint.
Even if they deal away one of the players, it could disrupt the overall chemistry and balance of this team—offensively and defensively.
In previous years, the Pacers were a middle-of-the-pack team with no real strength or team identity.
This season, they made a name for themselves as the best defensive team in the league. They're leading the league in defensive efficiency, holding opponents to just 95.9 points per 100 possessions.
Although not every player on the team is a defensive powerhouse individually, they work together exceptionally well under Frank Vogel's defensive-minded system, which includes fast close-outs on perimeter shooters and clogging the paint to contest shots at the rim.
The playoffs are approaching fast, and if the Pacers conduct a trade, it would take some time for the new additions to learn the system, especially if they are just a sub-par individual defender like Redick.
Offense will improve when Granger returns
Honestly, the Pacers' offense and shooting is the only weakness on their team right now, so it certainly makes sense that they would want to acquire a few offensive weapons to spark their team.
However, Granger's return will already solve that problem.
For the past seven seasons, the Pacers have an offensive rating of 110 when Granger is on the court. It's not a surprise that when he hasn't been playing this year, the offense has struggled.
But why bother making a trade when Granger is a sure-fire option and proven offensive presence who would greatly boost this team's only weakness?
Even if Granger might have been speculated to be traded before the deadline, there isn't a better available wing player of Granger's caliber in the market right now.
Not only that, but you can bet that Granger has been quietly observing from the sidelines and following the team closely this year. He's familiar with the players and the organization, so it wouldn't take long for him to adapt to a system he has already played in.
Nobody in the trade market could make a huge impact
It may be crazy to think that players like Josh Smith, Paul Millsap or Eric Bledsoe wouldn't make a significant difference for the Pacers, but that's just how it is.
Smith is probably a better individual defender than West, but he is terribly inefficient offensively. Recently, he's more known for his long shot-jacking (per Zach Lowe of Grantland) than his defensive prowess. Millsap would be an interesting addition and he's a reliable two-way player, but he's not much of an upgrade over West either. And obviously, neither of them will start over Paul George at small forward.
Bledsoe would probably be a great addition for this young Pacers team, as his energy and athleticism at the point guard position is unmatched.
However, he's mainly recognized as a great perimeter defender, and his offensive production isn't spectacular. He's more of the combo-guard genre as well, just like George Hill.
The Pacers have all of the pieces necessary to make a long playoff run. They have great rebounders, maintain a suffocating team defense, a borderline superstar-in-the-making in Paul George, tough interior presences and a deadly scorer waiting to step back onto the court.
There isn't any trade out there that would benefit this team more than it would hurt it. The trade deadline is two days away, and Indiana has been rather quiet in trade discussions. Hopefully they keep it that way and see how far this team could go into the playoffs.
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