Indiana Pacers: Free Agents That Can Help Team Make Leap to NBA Finals

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJune 26, 2013

Indiana Pacers: Free Agents That Can Help Team Make Leap to NBA Finals

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    For the Indiana Pacers, the 2012-13 NBA season marked their official return to prominence. Indiana reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004 before falling to the Miami Heat in seven games.

    The question is, which free agents could help the Pacers get over the hump and thus reach the NBA Finals?

    Most will be looking for a high-profile name, but the Pacers already boast an elite starting lineup. What they need, however, is the type of additions to their second unit that will fill voids and thus make them the two-way force they need to be to win a championship.

    Some may not have the greatest name value, but the following players could put Indiana atop the Eastern Conference in 2013-14.

Kyle Korver, UFA

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 32

    Experience: 10 Seasons

    2012-13 Season Averages

    13.93 PER, 10.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 45.7% 3PT

     

    As you'll see at times in this slideshow, the players that could help the Indiana Pacers contend are not always stars. While everyone wants to see the big name come to town, the Pacers already boast one of the league's elite starting lineups.

    It's all about filling needs, with their inconsistent three-point shooting serving as the top focus.

    Kyle Korver is likely to be one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer, as his elite shooting stroke is beyond valuable to any team. It certainly doesn't hurt that Korver has made seven postseason appearances.

    For a Pacers team that relies heavily on jump shooting but ranks 22nd in three-point field goal percentage, targeting Korver goes without saying.

    According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, the Pacers have internally named Korver as a free agent they'd love to sign. If they're able to bring Korver on board, the progression of Roy Hibbert as an offensive player would certainly be expedited.

    Synergy Sports reports that 23.8 percent of Indiana's offensive possessions were isolation plays or spot-up jumpers—need we say more?

Paul Millsap, UFA

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    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 28

    Experience: 7 Seasons

    2012-13 Season Averages

    19.89 PER, 14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG

     

    If I were Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pirtchard, I'd stop at nothing to get power forward David West locked up for the foreseeable future. If the Pacers go in a different direction, however, there are options.

    No player is quite as intriguing as former Utah Jazz big man Paul Millsap.

    Millsap is one of the best offensive power forwards in the game, pairing a strong post game with a smooth mid-range J. While he's not quite as revered as West, Millsap is a similarly powerful player that runs the high screen game well due to his versatility as a roller and jump shooter.

    He's also a strong passer and a progressively improving defender.

    Millsap saw his numbers capped in 2012-13 by the Jazz's attempts to create a four-man front court rotation of he, Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. With that being said, Millsap is a player that can consistently pull out double-doubles.

    While I wholeheartedly embrace re-signing West, Millsap could be a similarly effective player in Indiana if they choose to part ways with the former Xavier star and make Millsap their man.

Anthony Morrow, UFA

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 27

    Experience: 5 Seasons

    Career Averages

    24.9 MPG, 10.9 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 42.4% 3PT

     

    The Indiana Pacers must add players that can create off of the bounce and facilitate their offense. With that being said, having a player that can distribute the ball or slash is only valuable when the personnel surrounding them can shoot the basketball.

    Enter Anthony Morrow.

    Morrow is one of the top three-point shooters in the NBA, converting at a clip of 42.4 percent for his career. Prior to tumultuous rides with the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks in 2012-13, Morrow had averaged at least 12.0 points per game in three consecutive seasons.

    For a Pacers team that was 22nd in three-point field goal percentage, Morrow could be the sharpshooter to help open up their offense and thus spread the floor for Roy Hibbert.

    Morrow isn't a high-profile name, but almost every great contender in today's NBA has a group of marksmen. Seeing as Morrow is an elite jump shooter that will put up more than 10 points a night, name value doesn't seem to matter here.

    The Pacers need shooters to get over the hump, and Morrow should be an affordable option this summer.

J.J. Redick, UFA

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: 7 Seasons

    2012-13 Season Averages

    14.74 PER, 14.1 PPG, 3.8 APG, 2.2 RPG, 36.6% 3PT

     

    According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, the Indiana Pacers are interested in signing unrestricted free agent J.J. Redick. This certainly makes sense, as the Pacers ranked 22nd in three-point field goal percentage during the 2012-13 regular season.

    Just don't confuse the Redick we saw in Milwaukee with his true abilities.

    In 50 games with the Orlando Magic, Redick averaged 15.1 points and 4.4 assists on 39.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He shot 45.0 percent from the field, displayed the ability to put the ball on the floor and even emerged as a primary facilitator.

    For a Pacers team that is short on distributors, that type of versatility would push them over the edge.

    Even if Redick is unable to display that versatility, his ability to shoot the three-ball and play a high volume of minutes would be beyond helpful. Not only can he stroke it off of the catch, but Redick can also pull up in transition.

    For a team that can compete for a title by running through their big men, a marksman of Redick's caliber would be extraordinary to add.

Nate Robinson, UFA

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 29

    Experience: 8 Seasons

    2012-13 Season Averages

    25.4 MPG, 17.43 PER, 13.1 PPG, 4.4 APG, 2.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 40.5% 3PT

     

    The two most glaring voids on the Indiana Pacers' roster are the absence of a second unit point guard and the lack of a sixth-man scorer. While they'd likely prefer to find a player of a pass-first nature, there is no better option for them than Nate Robinson.

    With an elite starting lineup and a top-tier defense, all that's missing is the scoring threat to bring it all together.

    Robinson had his most efficient season in 2012-13, averaging 13.1 points and 4.4 assists in 25.4 minutes per game. He also shot 40.5 percent from three-point range and displayed significant improvement as a defender.

    For a Pacers team that has a tendency to fall in love with isolation basketball, it'd behoove them to add a player that can break a defense down off of the bounce or spot up for a three.

    Robinson truly proved his chops during the postseason, leading the short-handed Chicago Bulls to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Not only was he scoring at an extraordinary level, but Robinson proved that his shot selection is as responsible as ever.

    If the Pacers are looking to truly contend for a title, adding an offensive game changer like Robinson is the first place to look.