The Best Free Agent at Every Open Spot for the Indiana Pacers

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The Best Free Agent at Every Open Spot for the Indiana Pacers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Millsap would make for a fine replacement for David West in case he does not re-sign with the Indiana Pacers.

For the Indiana Pacers to become title contenders once again, some changes have to be made via the free-agent market.

To begin with, Indiana had one of the worst benches in the NBA in 2012-13. The shock troopers managed to score just 24.1 points per game during the regular season, good for 29th in the entire league, per HoopsStats.com. 

As excellent as the Pacers' defense and rebounding were last season, they need help in scoring and playmaking. They ranked just 23rd in offense (94.7 PPG) and 28th in assists (20.3 APG).

Having mentioned these, Indiana needs to acquire solid contributors who can pass the ball well and don't turn it over. 

 

Nate Robinson, PG, Chicago Bulls

2012-13 stats: 13.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 1.8 TPG

2012-13 salary: $854,389

Free-agent type: Unrestricted

Nate Robinson can provide instant offense at the 1-spot for the Indiana Pacers.

The Indiana Pacers need insurance at the point guard position because D.J. Augustin, who was largely a disappointment, is not expected to re-sign with the team, according to Mark Montieth of NBA.com. There's also no way of telling if Ben Hansbrough can really become an ideal backup at the 1-spot.  

Enter Nate Robinson. 

With the exception of Game 4, Robinson had a good series against the Miami Heat in the second round of last season's playoffs, averaging 15.2 points, four rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.

The main knocks against him were his turnovers and shot selectiontwo things that may scare off the Pacers. 

However, Robinson played a full 82-game schedule for the first time in his 10-year NBA career, and he certainly did a credible job of proving his worth in a Bulls uniform. The Pacers need a scoring punch, and Robinson can provide that off the bench behind George Hill. 

Some argue he has ball-hogging tendencies, which is true at times. But now that Larry Bird is back in the fold, do not expect Robinson, if he is signed up, to do anything detrimental to the team. 

 

Carl Landry, PF, Golden State Warriors   

2012-13 stats: 10.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.4 TPG

2012-13 salary: $4,000,000

Free-agent type: Unrestricted

Carl Landry can help solifidy the Pacers' depth at power forward in case they lose Tyler Hansbrough to free agency.

Carl Landry declined his player option for 2013-14 and is now an unrestricted free agent. 

He made a good account of himself last season, putting up decent numbers in 81 games (the most he's ever played in during the regular season) coming off the bench for the Warriors. 

Landry also has had respectable postseason appearances with the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2011 (15.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG) and Golden State Warriors in 2013 (11.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.4 APG). As the Pacers are looking to become NBA Finals contenders once again, this is certainly a good point of reference. 

Clearly, he's no David West in terms of his rebounding and passing skills, but he should be more than adequate as West's backup in case the Pacers lose Tyler Hansbrough. He should also develop these facets of his game under West's tutelage. 

Hansbrough has a qualifying offer worth $4,225,423 for 2013-14, per Rotoworld.com. If Indiana does not offer at least this much, he becomes a free agent and is open to the highest bidder. 

Landry signing with the Pacers will not only give them insurance at the 4-spot, it will also mark his return to the state of Indiana since he played for the Purdue Boilermakers in college.  

 

Paul Millsap, PF, Utah Jazz   

2012-13 stats: 14.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.8 TPG

2012-13 salary: $8,603,633

Free-agent type: Unrestricted

Paul Millsap represents Indiana's best contingecy plan should David West not re-sign.

Paul Millsap represents the best contingency plan for the Indiana Pacers should they lose David West to free agency. 

Let's be realistic: With team president Larry Bird back in tow, the chances of David West leaving are pretty slim. Remember, it was Bird who lured West away from the Boston Celtics for less money when he tested the market back in 2011. 

However, it's always best to have a plan B in case things go awry. 

West produced 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.2 turnovers per game last season. Millsap may not score as much as West does, but all of the other areas are almost on par with one another. 

Millsap is a smooth operator with a decent mid-range game. He can definitely make opposing defenses pay for double-teaming Roy Hibbert in the post. 

Should a scenario involving Millsap arise, it would not mark the first time the Pacers have shown interest. He was already on their radar prior to the 2011 NBA draft.  

His advantage lies in the fact that he is only 28 years old. There is still plenty of basketball left in his tank.

In the event that West departs, locking Millsap up to a long-term deal would make him a fixture in Indiana's playoff appearances for years to come. 

 

Moving Forward

At this point in time, Nate Robinson, Carl Landry and Paul Millsap are the free agents who best suit the Indiana Pacers' immediate needs.

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Robinson, with his credible showing against the Miami Heat in last season's second round of the playoffs, should provide depth and instant offense at the point guard spot. 

Landry would provide insurance and stability at power forward in case Tyler Hansbrough bolts for another team. Landry, just like Robinson, made a good account of himself in the regular season and in the playoffs for the Golden State Warriors. 

Millsap, who has long been on the Indiana Pacers' radar, is the best option at the starting 4-spot in the extreme case David West opts to test the free-agent market, which is rather unlikely. Millsap would be the Pacers' plan B in case of an unforeseen snag with West. 

Unless otherwise noted, all player stats are courtesy of ESPN.com, while player salaries are courtesy of Hoopsworld.com. 

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