Warning: This article contains extreme amounts of imagination. If you are not a fan of imagination, this article may not be as enjoyable.
This is a little game I'd like to call the NBA swapping game. I take a star in a team's former history, swap them with the starter who is at the same position with the team today and guess what kind of an impact they would have. Why even do this? To be honest, I'm not sure, but it's always fun to fantasize about the "what if" aspect of the NBA, right? Well, for me at least it is, and I hope that you agree too. I'm going to try and do all 30 teams, just for fun.
So, for no reason in particular, I'm going to start out with the Indiana Pacers. We will be swapping out Shooting guard Mike Dunleavy with former Indiana Pacer star Reggie Miller. How do these two stack up against each other? To be as fair as possible, I'm going to use Reggie's stats when he was the same age as Mike (30). Reggie Miller was 30 in the 1995 season.
|Player||Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per game||Three Point Percentage ||Field Goal Percentage ||Free Throw Percentage|
|Reggie Miller||19.5||2.6||3.0||41.5 ||46.2||89.7
So, there are the facts. When Reggie Miller was in the final year of his prime, he really only stands out in two areas: points and free throw percentage. Reggie's next season was better, improving in about everything but his free throws, where he actually dropped a little.
Now, what would happen with this swap? The Pacers were a dismal 37-45 and made the playoffs in the weaker eastern conference, as the eighth seed. With Reggie Miller on the squad, does that record improve? If so, to how much? Under .500 wins, or over it?
Personally, even though Reggie seemingly had an off year during that season, he would make a bigger contribution then Mike Dunleavy. I think a Danny Granger-Reggie Miller combo would bring the Pacers record to 52-30. A bold statement, right? Maybe not. Reggie Miller was the leading scorer on his team, with 19.5 points. Who was second? A 7'4" center who scored a point-and-a-half less then Reggie. Danny Granger isn't 7'4" tall—not by a mile—but he is the team's leading scorer this year with 21.6 points.
Meanwhile, today's Pacers still have a big man just two inches shorter who has a lot of upside by the name of Roy Hibbert. On the 1995 Pacers, they achieved a record of 52-30 and there was no one else really note worthy on that team. (Sorry, Byron Scott.)
What about in three years? Reggie was pretty much constant until the age of 33, better in fact, after which he begins to slowly drop off. While we haven't seen what Dunleavy does in the next three years, I assume he'll begin his drop faster then Reggie did. I'd say the Pacers continue to improve even as Reggie moves past his prime, posting similar or slightly better records from my first prediction—considering no huge moves, only minor ones are made.
We will never be able to say for sure, but just guessing from what kind of roster they had, and the roster they have today, in my eyes, Reggie would make a significant improvement in the Pacers.
Overall, I think Reggie Miller would significantly improve the Pacers if he replaced the starting shooting guard (if Reggie was the same age). He would have been a much needed boost for the Pacers, and maybe they could of held on to beat the Bulls—or at least stretch the series to six or seven. This is a guy who should be in the NBA hall of fame, after all. If he doesn't end up in there, he may become known as the greatest player never to be a basketball hall of fame player.
So, that's how NBA swap is played. I hoped you enjoyed this article. If you have any ideas for NBA Swap, or any ideas on how I should improve my article, feel free to tell me.