Heading into free agency, the Pacers already knew who their starting five was going to be. Thad Young, who opted in, was the only real domino to fall there, as everyone else had contracts which were either fully or partially guaranteed.
The bench? Well, that was a different story.
While it certainly was a decent unit last year, there's always room for improvement - and Kevin Pritchard hopes he's done that with the acquisitions of Doug McDermott, Tyreke Evans, and Kyle O'Quinn.
Each of that free agent trio project as primary backups at their positions (SF, SG, C) and makes the Pacers' bench look like this:
- PG: Cory Joseph
- SG: Tyreke Evans
- SF: Doug McDermott
- PF: Domantas Sabonis
- C: Kyle O'Quinn
As I said on the show last week, I think three of those guys - Joseph, Evans, Sabonis - would be starters on most NBA teams. Between them, they have over 650 starts (Evans has over 400 alone, albeit with some bad teams) under their best, and each has meaningful NBA experience.
Joseph is a rock solid veteran, who is one of the best backup point guards in the league. I know fans were sad to see Lance Stephenson go (so was I), but Evans is an upgrade on paper. McDermott provides some much needed shooting and there shouldn't be much of a drop off when Bojan Bogdanovic takes a breather. Sabonis is basically a starter, but the Pacers' frontcourt is too crowded, and O'Quinn has been a steady backup big for six NBA seasons. Hell, I didn't even mention Aaron Holiday, who is the Pacers' third point guard and an obvious upgrade from Joe Young.
The question is can this be one of the best second units in the NBA? It's earned national praise, FWIW.
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