Based on the Chicago Bulls’ seemingly endless haul of free agents, the Indiana Pacers are likely to be the next team to chase after stars. However, the lack of a young, budding star in their starting line-up has left the team with the least amount of cap room in the NBA.
Back in July, the Pacers traded for Miles Bridges, the number two overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft to further their rebuild. After a short stint in the G League, Bridges made his NBA debut on November 2nd, 2018. The Pacers won the game in which he logged 35 minutes, including the final eight minutes.
The Indiana Pacers had a very successful offseason, and here are our grades for how they did.. Read more about colts and let us know what you think.
Following a dismal 2020-21 season in which they missed the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers had a very quiet summer. The most significant change this summer was a coaching change. After just one season, Indiana parted ways with Nate Bjorken and rehired former head coach Rick Carlisle to take over the reins.
Indiana has been dogged by trade rumors this season, especially concerning starting center Myles Turner, and this has carried over into the summer. The Pacers, on the other hand, have stuck with their core thus far. They should have a playoff-caliber season this season if they stay healthy.
Chris Duarte, the No. 13 overall selection, is maybe Indiana’s most important acquisition this summer. The 24-year-old is regarded as an NBA-ready talent who should be able to help the Pacers reach the playoffs straight away.
Indiana made sure to keep their core together in free agency by keeping backup point guard TJ McConnell. Torrey Craig, a 3-and-D forward who participated in the 2021 NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns, is their only significant summer addition. McConnell and Craigh may not be able to help the Pacers much, but they should still be able to contribute to Rick Carlisle’s rotation. Here’s how they performed with their two free agent acquisitions from the previous summer.
NBA Free Agency Grades for the Indiana Pacers in 2021
TJ McConnell: B, B, B, B, B, B, B, B
TJ McConnell was re-signed by the Pacers to a four-year, $33.6 million contract that will keep him on the roster until at least the 2023-24 season.
For what he is, McConnell is as consistent and dependable a backup point guard as any club in the NBA can find. He isn’t the most athletic or flamboyant player in the league, and he won’t be lighting up the scoreboard too frequently. Other intangibles that McConnell offers are things that won’t show up on a stat sheet. The 6-foot-1 guard is a high-energy player who isn’t hesitant to do the grunt work for his team.
Several of McConnell’s former teammates have gone on public to express their gratitude for his contributions to the club. They admire his selflessness and recognize how valuable a team player he is. When McConnell is on the floor, he has a good effect. His greatest quality seems to be his leadership and presence in the locker room. This is perhaps why the Indiana Pacers tried all they could to keep him.
Torrey Craig: B, B, B, B, B, B, B,
This past summer, Indiana signed Torrey Craig to a two-year, $10 million contract. Craig was a crucial reserve for the Phoenix Suns during their spectacular playoff run in 2021, as previously stated. The 30-year-old was a standout in his position, often defending the other team’s best wing players. The 30-year-old has proven throughout his career that he can have a good winning effect on whatever club he joins, having previously played in the same role for the Denver Nuggets.
Indiana could benefit from having a 3-and-D swingman on their roster. Craig should be able to earn a spot in coach Carlisle’s rotation despite the fact that the Indiana Pacers are stacked with forwards and guards.
The NBA draft wasn’t necessarily the best or most exciting event in the league, but it did give us some good news for fans of the Indiana Pacers. As the team’s brass goes in search of new talent to start their rebuild, we’ve graded the team’s performance on every free agent signing in this year’s draft class.. Read more about free agent centers 2021 and let us know what you think.
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