By Craig Fields
So the NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and I have to tell you, I am a little disappointed. I mean don’t get me wrong. I am relieved that it is over. There were some interesting potential trades out there from these unreliable “anonymous” sources and unfounded rumors that made the deadline almost unbearable at times.
For instance did you know that Luol Deng, who had just been traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers about a month ago, was supposedly going to get traded again to an “unknown team”. How about the big man Jordan Hill of the Los Angeles Lakers, who had packed his bags and was on his way to either Brooklyn to play for the Nets or Phoenix to play for the Suns. What about the swirling clouds of speculation that Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton would be traded together? This stuff was almost comical.
That being said, there was one move that made the trade deadline worth being a topic in sports media. No the deal was not as big as trading a high profile player like Rudy Gay to the Kings, but it was definitely newsworthy.
I’m talking about the trade that involved Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. There are a couple of reasons why this deal was so interesting. Those reasons affect the Pacers both in the short term and the long term.
So as we all may or may not know, Danny Granger has not been the same player since getting surgery done on his left knee “to treat left patellar tendinosis”. Before that surgery he was a 20-point a game scorer and poised to be the anchoring swingman in an up-and-coming Indiana Pacers offensive attack.
However, when he came back after the surgery, he was never the same. That combined with a recent calf injury has Granger looking like a shell of his former self. This season has been all but a wash for Granger, averaging just 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds a game. Granger has now fallen into the maligned category of elder statesman who is 30+ years old with a history of injuries and declining production. Not a good look if you are the Indiana Pacers trying to make a title run this year.
Maybe that is what led them to pull the trigger on the once dependable swing man and get a couple of talented young guns from Philly. Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen help to make a deep team a little bit deeper.
They will be able to provide instant offense and rebounding off of a bench that has a hard time producing numbers. The Indiana Pacers are currently ranked 27th in the league in bench scoring at 25.8 points per game. To be successful in the playoffs you will need bench production. Evan Turner averages 17.4 points per game and can be considered an all-around guard coupling six rebounds and almost four assists a game. Though those numbers are a little inflated because of the lack of offensive options that the 76ers have, the production cannot be refuted.
Lavoy Allen averages almost six points and six rebounds a game. Not bad for a guy who can come off the bench and clean up the the missed shots and be very active around the rim. Even though Allen will be behind Luis Scola, a physical presence coming off the bench is always a good thing.
Now that we have talked about the short term, let’s discuss the long term.
Lance Stephenson will become a free agent at the end of the season; an unrestricted free agent at that. The Pacers will try to do everything they can to keep the young talented 2-guard. However, they might be priced out because of his production. You better believe that other teams have taken notice of him and will be looking to snatch the young man up, quickly.
If that is the case, the Pacers will be able to plug in a guy from their bench, Evan Turner, who just might be able to fill that void almost flawlessly. He of course would have to learn to play the Pacers brand of defense, but that would come in the off-season. Turner would be able to offer the same size that Stephenson offers at shooting guard. With Stephenson at 6-5 and 227, and Turner at 6-7 and 220, the defensive scheme would be able to pretty much stay the same for Coach Frank Vogel’s Pacers.
Now this is all just speculation of course, but speculation that is possible because of the move that was the highlight of the trade deadline. Who knows what that front office has under their sleeve. One thing that is certain is that this move shows just how serious the Pacers are at representing the eastern conference in this year’s NBA Finals.