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February 27, 2014

Rick Teverbaugh: Pacers closing in on final pieces to title run

The Indiana Pacers nearly have all of the pieces in place to secure the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Evan Turner’s performance against Los Angeles on Tuesday was enough to convince me he’s a better fit for what Indiana needs than Danny Granger.

Granger was a really good player and he meant a lot to the Pacers during the days when the team was scuffling around trying merely to make the playoffs without much hope of actually advancing through the playoffs.

But his talents aren’t as well suited to what his role was coming off the bench and the talents he possesses aren’t as strong as when he was in his prime.

Enter Turner. He is a more mobile player and much younger as well. His is a shooter and a playmaker. Those are things the second unit needs for a couple of reasons.

Turner makes it possible for the second unit for the Pacers to function much as the first unit does because Turner’s style is much like that of starter Lance Stephenson. So the switch from first to second unit, whether done gradually or in large clumps, can be less jarring to players and to momentum.

The second reason is that when a member of the second unit comes onto the floor, that player can more easily fit into what the starting unit is doing.

Now the only thing missing to the mid-season transformation is the addition of big man Andrew Bynum.

It is no secret that the Miami Heat can’t defend inside and their addition of Greg Oden does very little to improve that deficiency. Once starter Ray Hibbert has to take a seat on the Pacers’ bench, Indiana needed a dangerous offensive threat to put on the floor in his place.

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