The Indiana Pacers are now even closer to winning the title that has consistently eluded them thus far.
Under the guidance of Larry Bird, the team has re-signed David West, dipped into free agency to sign a good backup point guard in CJ Watson, then again to sign a quality small forward in Chris Copeland and have now completed a deal with Phoenix for power forward Luis Scola, a solid post player and rebounder to back up David West.
The Pacers second line is beginning to shape up into another team’s starting lineup. With quality backups at nearly every position, Indiana may be able to make that extra push to get past Miami and hold off Chicago through the return of Derrick Rose.
Acquiring Scola cost the team very little. Giving up their eleventh man in the rotation, forward Gerald Green, third option center Miles Plumlee and a protected future first round pick, Indiana didn’t exactly have to break the bank to get Scola, who after being amnestied by Houston a few years ago only makes $4.5 million over the next two seasons.
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Scola brings to the table a career average of 14 points and 7.5 rebounds over the span of his career, averaging around 12 and 6 in Phoenix last year where he sometimes came off the bench. His post skills are above average and at 6-foot-9 inches tall he is another big body the Pacers can use to bang around inside and grab rebounds.
One reason this is such a big acquisition for the Pacers is that it keeps the team from going over the luxury tax threshold yet allows them to add a veteran who has been a borderline All-Star at times, at least on the offensive end. Whether or not Scola can adjust to playing Indiana’s intense style of defense will be interesting, but then again he is only there to backup David West, not become the Frank Vogel’s primary power forward.
At times last season, one thing that inhibited the Pacers was there lack of firepower off the bench. While the starting lineup gave teams plenty to fear, Gerald Green, D.J. Augustin and Ian Mahimi didn’t exactly have opponents shaking in their boots. But this season, the team will see the return of Danny Granger (assuming they don’t trade him) and significant improvements to their second line. Perhaps this time they won’t be on the wrong side of a game seven in the Eastern Conference Finals.