Just minutes before the trade deadline passed, the Indiana Pacers made the biggest trade of the year, acquiring Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Danny Granger and a 2015 second-round pick.
With the addition of Turner, the team has added another young perimeter scorer who could play a key role as the sixth man. He’s a restricted free agent this summer, so depending on how he finishes this season, the Pacers will have the option to match any offer he receives.
Turner, the former 2010 second overall pick, was having a career year averaging 17.4 PPG as the Sixers’ leading scorer. He’s improved in each of his four seasons in the league and early on this year, he was in the running for the Most Improved Player award.
Built for the postseason
The Pacers are currently ranked 20th in points per game, so the acquisition of Turner should immediately improve that. Granger was only averaging 8.3 points off the bench, and Turner will become the focal point of the second unit. He joins what is already one of the deepest teams in the league, with C.J. Watson, Chris Copeland, Ian Mahinmi, Luis Scola and Rasual Butler off the bench.
Just like the San Antonio Spurs last season, the Pacers have solid depth at every position, which helped the Spurs reach the NBA Finals. If they win the top seed in the conference, they will have home court advantage over LeBron James and the Miami Heat. After losing to the Heat in seven games last season, this looks like the year the team is fully equipped and prepared to take the Heat out.
What is Miami’s biggest weakness? Size. The Pacers added more by signing Andrew Bynum a few weeks ago, and Roy Hibbert and David West already form an imposing tandem in the frontcourt. That size has led to the being first in points allowed and fourth in rebounding. Now with the addition of Turner, GM Kevin Pritchard has constructed a complete team from top to bottom, on both ends of the court.
Should the Pacers be the favorites to win the Eastern conference now?