Key subtractions: Thaddeus Young (free agency), Bojan Bogdanovic (free agency), Tyreke Evans (suspended by NBA for at least two years), Darren Collison (retired), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Cory Joseph (free agency), Kyle O’Quinn (free agency)
The Indiana Pacers lost three starters, three key rotation bench players and a garbage time/injury replacement guy. Changing the chemistry when 60 percent of your starting lineup and 54 percent of your active roster goes out the door, especially when the chemistry was close-knit and family-like, is devastating.
But at the same time, they upgraded just about everywhere. Malcolm Brogdon is a much better player than Darren Collison. Jeremy Lamb is a massive improvement on both Tyreke Evans and Wesley Matthews. Moving Sabonis into the starting lineup makes sense when he posted the same win shares per 48 minutes (.197) as Karl-Anthony Towns last year.
Whether he can share the floor with Myles Turner better than Young did is an open question, but he’s certainly worth a try in the role.
T.J. Warren, while nowhere near as reliable as Bojan Bogdanovic, nonetheless looks like a capable replacement as a catch-and-shoot wing forward. Lamb should hold down the fort until Victor Oladipo is back from injury.
Give Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard this much. The man knows that building a roster is not fantasy basketball. Every piece on this team has been put in place with an idea of how that piece fits with all the other pieces on the team.