Indiana Pacers: Grading their moves in NBA free agency

Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers had a very disappointing season. They moved on from their head coach Nate McMillan at the end of the 2019-20 season and hired Nate Bjorkman. The Pacers signed him to a four-year deal which they have since terminated and hired ex-Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle.

When the dust settled at the end of last season, the Pacers finished in the ninth seed and therefore were in the play-in tournament. They did not get out of this tournament so missed the playoffs which was the final nail in the coffin for Bjorkman.

The Pacers had bad luck with injuries as they lost T.J. Warren very easy on and Myles Turner, the early NBA leader in blocks per game. Despite the efforts of a number of their teammates, the season just got away from the Pacers. They drafted well, selecting Chris Duarte in the 2021 NBA draft. They had a very quiet offseason otherwise.

Indiana Pacers free agency signing No. 1: Torrey Craig

After spending his first three seasons with the Denver Nuggets, Torrey Craig was pushed out due to salary cap restrictions at the end of the 2020 season. As a result, he took his talents to the Milwaukee Bucks after the start of the 2020-21 season.

He would end up only playing 18 games with the Bucks. His defensive focussed game did not fit with the Bucks style where they surround their superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo with 3-point shooters and then let him go to work. It worked well enough to win a title this season.

However, Craig was on the other team, trying his best to stop the Bucks in the Finals while playing for the Phoenix Suns. Now that he has signed with the Pacers, he is going to bring his defense to the court on a team that has a much more rounded offense than the Bucks.

Grade: B-

Indiana Pacers free agency signing No. 2: T.J. McConnell

T.J. McConnell is a true success story of The Process for the Philadelphia 76ers. They tried to get players in who would not help the team win. Unfortunately for the 76ers, McConnell does not like to lose, he has such a competitive nature.

After four years with the 76ers, McConnell signed on with the Pacers two seasons ago and he has certainly played as advertised. He set a record coming off the bench last season with 10 steals in a game which is an incredible effort.

This season McConnell is going to be used to a much greater effect given that he has new head coach Rick Carlisle. The bench boss had J.J. Barea for the longest time, a similar type player to McConnell. Carlisle was able to get the most out of Barea and should be able to do this with McConnell.

Grade: B+

The Pacers had the majority of their team under contract for this season and as a result, they are relying on organic growth to improve the team. They are also looking forward to returning players to help improve their fortunes.

Lakers: Grading their moves during NBA free agency. dark. Next