Larry Bird has had an active offseason since falling to the Raptors in the second Eastern Conference-Semi Finals. He let head coach Frank Vogel go, instead opting for assistant coach Nate McMillan. And just before the 2016 Draft, they traded George Hill for Jeff Teague and the 20th pick for Thaddeus Young. It’s a new-look roster for the Pacers, faster, smaller, younger, a clear move towards pace-and-space styles of play with Myles Turner and Paul George at the focal point.
So what’s left for Larry Legend? Well, he still needs to bring back a center of some sort with both Ian Mahinmi and Jordan Hill entering the free agent market. I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble bring back Mahinmi, but if they truly want to contend better than last year, the Pacers need to finish shedding some of the parts from last year and trade Monta Ellis.
Ellis just didn’t have it in the playoffs against the Raptors. He was outmatched by the Kyle Lowry and Corey Joseph and it’s time for the Pacers to move on. It’s a shame too because George Hill was excellent in that series and he’s now headed to Utah. To really give Jeff Teague and Paul George a chance to contend, they need to shed Ellis’s contract. Ellis isn’t a good match to pair with Teague as both need the ball in their hands and are limited on defense. If they can find a buyer at any value, the Pacers would be smart to send Ellis elsewhere.
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