The Indiana Pacers off-season thus far is going precisely as the blueprint was laid out. They came into the off-season with three priorities: re-sign David West, hire in replacements for the assistant coaches, and solidify a weak bench. They’ve managed to do all three of their priorities in just a matter of weeks from the end of the season.
By far the most important task of the off-season was to re-sign power forward David West. On Tuesday, the 6-foot-9 forward out of
Xavier reportedly agreed to a three-year $36 million contract. The third year of the contract is said to be a player option. West has been arguably the most vital piece on the Pacers roster. Last season he averaged 17.1 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Pacers which were good enough for second on the team in each category. He also led the team in field goal percentage shooting 49.8 percent from the field. The powerful big man can dominate players in the post and has a solid mid-range game to boot.
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel mentioned how important it was to have a guy like Brian Shaw as an assistant coach on your bench. Vogel loved the fact that he could turn to a former player for advice in certain game situations. He also loved how well Shaw was able to develop his younger players and gives a lot of credit to the improvement of Paul George to him. When Shaw took the Nuggets job it was an instant void to fill. The Pacers went out and then hired former Trailblazers coach Nate McMillan to fill the big shoes that Shaw left. McMillan, who has a career record of 478-452 in 12 NBA seasons, also has experience as a player after having spent 12 NBA seasons with the Sonics.
Although the Pacers final task for this off-season is still rather unfinished, they are off to a promising start. As mentioned a few days ago, C.J. Watson will sign a two-year deal with the Pacers bringing a valued scorer to their weak bench. On Wednesday the Pacers added another piece to their bench by signing point guard Donald Sloan to a two-year contract. Sloan averaged 3.5 points per game and 1.7 assists per game with in 23 games with the Hornets and Cavs last season. Although he won’t contribute as much as Watson off the bench, he’s still somebody they can turn to when needed. While more is needed to call their rebuilt bench a success, the team is off to a quality start.