The Indiana Pacers are undergoing a major change to their franchise with Larry Bird’s decision to let head coach Frank Vogel walk this offseason. Bird chose assistant coach Nate McMillan to replace Vogel and it appears that the team would like to play a faster tempo on the offensive side of the court.
If the Pacers are going to play more up-tempo offensively, they need to make a move or two in free agency. McMillan and Bird both know that, and there are a few different players that they should target.
One of those free agents that the Pacers should pursue is Charlotte Hornets’ impending free agent point guard Jeremy Lin, who is coming off of a big season.
During the 2015-16 season with the Hornets, Lin averaged 11.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game mostly in a bench role. Lin did receive 13 starts in the 78 games that he played with the Hornets. He fits into a fast-paced offense and would add a scoring punch to the second unit while also being a willing creator for his teammates.
At 27-years-old, Lin would add a lot of experience to the table in his short NBA career. He started his career off with a bang in New York by creating “Linsanity” and has also gone through some depressing times with the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin seemed to find himself with the Hornets and played a confident brand of basketball that he hadn’t shown since his tenure with the Knicks.
Lin shot 41.2 percent from the field overall last season and knocked down 33.6 percent of his three-point shots as well.
There are other point guards on the open free agency market that would be better pickups for the Pacers. While there may be better players available, the price tag that they have will be much higher than what Lin will be looking to receive. He could very well be a “Plan B” type of option to Mike Conley.
Indiana knows that upgrading the point guard position over George Hill is a major need. Lin could step into the starting lineup if the Pacers chose to slide Hill up to the shooting guard position. That would put Monta Ellis on the bench as the sixth man, which Ellis may not be willing to accept.
Bird will have some money to play with this offseason and is already beginning to talk about the team’s need to bring in a piece or two in free agency. If he wants to get the Pacers back toward the top of the Eastern Conference, a splash will be needed in free agency or on the trade market.
Outside of Lin, the Pacers could go with the aforementioned Conley, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, or simply stick with George Hill. Joe Young is a young and improving piece for Indiana and they could choose to draft a point guard. That being said, no player will bring the type of spark and energy that Lin seems to always bring to the court.
It remains to be seen how much interest Lin has in leaving Charlotte. He was very happy with his role and has talked about being willing to take a hometown discount to remain with the Hornets.
Expect to see the Pacers explore bringing in a new point guard this offseason and don’t be shocked if Lin’s name comes up. He is a very smart player and would be a nice pickup for Indiana.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should consider pursuing Jeremy Lin when NBA free agency opens up this offseason? Would he be the type of upgrade that the Pacers are searching for at the point guard position? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Duane Burleson]