The Indiana Pacers put together an amazing 2017-18 NBA season after trading Paul George and being laughed at by the national media. Victor Oladipo became an All-Star for the first time and led the Pacers to a 48-34 season. They also pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Nate McMillan and company are now viewed as a force to be reckoned with, looking ahead to next season. Kevin Pritchard will also have a good amount of money to work with this offseason to improve the Pacers.
First, the team will have to figure out what Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph are going to do with their player options. Both players have earned bigger contracts than they are currently on, but perhaps they will opt into their contracts due to the camaraderie in the locker room. If they do opt in, the Pacers can then make decisions on Al Jefferson, Lance Stephenson, and a few of the other younger players.
Looking at free agency, there are a few players that could be intriguing fits for the Pacers. Aaron Gordon is one name that has been floated around as an ideal fit for Indiana.
According to HoopsHype, the Pacers could be one of the potential landing spots for Denver Nuggets’ impending free agent Will Barton.
Barton would be an intriguing fit for the Pacers, although he may not be a starter in Indiana. Bojan Bogdanovic’s option will be exercised this offseason, which should have him projected to be the starter next season as well. Lance Stephenson was the backup small forward this season, although he also played quite a few minutes at the shooting guard position.
Barton would likely end up playing the role of backup small forward. That is a role that he could flourish in, although he might be looking for a starting job.
During the 2017-18 season with the Nuggets, Barton averaged 15.7 points per game to go along with 5.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He shot 45.2 percent from the field and knocked down 37.0 percent of his three-point shots. Barton may not be a star, but he would be a nice all-around depth pickup for the Pacers.
Not only would Barton be a nice fit for the Pacers from a statistical standpoint, he also plays the way Indiana played this year. He is a hard-nosed player that takes pride in the defensive side of the ball. Barton would fit right in with the nucleus that Pritchard has built in Indiana so far.
All of that being said, the upcoming offseason is going to be entertaining. It has been a long time since the Pacers were being talked about as a favorable free agency destination, but Oladipo and company have changed the game.