Kevin Pritchard is heading into the NBA offseason with a tough task ahead of him. He needs to find a way to keep the Indiana Pacers together, while also adding a piece or two that helps them improve even more.
After an impressive 48-34 regular season, the Pacers were able to push LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Paul George was traded for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis last offseason, and no one gave the Pacers a chance to be a playoff team. Indiana surprised the entire league and now look to be a team to watch in 2018-19.
Indiana will have some money to work with this offseason should they choose to spend it. Pritchard needs to be careful and add pieces that are going to help the team and not ruin chemistry.
One player that they should consider targeting this offseason is veteran shooting guard Jamal Crawford.
He is set to hit free agency after spending the 2017-18 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Crawford did not have the kind of season that fans are used to from him.
During the regular season, Crawford ended up averaging 10.3 points per game to go along with 2.3 assists. He shot 41.5 percent from the field and knocked down 33.1 percent of his three-point field goals. His shooting numbers were down, but he was still a capable scorer off the bench.
Following the season, Crawford decided to opt out of his contract with the Timberwolves, as NBC Sports reported.
Why should the Pacers consider signing the 38-year-old Crawford this offseason?
Quite simply, they need more of a scoring punch off the bench. Crawford would slide in as the backup shooting guard and Lance Stephenson would be able to play backup small forward minutes. Adding a scoring talent like Crawford is exactly the kind of piece that Indiana needed against Cleveland at times.
Oladipo was the team’s most dominant scorer all season long, but when he went to the bench there were quite a few games where the offense took a hit. Crawford is no longer the kind of bench piece that will win the Sixth Man of the Year award, but he is capable of dropping 20 on any given night.
Crawford is also coming off of a contract that paid him just over $4 million. He is going to be looking to join a contender that will play him consistent minutes. Indiana can certainly offer that kind of situation.
Nate McMillan was one of the most improved coaches in the NBA this season. He is going to see his name talked about a lot in the NBA Coach of the Year conversation. Crawford would make his job much easier, as it would give him a legitimate and proven bench scorer every single night.
Some will not like this idea due to the down season that Crawford had with Minnesota. That being said, he simply did not fit with the system that the Wolves ran. He isn’t as dominant of a scorer as he was five years ago, but he is capable of playing much better next year.
Expect to see the Pacers take a semi-aggressive approach this offseason. Pritchard is going to try to add a piece or two, and Crawford would make a lot of sense. Whether he would view Indiana as the right fit for him or not is the question.