Following what many fans have described as a confusing and frustrating draft, the Pacers had the opportunity to add new pieces to continue to improve the team with Free Agency opening Sunday evening. In the hours after Free Agency opened the Pacers added point guard Malcolm Brogdon and shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, two players who should help space the floor and provide great defensive versatility to a team that has been one of the best defensive teams in NBA.
Signing Brogdon is a coup in many ways for the Pacers. Reports had been pointing to signing Ricky Rubio to be the starting point guard, a move that annoyed and saddened many Pacers fans. However, Kevin Pritchard was able to bring in Brogdon, a superior defender and shooter to Rubio. As a long, defensively minded player with a great jump shot, pairing him with Victor Oladipo when he returns from injury will create one of the best defensive backcourts in the NBA. Brogdon is also one of the few players in NBA history to shoot 40% from 3 point range, 50% from the field and 90% from the free throw line. His shooting, basketball IQ and offensive efficiency should provide stability at the point guard position. To get Brogdon, however, the Pacers had to give up a 1stround draft pick and two 2ndround draft picks in a sign and trade agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks. On paper, that is a hefty price to pay to sign a free agent, but Brogdon should quickly prove worth the investment.
Up until this season, Lamb was most well known for being part of the trade that sent James Harden to the Houston Rockets, but he is coming off his best season in the NBA and will bring his evolving game to the Pacers. He joins the Pacers after a career-high 12.9 points per game and shooting 37% from 3. Though it is unlikely he will be able to match his game by game production, Lamb should be able to fill in adequately for Victor Oladipo while he continues to recover from the knee injury he suffered last season and provide valuable minutes off the bench once Oladipo returns to the starting lineup.
The start of free agency could not have gone much better for the Pacers, even though two starters from last season are leaving in Thad Young and Bojan Bogdanovic. They signed their starting point guard and added a valuable rotation player who will play considerable minutes through the first half to two-thirds of a season. Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb are a bit of a best case scenario considering the Pacers cap space and market size and should be valuable players to a Pacers team that has aspirations of shocking the NBA landscape and competing for their first NBA Finals appearance since 2000.