Two birds with one stone, or rather, two news items with one post.
First of all, the Pacers beat the Pistons in a grudge match, 102-101, thanks to a seemingly wayward Danny Granger desperation pass that found a streaking Brandon Rush, who threw it down two-fisted to give the Pacers a one point lead; then Darren Collison played surprisingly good defence on Rodney Stuckey, who threw the ball away with a second to go.
Oh, and Mike Dunleavy suffered a broken thumb in the game against Washington the day before, and is out indefinitely. Too bad, because Mike has been shooting the ball well and gives the Pacers another streaky presence -- though this now gives Rush an opportunity to work himself back into the rotation and may even give Lance Stephenson a chance to get his first minutes in the NBA. Defensively, you've gotta like Rush over Dunleavy.
But the biggest news of the day: the Pacers were ready to trade Josh McRoberts for OJ Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies, but the deal fell apart at the last minute. Thank goodness!!!
Mayo, a 6'4", 23 year-old shooting guard, was once the best high school player in the nation, but this season has been sitting on the bench a lot. Right now he is averaging 12.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and shooting just 0.409 from the field. His career averages of 16.7, 3.5 and 2.8 are a lot prettier.
But my question is: WHY would the Pacers want yet another swingman? And WHY would it be at the expense of of their energetic power forwards, who has actually been playing quite well?
Don't they already have too many? Rush, Dunleavy (even though he's out), Granger, Paul, D. Jones, and Stephenson (though he hasn't played).
McRoberts is no franchise player, but he's been adequate and is still improving. He may only be averaging 7.4, 5.4 and 2.2 per game, but he's shooting over 54% from the field and is the team's most athletic big man -- one that regularly features on the highlight reels. His defense is still lacking and he still occasionally makes bad decisions, but the Pacers need him a lot more than they need Mayo.
McRoberts has a PER of 15.9 (league average is always 15), while Mayo's is only 12.4. 'Nuff said.
While I would have liked to have seen the Pacers make a move to be more competitive before heading into the offseason with lots of expiring contracts (and not much of a chance of landing a prized free agent), this was one trade that I'm glad didn't go through.
HOWEVER, the fact that the Pacers even contemplated this trade has got me thinking -- what are they looking for? Are they trying to tell Hansbrough that he's going to be the MAN at the power forward position? Are they saying that Brandon Rush is effectively gone after this season? Dahntay Jones? And what kind of effect will news of this kind have on the team and their performance?
Very interesting. I guess we'll see when they take on the Deron-Williams-less Utah Jazz. I still remember when they spanked the Pacers in Utah. It's time for payback.