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Pacers Want To Add More Shooting Around Victor Oladipo

While the Pacers (30-25) should be quiet at this week's trade deadline, they are looking for some more shooting around their All-Star guard.

Christern Petersen | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – Myself and the Pacers (30-25) seem to be on the same page in viewing this Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Staying quiet makes a whole lot of sense when looking at the long-term view of how the Pacers need to move going forward.

But there will inevitably come a time when the Pacers must add additional pieces.

Where should that occur?

“The way the league is going right now, shooting is a premium,” Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said on Fox Sports Indiana in late January. “And the more shooting you can put around a playmaker like Victor…He is a guy who can get to the basket. Those guys need space and shooters create space for that. That’s a big reason why Victor has been successful is those guys around him occupy a defender and that gives him space to operate. And when they don’t occupy a defender Victor throws it to them and they are knocking down shots.

“The more shooting we can add is going to be a premium for us moving forward.”

Buchanan points out the strong shooting campaigns of Darren Collison (is shooting a career-best 43.2 percent from three), Cory Joseph (is shooting a career-best 36.2 percent from three) and Bojan Bogdanovic (who has re-gained his shooting stroke after getting off to a very hot start early this season) in opening up those driving lanes for Oladipo.

But in today’s NBA, the ability to stretch the floor from 5 positions should be a goal for all 30 teams.

The fact the Pacers can pinpoint that specific element of the game as their main need shows how quick this rebuild has taken off.

Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis coming in return for Paul George this summer have even surprised the Pacers a bit in their ascent with expanded roles.

“We felt Victor in a different situation with a little more responsibility, a little more playmaking duties, could kind of make the next step,” Buchanan says. “Now, I didn’t expect him to take 3 steps like he’s done. (The Pacers’ staff) felt like there’s more to this guy’s game. And with the right situation and the right role, he could really blossom. And that’s happened.

“Domantas has really been a pleasant surprise. Both of those guys are high character guys that bring a workmanlike attitude to our gym every day. They’ve been great for our culture.”

For Buchanan, his first year working with the Pacers comes with a word you hardly hear from a high-level executive in the midst of fighting for a playoff spot.

Fun.

Winning is fun and the Pacers are doing it with guys that this fan base has grown to love.

“This season has been so much fun,” Buchanan says. “A great group of guys, who have had good chemistry. They get along and that makes for coming to work every day so much more enjoyable.

“The fact that we are having success on the court, too, is like having a cherry on top. I love coming to work and being around this team every day.”

As the Pacers (33-25) return from the All-Star break later this week, they do so as a team destined for a surprise playoff spot.
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