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Are The Pacers Now A Legit Threat To The Heat After Adding Evan Turner To Their Roster?

Submitted by on February 22, 2014 – 12:34 pmNo Comment

The Indiana Pacers are sick and tired of being considered a second-tier team compared to the Miami Heat. Whenever anyone discusses which team will represent the Eastern Conference in the 2014 NBA Finals, they always seem to mention LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the Heat first. And while the Heat have earned the right to be mentioned first—they have, after all, won the last two NBA titles—the Pacers think they deserve some consideration, too, seeing as how they have All-Stars like Paul George and Roy Hibbert on their roster in addition to really solid role players like Lance Stephenson and David West. And after what they did yesterday, they do deserve some consideration.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Pacers agreed to send Danny Granger and a second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The move, which seemingly came out of nowhere, is meant to give the Pacers’ offense a boost. But it’s also meant to show the Heat that they’re serious about giving them a run for their money this year and challenging them for the Eastern Conference trophy. They don’t want to “almost” win the East again; they want to beat the Heat and advance to the NBA Finals.

Will Turner allow them to do that, though? If he gels well with the Pacers current roster and does what he did for the Sixers, then yes. Turner is a versatile player who can score in a variety of ways and will fit into the Pacers’ offense nicely. The challenge, of course, will be working him into the lineup and getting him comfortable with playing with his new teammates. He’ll need to learn on the fly and, initially, the Pacers might run into some issues and struggle to find a rhythm with Turner on the court. But even if he doesn’t give the Pacers 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game like he gave the Sixers, he’s an upgrade over Granger who wasn’t logging a lot of minutes and who had become injury-prone in recent years. So Turner will help the Pacers improve in certain aspects of the game.

That doesn’t mean the Pacers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference this season. Not yet anyway. They still need to prove that they can incorporate Turner into their system. But assuming they can find a way to do that, Turner gives the Pacers one more weapon to use against the Heat. And in due time, he could be exactly what they need to dethrone the defending champs.

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