The Indiana Pacers were blown out in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 99 to 76, but they have no reason to hang their heads as they had an outstanding series. The Pacers showed their grit, toughness and advantageous inside game that until game 7 the Heat couldn’t figure out. Paul George took another step in his development and is coming closer to becoming an elite perimeter player in this league.
With the series now over we can now see clearly the areas that the Pacers can improve so that they can take the next in their development into a serious championship contender. What we know now is that the Pacers obviously lack depth, outside shooting and the biggest weaknesses of all, ball handling. In game 7 the Pacers fell behind quickly mainly due to their 15 first half turnovers and ended the night with a series high 21 turnovers. The Pacers averaged close to 16 turnovers for the series.
Do you not see it what I see? What the Pacers lack as a team is exactly what Steve Nash does well.
Steve Nash might be 39 years old, but even at that advanced age he is leaps and bounds better of a ball handler and shot creator than anybody on the Pacers roster. Also, Nash is still one of the best all-around shooters in the league as his 49 percent shooting percentage from the field and 43.8 percent from threes will show. He can be a deadly spot up shooter and outlet for Paul George drives or Hibbert out of the post.
Paul George was burdened with various responsibilities in the series against the Heat because of their shortcomings with their roster. He had to be their primary perimeter scorer, guard Lebron James and bring the ball up court and set up the offense in the half court many times as well. That is way too much to ask a player to do and still expect him to have anything left in the tank to close out games. By the time game 7 came around, Paul George was spent; only being able to muster 7 points on 2 for 7 shooting in 33 minutes before fouling out. Steve Nash would lessen Paul George’s load immensely so that George has more energy to close out games and if needed, playoff series.
Why does George Hill work for the Lakers? The Lakers roster desperately needs to get younger, quicker and more athletic. They also need to add players that can consistently knock down an outside shot to help relieve the congestion in the post for the Lakers bigs, presumably, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.
Hill is not the shooter that Steve Nash is, but is still very effective, especially as a spot up shooter. Hill is definitely not the ball handler that Nash is but with the Lakers and Bryant handling the ball for the majority of the time on the floor, he doesn’t need to be. The Lakers need quicker legs in the perimeter to improve their defense and younger players that they can count to finish the season and play heavy minutes if needed. These are all things that a 27 year old Hill can do and what Nash can no longer.
The trade of Steve Nash for George Hill works perfectly in terms of the financials of their contracts, as both make close to the same amount per year; the only difference is that Hill’s contract is 2 years longer than Nash’s (4 more years vs. 2 more years).
Nash would likely be against the trade as he agreed to be traded to the Lakers due to Los Angeles close proximity to his family in Phoenix, but unless my research is flawed (that rarely happens), he doesn’t have a no trade clause to prevent it from happening.
Both the Pacers and Lakers need to make moves this off-season to get where they want to get to. The Pacers need just a little bit more to inch closer to the elite class and make another run at a ring. The Lakers need to get younger but at the same time not take a step back talent-wise so that they can stay on path of remaining in championship contention in Kobe’s final productive years. This is a trade that helps both teams fill their respective areas of need and and reach their ultimate goals. This trade should be discussed immediately.
You can reach me at the my Twitter handle, @fullcourtfern, to discuss this article, anything Lakers or NBA related, or if you just need someone to talk to.
Like Lakeshowlife’s Facebook page to stay up to date on all things Lakers.