Scott Agness’ Mailbag – August 4, 2014

Each week, I’ll answer a collection of questions sent my way via email and Twitter. Send me your questions throughout the week for the chance to have yours included. (Comments are also welcome.)

@J_Ferg8is rasual butler still under contract?

No, he’s currently a free agent. He wants to return but right now, the Pacers’ roster is full. I do believe, after what he proved last year, that a team will pick him up. I would presume he’ll join a contending team for the veteran minimum.

@willrettig8p9sdo you think Vogel is going to center the offense entirely around PG, w/ “stretch-4 bigs” and guards spacing the floor?

Well, obviously this question is no longer relevant with Paul George out. Beforehand, yes – it would’ve “centered” around PG more than anyone.

I’m not expecting a dramatic shift in their offense. More than anything, it will be about improving efficiency. That starts at point guard, where they need whomever is on the floor to facilitate, set the offense up, and then be able to space the floor with their shooting. Unlike previous seasons, the Pacers are very thin at this point at the wing spot. When the season comes around, that may be a big opportunity for Solomon Hill, who is coming off his rookie season. I know Pacers President Larry Bird would like to see more utilization of Chris Copeland – and he’ll probably feel the same way about Damjan Rudež. But we don’t yet know what the Croatian will be able to contribute on the NBA level.

@Franpro31D0 you think that with the change of (personnel), the Pacers and coach Vogel could do some changes to the offensive system? Maybe get Nate MacMillan more involved in creating a more fluent offense?

I somewhat covered this above. Frank Vogel is ahead of the offense, whereas assistant Dan Burke takes charge on defense. However, all four coaches are influential and contribute. I would like to see McMillan take a larger role this season, whether that’s being more vocal or making more suggestions. Not being in the locker room and having a very limited window to watch practice, it’s hard to say what all he does beyond pulling guys aside and aiding Vogel. But I do know Vogel values Nate very much.

@rpmfan43anything leaking out about some key dates and match-ups concerning Pacers schedule for this upcoming season?

Nothing yet, but you can imagine the final draft is going to now going to change for the Pacers. Team officials, plus the marketing department, should have a draft in their hands. If not, very, very soon – for approval and any problems they have with it.

Paul George’s injury changes everything, including the schedule. It wouldn’t surprise me to see their national TV time cut in half following the events this past weekend. I estimated they would have 20 or so games televised by the national networks. With PG, the face of the team, out and glaring weaknesses, I could see them slated for 10 to 12. Remember, a game can be added – or cut – later on depending on how things transpire.

(Note: Last year, they were scheduled for 17: eight on ESPN, two on TNT, and seven on NBA TV.)

@scurry126Should we expect any other additions/trades to this pacers roster?

I believe so. And I thought that before George’s brutal injury. The four-headed front office always has their eyes peeled for an upgrade at point guard (via trade, of course) and they’re going to need another wing. There’s a logjam in the frontcourt while the backcourt is rather thin. Again, a solid wing would be nice. Losing Lance Stephenson to free agency was bad enough. But they’re really going to miss his defense, aggressiveness, and facilitating with George sidelined.

@Earl812: Who will start at shooting guard on opening night? Who will start at shooting guard come playoff time?

As I’ve said above, I would expect a few more roster changes before the team goes to camp. If I had to pick one right now, between C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey, I’d say the latter. They’ll need all the scoring they can get, and I like the second unit with C.J. Watson and Miles paired together. Playoffs? Let’s wait things out and discuss in seven months…

Thanks for all the questions fired my way. Don’t hesitate to send me yours.

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