Scott Agness’ Mailbag — Mar. 24, 2018

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

Let’s get to it.

@MC1Dell: What is the Pacers record since Glenn Robinson has been back playing? Coindence OR not?

Glenn made his season debut after the All-Star break on Friday, Feb. 23 against the lowly Atlanta Hawks. It was a home game and it was important for him to put the injury behind him before they went on the road for four in a row.

It was the first major injury of his career, a left ankle injury that was bad enough to require surgery. The mental aspect was different for him, so that was challenging. Physically, he often felt ready to go but it’s that mental hurdle. First cut, first roll, first fall.

It was notable that GRIII did a two-game rehab stint in Fort Wayne with the Mad Ants of the G League, and that Pacers head athletic trainer Josh Corbeil joined him. Glenn is in a contract year.

As far as the team record, I don’t believe there’s any correlation. They’re 9-6 and two of those six losses are “bad losses,” – in Atlanta and Dallas. However, they made up for them with road wins on that very same trip against Eastern Conference playoffs teams, even more important, in Milwaukee and Washington DC.

Coach McMillan has considered tightening the rotation here late in the season, so GRIII may be the first guy out. That was the case Monday in a home win over the Lakers. He has to stay ready.

@briscoeb_: what are your thoughts on the Trevor Booker signing?

How about the foresight by Kevin Pritchard to bring in another capable big? When Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner went down with left ankle injuries, the first thought was that Booker’s role would potentially be much larger than anyone expected.

Turner, though, missed only one game and Sabonis, out for five in a row, is nearing a return.

Booker is a veteran who wants to be part of a winning culture and winning organization. He had several opportunities after getting bought out by Philadelphia but settled on the Pacers after making some calls. He said he watches League Pass every night so he was aware of the team’s success and team chemistry. He wants to add to that.

Something of note: Booker is superbly dressed for every game. It’s something he started near the beginning of his career. Most guys go for comfort or wear the latest trend. Booker looks sharp each game in a suit. You don’t see that anymore. In recent memory, only Ian Mahinmi comes to mind.

Get to know Booker in a recent interview I had with him.

Speaking of Ian…

@jackcarknee: Not pacers exactly, but it looks like Ian Mahinmi underwent a serious physical transformation and now is playing better. Any commentary on that?

Well that was unexpected. Ian Mahinmi brought up in a Pacers mailbag. I like it, don’t get me wrong. He’s one of my favorite individuals I’ve worked with in the NBA.

It’s not all too surprisingly but when you have your health, you are a much better performer. He’s sixth across the league in offensive rebound percentage, rebounding misses almost 15 percent of the time.

[Podcast with Ian Mahinmi]

He couldn’t stay on the court last season, his first in D.C. He had multiple knee operations that sidelined him. This season, he’s appeared in 69 of 72 games. His numbers are down because he’s playing off the bench, but he’s been a productive backup center — much like he was here in Indy. He is missed.

@ayruuus: What player do you think the Pacers will look to bring to Indy in the off-season? Or what position do you believe we will look to improve? To me, seems like either a SF/PG

Let’s wait on this season to be over until we get into a specific player. We’re not even to the playoffs yet.

So much is unknown about the team next season because of the franchise’s flexibility. Only four guys for certain are under contract for next season: Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and T.J. Leaf. Thad Young and Cory Joseph each have Player Options, and there are Team Options on Lance Stephenson and Joe Young, plus small player guarantees for Darren Collison and Bojan Bogdanovic.

That was by design. Pritchard wasn’t exactly sure what they’d have and so flexibility is even more important.

They’ll need to address power forward regardless of what Thad Young decides. Booker could be an option. And then I think they need a sharpshooter. Impressively, Collison leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.1 percent, easily a career high.

More on him in a story to come.

@RyanAStevens: Player that needs to have the best ending to the season to ensure a playoff bid not named Oladipo?

A playoff bid will happen but I think Myles Turner is the wildcard. Especially as Sabonis rehabs an ankle injury, having a reliable big inside to snatch rebounds and protect the rim, especially come playoff time, is incredibly important.

I know many fans, and some media members, are down on his play this season even though he has been good overall. While his numbers aren’t higher than last season, he also has more help from Sabonis. Those two are making it awfully difficult to keep them off the floor at the same time.

Turner turned 22 years old today. He’s just in his third year. Over the last month-plus, Turner has made a point to be feisty in the paint and get some “dirty rebounds,” to use Pritchard’s phrase. That comes from boxing out and maneuvering your way around the defense. He can bulk up in the offseason, this is about keeping his motor going strong.

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