Scott Agness’ Mailbag — May 31, 2016

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.)

It has been a while since I’ve published a mailbag post on here. I am active on Twitter answering your questions and interacting after a game, event, or transaction.

It has been a relatively quiet offseason so far. The Finals begin tomorrow, June 1 (finally!), and there will continue to be pre-draft workouts at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Then, it’s draft time, and Pacers President Kevin Pritchard will have to decide on three current players (Robinson, Christmas, Young) … whether to guarantee their contract for next season before the start of free agency on July 1.

Anyways, let’s get to it.


@indpacers33I heard somewhere Monta Ellis left the locker room quick after game 4. Is he in this coming years plans?

This is true. Monta was one of, if not the first guy out of the locker room after the Pacers lost game four at home and thus their season was over. Most of us were over talking with Jeff Teague, a few others nearby at C.J. Miles’ locker.

The Pacers’ locker room is is curve in and Ellis’ locker, from standing in front of the white board at the middle of the room, is the first one on the right. He’s on the end. After every game, he’s one of the first to shower and get out of the there. And most of the time, he can do so without talking to the media. He clearly doesn’t enjoy that. He’s all basketball.

He’s under contract for two more years at $11 million per year. The final year is a player option, but it’s hard to imagine another team would pay him even more. His points per game average (8.5) was the lowest since his rookie season in 2006. He’s a decent 3-point shooter at 31.9 percent but he looked like he lost a step at 31.

The team was statistically better with him coming off the bench rather than starting. I’m sure the team would like to get his contract off the books, but how? That’s the big question.

@Miracle34Top realistic free agent you want to see the pacers go after that wasn’t on the roster this past season.

I’m not there yet because there are several things we need to know first. Like what the Pacers get in the draft, and if they move forward with Paul George on the roster. Or do they move him?

Generally, they need toughness. They need players with experience in winning, and winning at a high level. They need an outside shooter, even more so with C.J. Miles opting to decline his player option for next season, which was the business decision for the 30-year-old.

Toughness. Winner. Shooter. Bruiser in the middle.

@jlange72rudy gay to pacers a good fit?

No no no no no no no.

Have I made myself clear enough?

For whatever reason, teams haven’t won with him. It’s hard to know exactly what goes on in the locker room since we are not there. Toronto unexpectedly won more in 2014 after trading him! He’s similar to Paul George. Call him Paul George-lite. His numbers look nice, but I don’t think this would be a good fit, just like I never thought Monta Ellis would be. And he’s not.

Oh, and he’s coming off a very difficult Achilles injury that he suffered against the Pacers on January 18. That just might be the most painful, most grueling injury today. And he’s 30.

So, again, no. Hard pass.

@jwdcx2336just curious what your take is on Pacers poor chemistry this past year. Anyone to blame in your opinion for the team not gelling?

I believe it stemmed from roster composition. Too many like-mindec guys. There was no dominant voice in the locker room. Paul George can lead by example. Jeff Teague and Thad Young can, too.

Having six news faces in the locker room didn’t help. Teague and Young were the new pieces in the starting lineup. Myles Turner moved to center.

Communication was poor all season and they consistently looked like they were reading different chapters from the same book. Throw in a new head coach, that new voice Larry Bird desired in Nate McMillan, and everything was very new.

“I haven’t felt like we’ve been connected all year. … That’s what we were trying to find,” George said at All-Star break.

Without a strong, vocal leader, this team wasn’t connected. And it cost them wins. Five, six? Who knows.

Former coach Frank Vogel used “togetherness” daily. He wanted to see his defense on a string. None of that was there and it was clear for all of us to see.

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