The NBA trade deadline – otherwise a yawner – was salvaged by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, as they sent sixth man Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
“That’s the big one, which was nice to see because for a while there it didn’t look like there was going to be (much of anything transpiring),” Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney said on The MoJo Show. “This is a good move for the Pacers, no doubt. It gives them another ball-handler, it gives them a guy who allows them to play some smaller lineups – and both of those things are big when it comes to a possible playoff matchup against the Heat.
“When you look at last year and how Miami was able to handle Indiana in the end, one of the things that they did was they were able to put so much pressure on the ball – on George Hill and Paul George. It really became obvious they needed another ball-hander – and Evan Turner can do that.
“The other thing Miami does is they can go small on you and they can play LeBron at the four. Having Evan Turner really allows the Pacers to match up with any small lineup that the Heat would put out. This was a move made very much with the Heat in mind, and Indiana did a pretty good job.”
Turner, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft, improved each year for Philadelphia. He averaged 7.2 points as a rookie, 9.4 in his second year, 13.3 last year and 17.4 this year. The 6-7 Turner is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
Allen, meanwhile, is 6-9 with a soft touch.
Thus, in the last year, Indiana has added Turner, Allen, Luis Scola and Andrew Bynum – all of whom could play key roles against Miami. The Heat, on the other hand, have been fairly quiet.
“Miami really hasn’t made any additions,” Deveney said. “They went out and got Greg Oden, they went out and got Michael Beasley. These are not going to be difference-makers against Indiana when you look at what Indiana’s done – not just Evan Turner, but getting Lavoy Allen. Allen is a pretty underrated player. He’s a big guy who can shoot. He can do a lot of things for you, so that’s a nice pickup there.”
At this point, the Pacers have all they need to get over the hump.
“They sort of went through and they addressed every need that they felt they had in order to deal with the Heat,” Deveney said. “They went seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last time around, so they were close already. And when you look at the additions that they’ve made, they might be the better team here.”
That remains to be seen. What we do know, though, is that the Pacers and Sixers put a nice ribbon on what was otherwise a snoozer of a trade deadline.
“It looked like Andre Miller (going from Denver to Washington) was going to be the biggest name we saw moving,” Deveney said. “And that wouldn’t have been good for anybody.”