INDIANAPOLIS -The line “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has been trotted out a bit over the past couple of weeks.
It’s been referenced with the Indiana Pacers after they have made a few major changes to their roster despite having the top record in the NBA. Even with a solid chemistry and the stellar record, the Pacers went out and acquired center Andrew Bynum, who had a rough end to his tenure in Cleveland and wasn’t even wanted by the Bulls after trading for him.
Larry Bird rolled the dice even more at the last second of the NBA Trade Deadline, when he dealt nine-year Pacers veteran Danny Granger to the Sixers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen.
“It’s always difficult, you know how it is,” said Bird of the Granger trade. “But it was something we felt like we had to do.”
What about the effect on the team’s chemistry?
“You never know, but I don’t worry about that stuff,” said Bird. “I played on a lot of teams and we made a lot of changes.”
At least for this squad the players who are entering the fray do understand the importance of blending into what’s already a strong team. Turner and Allen joined the team on the court for the first time on Sunday afternoon during a light practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Each of them understand the importance of bringing their own talent into the system the right way.
“I’m gonna keep my eyes and my ears open,” said Turner. “Just try to walk the way they walk and get used to their foundation and their standards. That’s the most important thing.”
Turner will have to do that quickly since he’ll be expected to take over Granger’s minutes, according to head coach Frank Vogel. Certainly the guard is capable of doing that considering he started in Philadelphia and was averaging 17 points a game before the trade.
Against the Lakers on Tuesday Turner is expected to see action and he believes he will be ready for it even if he’s still learning the intricacies of the Pacers’ offense and defense.
“It’s all about the rotations and things like that. I know I have a few more plays to learn and everything and things like that,” said Turner. “But at the end of the day it comes down to effort and attention to detail.”
That’s why Vogel spent nearly 40 minutes following the practice working Turner and Allen with Bynum on basic movements and sets. Vogel says that he will work more with those new players before and after practice in the same way to try to hammer out the details.
“We’ve got sort of a base offense, maybe five, six or seven early offense sets that have a hundred options,” said Vogel. “Those options aren’t calls, it’s just playing the game. It’s basic NBA action but really it’s just getting them up to speed with terminology.”
While Allen’s time on the floor is a little bit more up in the air that Turner’s, he comes in with the same philosophy of trying to fit in fast. Bird said that Allen, who played 18 minutes a game with Sixers, will add more big men to the lineup as they approach the playoffs.
“Fit in the system, try to create chemistry with the guys very quickly,” said Allen. “These guys have been together for a while.”
Now the two new Pacers will try to make it seem as if they have been too.