C.J. Watson during his last days in Brooklyn (Getty Images)
It’s a little cruel to single the guy out, but Indiana Pacers guard D.J. Augustin was saddled with the title of The NBA’s Worst Backup Point Guard on an Important Team last season, and for good reason. It’s true that the Pacer bench was lacking in options at times, with Tyler Hansbrough probably still up-faking over three defenders in an otherwise empty gym somewhere as we speak, but that doesn’t fully argue away the abject lack of production any Augustin-led unit provided. This was especially apparent in the postseason, even as Indiana played into the first week of June, one game away from the Finals.
Enter C.J. Watson, a player widely regarded as one of the NBA’s best reserve point guards despite a litany of knockout statistics to his name. Watson made his hay as Chicago’s designated Number Two behind Derrick Rose for two years, he served Brooklyn well in 2012-13, and he’s decided to ship of to Indiana for two years – as first reported on his Twitter account.
Nobody posted up more than these Pacers in 2012-13, and while the team still struggles to score as a rule, Watson’s presence will pay off in spades. The team merely needs a settling influence to run the show off the bench, somebody who won’t turn the ball over – and while Watson isn’t a lights-out shooter nor finisher, he contributes just enough on his own to make this move a massive upgrade for Indiana. Watson is a fantastic asset to have near the end of a shot clock when the play breaks down, as he lopes to the rim, and Indiana featured plenty of those sorts of breakdowns during the regular and postseason in 2012-13. He also turned the ball over far less than Augustin in 2012-13.
Better yet, Indiana will be paying Watson through his prime, tossing the 28-year old a two year deal while adding yet another feature to an improving offense that should welcome Danny Granger back to the fold in 2013-14.
In attempting to add to that offense, the Pacers probably wouldn’t mind adding someone of Carl Landry’s talents, either. Though Indiana has been rumored to be after forward Chris Copeland (a player that the Knicks seem strangely cool on, after agreeing to acquire Andrea Bargnani early Monday morning), Landry seems like the sort of perfect mini-David West to back up David West, as we saw Landry execute while in New Orleans a few years back. Speaking to the Lafayette Journal and Courier this week, Landry appeared to be interested in diving back into the Eastern Time zone:
“I don’t know if that matters that much to me, but as far as my grandmother and my mom, for them to stay up and watch games on TV that start at 9 p.m. — or later — Central time, that’s a little tough for them,” Landry said Monday. “Sometimes those West Coast games don’t finish until midnight or 1 a.m. (in the Midwest), especially if it’s an overtime game.
“That part of it is tough on my family. But my dream always was to play in the NBA, so it really doesn’t matter if it’s the East Coast or the West Coast. I love the game, so I will play in any time zone.”
“The Pacers have had interest in me over the last two years,” Landry said. “Could I play there? Yes. Obviously, they are a playoff team and one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. They showed that this year. And for me, Indiana is where it all started.
“Having a chance to come back and play in Indiana would definitely be something I would think about if they are interested in me. The Pacers are a good team, and if given an opportunity to play for them, I would give it all I have.”
One problem. The Left Coast wants their man back. From Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:
Carl Landry meets w/ Doc Rivers and Clippers tonight, sources tell Y! Free agent forward was a favorite of Chris Paul's w/ New Orleans.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013
It may come down to In-and-Out over Steak and Shake. And though it’s hard to beat a good steakburger, I can’t blame Carl if he wants to continue working in Pacific Time, animal-style.
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