1 player Pacers must trade in 2023 NBA offseason

The Indiana Pacers have one of the better young cores in the NBA but, as the proverbial saying goes, they have too many hands in the pot.

All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton is their primary playmaker, and he should be given that he has the best combination of scoring and passing attributes. Rookie wing Bennedict Mathurin has been excellent since Day 1; an aggressive three-level scorer, he has every right to stake his claim as the future second option.

Aside from him, and just looking at the perimeter, the Pacers also have to find on-ball roles for Andrew Nembhard, T.J. McConnell, and Jordan Nwora. Though they know how to function as off-ball specialists, Chris Duarte and Aaron Nesmith like the ball in their hands too.

Again, there are just too many hands in the pot. Too many chefs in the kitchen.

Yet, while there’s obstacles moving forward in their offensive balance and pecking order, the primary problem for the Pacers this season has been their defense.

That’s why veteran shooting guard Buddy Hield is the one player the Pacers must trade in the offseason.

1 player Pacers must trade in 2023 NBA offseason

First, it should be noted that Hield is one of the premier shooters in the NBA and not just this season.

12th among active players in career 3-pointers made with 1,692 and 14th among active players in career 3-point percentage (40.1), Hield’s calling card has been his ability to catch fire from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, even with Hield shooting 42.0 percent in his first full season with the Pacers, his defensive shortcomings are often too much to overcome.

The biggest problem is literally his size.

At 6-foot-4, Hield lacks the playmaking mentality to see him as much more than a one-position player. However, the other wings on the roster not only are more impactful defenders and bigger players but more versatile as well.

Duarte and Mathurin, who could start on the wings for the Pacers and thrive, are both 6-foot-6. Both are also aggressive on-ball defenders who routinely make impact plays for Indiana when playing off-ball.

Behind them should be Nembhard and Nesmith, both of whom who only stand a bit taller than Hield. However, while Hield has a 6-foot-8 wingspan (Nesmith’s is 6-foot-10) and uses it to his advantage to create steals, both Nembhard and Nesmith are more consistent on that end.

Nembhard, fearless, is a strong on-ball defender in particular. Nesmith is simply a player with a high motor and plenty of length. Not a lockdown defender but useful, nonetheless.

That said, if the Pacers didn’t have so many players that were also capable of being above-average 3-point shooters, it might be a different conversation. But they do.

If the Pacers should move Hield, the first team that comes to mind is going to be the Los Angeles Lakers, as they’ve been linked to both he and center Myles Turner for a while. However, with their trade deadline moves, Indiana may have to look elsewhere for a trade partner.

That doesn’t mean they would have to look far though.

Who could the Pacers get for Buddy Hield?

The Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls are all teams that could use a shooter of Hield’s caliber. Though he’s unlikely to start for at least one of these teams, both have a projectable role for the former sixth overall pick.

With the Pistons, he actually could start alongside Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham, talented playmakers but unreliable outside threats.

With the Bulls, Hield would be playing beside a strong perimeter defender in Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball (if he returns), or Patrick Beverley (should he-resign). Outside of star guard Zach Lavine and six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan, he would likely be their most dangerous scorer. That being said, having Hield, LaVine, and DeRozan on the court at the same time might spell be just as dangerous for them.

Still, as the Pacers are still looking for frontcourt help, each of these teams have a valuable player to offer.

From the Pistons, the primary targets should be former lottery picks James Wiseman and Marvin Bagley III.

The Bulls could opt to move on from the untapped two-way potential of Patrick Williams, given that he would be on the final season of his contract in 2023-24.

The post 1 player Pacers must trade in 2023 NBA offseason appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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