Pacers Add Chase Budinger in Trade With Timberwolves
The Indiana Pacers continue to make moves that support their transition to a more up-tempo offense. After finishing last season as one of the weaker offenses in the NBA, that course of action only makes sense.
Indiana took one more positive step on Sunday morning, when they finalized a deal that brought in small forward Chase Budinger from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Budinger proved his worth down the stretch with Minnesota last season, but was expected to be buried on the wing behind a deep corps of healthy wings heading into the 2015-16 NBA season.
The Pacers saw Budinger as a value, who they could use behind star small forward Paul George. Minnesota received forward Damjan Rudez in return, although it’s unclear if Rudez will receive a buyout or remain part of Minnesota’s roster.
The story here is about Budinger, who at 27 years old is still in his prime and offers solid shooting and rebounding at the wing. Indiana can use all the offense they can get, and after drafting Myles Turner and bringing in shooting guard Monta Ellis in free agency, it’s clear they’ve set out on a path of offensive redemption.
Budinger figures to be part of that plan on the surface, and President Larry Bird suggested that is very much the case when touching on the recent deal.
“We’re very glad to have Chase,” said Bird. ” He’s a guy we think will fit in our rotation. He can shoot and drive to the basket, which works well with how we want to play”.
Bird could just be mildly talking up a minor move, or he could be a little gunshy on a move that is actually huge for Indiana’s depth. Bird certaily isn’t lying about what Budinger brings to the table, as the former Arizona Wildcat is an exceptional athlete who can finish above the rim and knows how to attack the basket. More importantly, he gives the Pacers an extra shooter who can consistently hit open mid-range and deep jumpers. Budinger showed as much in his final season with the T’Wolves, when he knocked down over 36% of his three-pointers and shot 43% from the field.
Defense is not Budinger’s strong suit, but playing under a strong coaching staff and with a rim protector in Turner, it’s possible any defensive limitations he has could be masked. Even if they’re not, Indiana gets a solid offensive piece that should be able to come off the bench and provide a nice spark.
The addition of Budinger doesn’t rock the NBA, but it’s a sound move for a franchise trying to recover from a failed 2014-15 season that saw them miss the playoffs. The Pacers’ total rebranding on the court should have them putting up points at a far better rate this coming season, and that change could be just enough to increase their playoff odds.
*photo from sportspyder.com
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