Apr 20, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard C.J. Watson (1) celebrates a three point shot against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
(UNDATED) There are plenty of teams swinging for the fences in free agency with the hopes of signing Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala or Josh Smith. There's quite a bit of talent available for the right price. But there are other teams like the Indiana Pacers, who feel great about their core and just need to add some complementary pieces to round out their rotation. Some of those signings for contending teams can be just as important as bringing in a big-time talent.
It looks like the Pacers might be upgrading their bench with the signing of a new backup point guard. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld and David Aldridge of NBA.com are both reporting that the Pacers have agreed to a two-year deal in principle with C.J. Watson to be the backup to George Hill. It will technically be the fourth backup point guard for the Pacers in three seasons.
This is a huge get for the Pacers. The Pacers had Darren Collison starting during the majority of the 2011-12 season before moving him out of the starting lineup (even after he returned from injury) in favor of Hill. Hill was signed last summer for five years and $40 million to be the starting point guard moving forward. Then the Pacers traded Collison for Ian Mahinmi and moved to D.J. Augustin as the backup point guard.
However, Augustin continued to struggle, like he has throughout his NBA career, scoring and running the team. He shot a career-worst 35.0 percent from the floor and made just 35.3 percent of his 3-pointers. He had the lowest turnover rate of his career, but he also had the lowest assist rate of his career.
Watson, on the other hand, continued to rise up the ranks of backup point guards. After having two solid seasons with the Chicago Bulls in 2010-11 and '11-12, the six-year veteran signed with the Brooklyn Nets to be the backup point guard to Deron Williams. He didn't shoot the ball well overall (just 41.8 percent from the field) but he was a legitimate 3-point threat out there by making 41.1 percent of his 3-s.
The Pacers are going from a guy who can't make a shot to a guy who can really fill it up in a reserve role. It should really help a Pacers bench that struggled to score and make an impact on the game when the starters needed some rest.