Toronto Raptors free agency 2019: Who in East got better, who got worse

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
4 of 6
Toronto Raptors
Malcolm Brogdon (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Indiana Pacers

Before Victor Oladipo got hurt last season, the Indiana Pacers were always penciled in at “You can’t overlook them”- territory. Analysts wanted to give them their respect, but very few actually believed they were a contender.

Apparently, the Pacers front office agreed. The team had a semi-major overhaul, swapping four major rotation pieces while adding three more. They also still have a $4.7 million exception to use on another rotation piece.

The Pacers lost: Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph, and Bojan Bogdanovic.

The Pacers added: T.J. Warren, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jeremy Lamb.

The Pacers unquestionably improved their point guard spot. Brogdon is a flat-out stud and a perfect fit next to Oladipo. Those two instantly pair up as one of the best backcourts in the Eastern Conference, if not the NBA.

On the flip side, swapping Lamb for Bogdanovic is an unquestionable downgrade. Bogdanovic was extremely valuable for the Pacers as a shooter, all-around scorer, and improved defender. Lamb is a good player. He replicates a lot of the same things as Bojan. But, in general, is about one step down.

The Pacers also are set to jumble their starting lineup, and that’s where things get interesting. For now, the Pacers are committed to playing Domantas Sabonis as the power forward and bringing Warren off the bench. The Sabonis-Turner pairing is a swerve into the league’s small-ball trend.

When Oladipo returns, T.J. Warren will be presumably be used as a high-end scorer off the bench, a role he should be effective in.

Of course, this whole discussion is moot if Victor Oladipo does not return to form. The Pacers have a great supporting cast, but this group isn’t good enough to make serious noise without Vic.

Sentence long review: If Victor Oladipo is 100% and the Turner-Sabonis pairing works, they could be contenders, otherwise, a solid but unspectacular team.