Commentary

Fixing the East's playoff teams

Even top units like the Heat, Bulls and Celtics have needs to address this offseason

Updated: June 20, 2011, 1:17 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
Heat, Bulls & CelticsNBAE/Getty ImagesThe East's top three seeds have room to improve during the offseason.

Even the league's top teams have some upgrading to do this offseason. As we did last week with the lottery teams of the Eastern and Western Conferences, we're now pointing out the statistical weaknesses (and options for addressing them) of the NBA's postseason participants, starting with the East.

Indiana Pacers

Statistical weakness: Shooting (23rd)
Weakest position: SG, PF

The expiration date on the current collective bargaining agreement couldn't have come at a worse time for the Pacers. With Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, Jeff Foster and Jamaal Tinsley's contracts all coming off the books, the Pacers will shed about $30 million worth of expiring contracts heading into next season. Their spending money will likely be compromised significantly by the new rules, and in terms of supply and demand, it's a seller's free-agent market this offseason.

A shooting guard should sit atop the Pacers' shopping list this summer. Danny Granger's efficiency has tumbled each of the past two seasons, and he's better equipped to play the 3 than he is to guard quicker 2s. Who can they target in free agency? Vince Carter, Jason Richardson and Jamal Crawford make up the blue-chip stocks at the 2, but they're all on the wrong side of 30 years old. With promising small forward Paul George waiting in the wings behind Granger, the Pacers could afford to deal their biggest scorer for a younger shooting guard. Though the Memphis Grizzlies don't need another small forward, it's worth restarting the talks for O.J. Mayo.