The Indiana Pacers will have some interesting starting position battles when training camp opens in September. Here is an analysis of the team’s upcoming competition at point guard.
When the 2017-18 NBA season opens, the Indiana Pacers are likely to have multiple new starters in the lineup. In fact, point guard is one position where there will definitely be a new starter this year.
Jeff Teague signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent, and the team chose not to re-sign Aaron Brooks. Therefore, two new players were brought in to man the lead guard spot for the new-look Pacers.
Darren Collison and Cory Joseph are now holding down that position, and they will compete in training camp for the starting job that Jeff Teague occupied last season.
Collison is a former Pacer who speaks highly of his previous experience with the franchise; he welcomed the opportunity to return five years after his last game in an Indiana uniform.
Joseph is a young player who has been a solid backup in his two previous stops with the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors.
Darren Collison is currently being penciled in as the starter, but that status is very tentative. Collison is the more experienced and productive of the two, but Cory Joseph will be given every chance to win the job if he earns it during the preseason.
Collison is a good offensive point guard who also possesses solid playmaking ability. He has developed into a reliable shooter from anywhere on the court, making 50 percent of his two-point attempts and 42 percent of his three-point shots last year.
Collison’s main weakness is on the defensive end, where his diminutive size (6’0″, 175 pounds) causes issues. He has quickness and speed, but he is vulnerable when guarding bigger players.
Cory Joseph is a Jack-of-all-trades; he can contribute in a variety of ways, but he’s not dominant in any one facet of the game.
Joseph’s most glaring deficiency is probably his three-point shooting, which was decent last season (36 percent) but he still maintains a career-average of just 32 percent.
Joseph is known as a tough-minded defensive player, but he had an off year in that department in 2016-17, as described by the National Post.
If Cory Joseph can rediscover his defensive mojo, his chances of winning the Pacers’ starting point guard job will greatly increase. However, the job appears to be Collison’s to lose as of now.
Indiana is putting an emphasis on developing young talent this season, so the 25-year-old Joseph will be waiting in the wings. If Collison falters or the team begins to slip out of the playoff hunt, Joseph’s minutes will likely increase.
By the end of the preseason, Darren Collison should come out on top in this position battle. However, once the regular season begins he will need to look over his shoulder frequently.