Oh sweet <strike>irony</strike> coincidence! Chicago versus Indianapolis, 2 weeks early!
The Bulls first look at the new Indiana Pacers. I'm just going to copy over some initial thoughts I had on their big trade last week. And then some:
It was a lateral move for both teams, but I liked it. Beyond any PR-boost for dealing Stephen Jackson, getting rid of his inefficient offense helps the team, and I'd guess that Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy are better role players than Jackson or Al Harrington, they just don't seem to need the ball (or minutes, meaning more for Danny Granger and Marquis Daniels) as much. They also would seem to be a better fit on the slower paced Pacers (now THAT's irony) than Don Nelson's up-tempo Warriors.
Look at what they needed: better Shooting (26th in eFG%) and fewer turnovers(27th in TOratio). I think they get (a little) better at each due to this trade. Although I don't think the ol' 'change of scenery' makes different players out of Murphy or Dunleavy...I'd suspect they are what they are.
I also want to see Murphy and Jeff Foster play together and get every single offensive rebound. In fact their size throughout the roster makes them a tough matchup for the Bulls. Another principle in that trade was young big Ike Diogu, who is a good young player (Hollinger loves him) and not just a salary throw-in (No doubt they were willing to pay a premium to get Jackson out of town.)
Indiana may have gotten better in this trade, and their schedule is about to get as soft as the newly-acquired Dunleavy, with 11 out of their next 13 games at home. This is a team that could be rising in the conference standings, so let's hope the Bulls make it 3-0 against them tonight.
This is an open game thread, and at those early 6pm CST starts game previews can be a chore...