The Indiana Pacers’ recent signing of guard Toney Douglas expanded the roster to 16 players under contract, one more than is allowed when the regular season begins.
Where Douglas fits in, if he sticks, will shake out in preseason. George Hill is the starting point guard and Monta Ellis was signed in free agency to play shooting guard. Backup point guard Rodney Stuckey was also re-signed and the Pacers drafted Joseph Young, who can play point or shooting guard, in the second round.
It’s possible the Pacers could trade one of their other players or cut one, since they agreed to terms with Douglas on a partially guaranteed contract. Or a player could get injured, which would open the door for Douglas to stay.
Douglas brings six years of NBA experience and comes highly regarded for his defensive skills. The Pacers have had issues defending the point in the past, so it’s possible his ability to defend will boost his value for what could be his seventh NBA team.
"We look forward to having him in camp," Pacers president Larry Bird said in a team release. "He's a veteran player who's a good pro and he can play two positions. He's the type of player we're looking for with our new style of play. We look forward to working with him and having him in camp."
Former Pacers president Donnie Walsh, now a team consultant, thought enough of Douglas while New York Knicks general manager to acquire the guard from the Los Angeles Lakers for a future-second round draft choice and $3 million in 2009.
The former ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Florida State in 2009, Douglas has averaged 7.6 points in his career. His best scoring season was 10.6 points per game in his second year with the Knicks. He’s a career .352 percent 3-point shooter.
“I can defend and I can shoot and score,” Douglas told Pacers.com after his Aug. 11 signing. “We haven’t gotten into details of me being here, but I know I’m here for a reason. Once training camp starts, I’ll show people what I can do.”
Walsh likes what the guard brings to the equation, especially his ability to play uptempo, what the Pacers prioritized in their offseason roster overhaul.
“Toney’s good enough to be on a team and it could work out that he fits here,” Walsh told Pacers.com. “He’s a good guy; really good guy.”
Douglas has mutual respect for Walsh.
“I love Donnie,” Douglas said. “He's always been a great guy. I loved him when I was in New York. Him being here is a great situation. I trust him. He's not going to lie to you. He's going to keep it real and tell you what you need to do.”
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