Being a 29 year old rookie means you’re not going to get too many chances, but Chris Copeland was quite efficient for the New York Knicks when he got the chance last season, averaging 8.7 points on only 15.4 minutes per game, and catching the attention of the Indiana Pacers along the way.
While the Pacers did a good job on the Knicks defensively in their conference semifinals series, when Copeland was on the floor (not too much, only 10.3 minutes per game in the playoffs), the Knicks’ offense rating rose to 108.7.
While playing more would probably have hurt those numbers, there’s no doubt that the shooting forward, who isn’t likely to get too many minutes if re-signed by the Knicks due to Andrea Bargnani joining the team, is a great asset to have coming off the bench.
According to Yahoo, the Pacers were impressed enough to enter discussions with the player, who made a league minimum of $473,000 last season playing for the Knicks, and got to start in 13 games, sometimes even playing as a center when too many injuries where crippling the frontline.
The Pacers struggled against the Miami Heat, especially with their second unit not being able to produce points. Tyler Hasnbrough, Ian Mahimi, Sam Young and D.J. Augustin might have brought defense, rebounding and a lot of hustle, but left too much of the scoring to the starting lineup, and eventually, despite taking the champions to a 7-game ride, it wasn’t enough.
Copeland isn’t going to be a player who’s going to score 20 points for a team while playing in the lineup, but if he’s given around 20 minutes a game to do his thing with the right kind of players around him, he can be a very useful and fast scorer, which with the return of Danny Granger would give them suddenly a much deeper team with a lot more offensive weapons to rely on.