The Indiana Pacers were never expected to be “major” players during NBA free agency due to the low amount of cash they have available to spend. However, Kevin Pritchard and company knew they needed to accomplish a few different things. They were able to score two signings early on in free agency with TJ McConnell and Torrey Craig.

Back to the thing that the Pacers knew they needed to accomplish. With new head coach Rick Carlisle back in town, Indiana wants to get back to being a “blue collar” style of basketball team. That all starts on the defensive end of the floor.

In McConnell and Craig, the Pacers are getting two hard-nosed defenders. Indiana fans know McConnell well after he became a fan favorite with the franchise over the past two years. Keeping him in town as the primary backup point guard to Malcolm Brogdon was always one of their highest priorities.

During the 2020-21 NBA season with the Pacers, McConnell put together the best year of his career. He averaged 8.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game.