Player Analysis: Mike Dunleavy
May 10, 2011
LOOKING BACK: After two seasons dealing with major knee surgery and the long road back, Dunleavy entered 2010-11 healthy and optimistic that he could get his career back on track and he opened well, averaging 14.6 points in his first nine game, including 31 in the epic blowout of Denver -- 24 in the third quarter alone when he hit all seven of his shots including five 3-pointers. He also had a game-winning tip-in to beat New Orleans in late December, but those turned out to be the regular-season peaks for the veteran. He started 44 of the first 54 games before breaking his left thumb in Washington in late February, an injury that required surgery. When he returned 20 games later, rookie Paul George was entrenched as the starter and Dunleavy finished the season in a reserve role. He did experience a breakthrough with the first playoff trip of his career but he averaged just 14.4 minutes and 5.0 points on .350 shooting in the five-game loss to the Bulls.
LOOKING AHEAD: Because of his well-rounded skill set and instincts for the game, Dunleavy is a highly effective player who could be a sought-after free agent in a market that lacks in star power. He is a perfect fit for a team that relies heavily on a motion offense because he plays so well without the ball and his knee no longer is a question mark. In the right situation where he could fully exploit his ability to play multiple positions, Dunleavy could be one of the top sixth men in the league.
KEY STATS: Dunleavy was the Pacers' fourth-leading scorer during the regular season (11.2) and was second in 3-point percentage (.402). He also contributed 4.5 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game. In his 44 starts, the Pacers were 21-23.
CONTRACT STATUS: Free agent.
OUTLOOK: When Jim O'Brien was still the head coach, he made no bones about his desire to re-sign Dunleavy because the veteran wing was the quintessential player for his system. But with O'Brien gone , the identity and style of the next coach uncertain and the emergence of George as the starter at shooting guard, Dunleavy's future with the Pacers also is up in the air.