In free agency 2019 the Indiana Pacers, one of two teams to take part in the NBA India Games 2019, had to fill up plenty of guard spots on their roster's depth chart.
They had to deal with the departures of Cory Joseph (signed with the Sacramento Kings), Darren Collison (retirement), and Tyreke Evans while Victor Oladipo is expected to miss a considerable amount of the season, rehabbing his ruptured quad tendon in his right knee.
The Pacers added Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb but another key addition to their squad was free-agent guard T.J. McConnell.
T.J. McConnell was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 25, 1992.
High school & College experience
In high school, McConnell played under his father Tim at the Chartiers Valley High School in the Pittsburgh-area borough of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.
For college, he went to Duquesne University. Named 2011 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, he spent a couple of seasons there before transferring to the University of Arizona.
MORE: Pacers' roster for the NBA India Games 2019
He was forced to miss the 2012-13 season because of the NCAA transfer rules. At Arizona, he went to the Elite Eight at the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2015. During both his seasons with the Wildcats, McConnell was selected to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
His first year in 2014, he was voted to the Second Team All-Pac-12 and in his final year, he was voted to the First Team All-Pac-12.
McConnell went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft.
He made the roster for the Philadelphia 76ers' 2015-16 campaign by performing satisfactorily for them in the 2015 NBA Summer League and the preseason.
His debut came in the team's season opener against the Boston Celtics. In 28 minutes of action, he finished with four points, four assists, and three steals. He ended up playing 81 of the 82 games in the 2015-16 season, averaging 6.1 points, 4.5 assists, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 steals.
McConnell played 81 games in the 2016-17 season for the 76ers including two standout performances. His first came in a four-point loss against the Celtics on Jan. 6, where he recorded a career-high 17 assists, just two shy of the franchise record. The second came a few days later against the New York Knicks, as he drained the game-winner over Carmelo Anthony.
In the 2017-18 season, he played 76 games and delivered two outstanding performances once again.
On February 12, 2018, he registered his first career triple-double - 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists - while also recording six steals in a 108-92 win against the New York Knicks. He became the first player in franchise history to record a triple-double off the bench.
In Game 4 of the Conference Semifinals against the Boston Celtics, he delivered a game-changing performance. In the team's only win of the series, McConnell was a plus-11 in 39 minutes of playing time while finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.
The Pacers signed McConnell as a free agent this past offseason.
Over the past few years, in limited minutes, McConnell has proved to be a great back-up guard for the 76ers. For the Pacers, he should be more of the same, a valuable addition that gives the Indiana franchise much-needed depth at the guard spot.
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