Indiana Pacers: 2010 NBA Draft Analysis

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The Indiana Pacers came into the 2010 NBA Draft needing to have a good night. They haven’t made the playoffs in four seasons, something not seen since the mid-80’s in Indianapolis. Coach Jim O’Brien was surprisingly given another year, while executive Larry Bird needed to make a big draft hit after missing so many times.

Mostly, the Pacers needed a solid point guard, so they were looking to trade. That trade did not come through, and the search continues. The Pacers drafted Fresno State forward Paul George, a move that raises all kinds of questions marks.

By Travis Miller, of Hammer and Rails.com

First of all, George is a 6’9” swingman. That is great, but the Pacers already have Mike Dunleavy, Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush at roughly the same position. There is also the small problem of Danny Granger, the new face of the franchise, also at the same spot. Granger, a 2005 selection, has started to come into his own as one of the best young players in the league. He made his first All-Star team in 2009, so that raises the question of where George will play.

The Pacers’ second round selections were equally puzzling. Indiana selected Cincinnati shooting guard Lance Stephenson with the 40th overall selection. With the 57th pick they selected Florida State forward Ryan Reid before trading him to Oklahoma City for cash and the 51st pick, Magnum Rolle. Rolle is a 6’11” center from Louisiana Tech, who plays the same position as the Pacers’ current center, Roy Hibbert.

Indy’s biggest loss may have come shortly before selecting George, as Utah picked up hometown favorite Gordon Hayward with the ninth overall selection. There was some speculation the Pacers would go after Hayward after he lead nearby Butler to the brink of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, but most analysts felt the need for a point guard would supercede that.

George is a quality player that declared after only two seasons at Fresno State. He is the first Fresno State player to be drafted in the top 10. He averaged 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season as Fresno State went 15-18.

To me, this is the first red flag. George is a top 10 pick, yet he never even led his collegiate team to a winning season in a conference that isn’t that strong. In my opinion, if you’re going to be a top 10 NBA Draft selection you should be known by the college basketball community at large. As someone who follows college basketball for a living it isn’t a good sign that my first reaction to the selection was, “Who?”

Second, the Pacers appear to be on their way to the NBA’s first all-forward lineup. On the current roster there are only six guards listed. Earl Watson is a free agent that is likely to leave. Brandon Rush, A.J. Price, and the newly acquired Stephenson are shooting guards. Luther Head is another free agent, while T.J. Ford is the lone point guard. He has not had success since coming to Indiana and most fans are tired of waiting for him to emerge. It is great to have all of these wing players, but there is no one on the team that can run the offense.

This is why the Pacers’ draft grade has to be considered incomplete. They did not get the point guard they coveted through the draft or trade, so it is likely they are trying to explore more trade options. Unfortunately, with the free agent frenzy less than a week away there will be few offers until all the big names have new homes. Most teams are looking to dump salary, and the Pacers are a team that has too much on the books with players like Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. Until they get out from under those contracts, it looks like the 2010-11 season will be a lot like the last four seasons

See more of Travis Miller’s work at his SB Nation Purdue Boilermakers blog of Hammer and Rails.com

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    well done Travis!!! welcome to TSB

  2. Atleast they picked up talent in the draft rather than gambling for a point guard.
    Hopefully this can potentially lead to some trade value or structure for the pacers in the future. And plus, lance stephenson could maybe emerge into a productive role at point.

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