The Pacers finished the season with the fifth best record in the league last year. However, in their series against the Chris Bosh-less Heat, it was evident that they were still one or two pieces short of contending for an NBA title.
With under $35 million on the books for next season, the Pacers can definitely look to free agency to add the final pieces, but they can also look to this Thursday's draft. Even though they pick late in the first round, they can add a quality player.
Here's a look at five options for the Pacers with the 26th pick.
Fab Melo drew rave reviews during his workout with the Pacers last week. In fact, he's been receiving such good reviews that he may not be available when the Pacers pick at No. 26. Rest assured, if he is available, the Pacers are taking him. They need a back-up for Roy Hibbert (once he re-signs), and Melo could more than fill that role.
If Melo is not available for the Pacers, they could turn to Duke's Miles Plumlee. The 7'0" center is also rising up the draft board after some impressive workouts, including one for the Pacers. He's not as explosive as Melo, but he'd provide good energy, defense and rebounding off the bench.
While Melo and Plumlee are moving up the draft board, Iowa State's Royce White may be moving down because of questions over his anxiety disorder. The 6'8", 270-pound small forward with the speed and skills of a guard sure sounds like a lottery pick. Concerns crept up when he opened up about his disorder. Some team will avoid him because of it. If he's there at 26, the Pacers would be wise not to avoid him.
Will Barton, the talented guard out of Memphis, is also climbing the draft boards. At 6'6", Barton could replace free-agent Leonardo Barbosa. Barton was the Conference USA Player of the Year last season as a freshman. He did it all for Memphis, averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game. He'd provide a big scoring punch for a second unit that somehow got outplayed versus the Heat in the playoffs.
This 6'10" small forward out of Baylor may not see as much time on the court his rookie year as the previous players mentioned, but in a couple years he could prove to be an absolute steal at the 26th pick. Possessing all the athletic ability in the world, Quincy Miller has very good shot-creating ability and can flat-out score. After just one year of college basketball, he may need a year or two to transition his game to the NBA.
Here are some other names to keep in mind if they're still available when the Pacers pick: Draymond Green, Evan Fournier, Jeff Taylor and Tony Wroten.
Follow Brian on Twitter @coldy4goldy.
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