The Indiana Pacers came into the draft in need of a Point Guard. They didn't get one.
Is this another failed draft night by the Pacers? Not by any stretch.
With the 10th overall pick, Indiana had big decisions to make. In my opinion, they had four options coming into the draft. They could draft hometown hero forward G. Hayward (something that would satisfy fans, but not necessarily management), a promising but not a shoe-in point guard in Eric Bledsoe or Avery Bradley, a solid big man in Ed Davis or Epke Udoh, or they could take the best player available in Al-Farook Aminu or Paul George. It is uncommon to have these many options with such an early pick.
By the time the Pacers were on the clock, several of these options were gone. Hayward was drafted by the Utah Jazz. Ekpe Udoh, who many considered their top selection in big men was drafted sixth overall, and Aminu went to the Clippers at number eight.
It was down to Ed Davis, Paul George, Beldsoe, or Bradley. Indiana made the best decision of going with the player sure to be an impact player this year in Paul George, although Ed Davis could have been just as productive.
Paul George and Danny Granger both play the same position. They did not get the dominant big man they wanted, and they made the right choice in not reaching for a point guard at with the 10th pick.
What happens in Indiana now; what do they have? They have options. Rumors have been circling around about a potential trade between the Pacers and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In a trade with Minnesota, the Pacers could be sending a combination of Troy Murphy, Danny Granger, Brandon Rush, Paul George, Dunleavy, among others for the services of Al Jefferson and Johnny Flynn.
If the Pacers pull off a trade that sends Murphy (expiring contract) and George/Dunleavy and perhaps another player to Minnesota (who has been coveting a small forward like Granger since last year) for Jefferson and Flynn, they would have a line-up that looks like this:
This is a young core of players that could, in a season, develop a playoff team easily. In my opinion, they would shy away of offering Danny Granger in such a trade.
If they can hang on to Granger AND George and include Dunleavy in a trade, Granger could potentially slide to shooting guard. This would create match-up nightmares for many teams and plenty of scoring (and defense) to the Pacers line-up.
The Pacers have the opportunity to become relevant once again this year with their combination of draft picks, expiring contracts, and current assets. Lets hope they find a trading partner soon and save themselves from potentially leaving the city of Indianapolis.
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