The Pacers are a team on the cusp of competing for a spot among the Eastern Conference elites. The rebuilding process started three years ago with the drafting of Roy Hibbert. A 7'0" center of the future? Check.
Two drafts later, the Pacers raised eyebrows by drafting Paul George with the 10th pick in the draft. The decision seems to suggest that starting All-Star Danny Granger's days in Indiana are numbered. Future athletic small forward? Check. Enticing trade asset? Check.
Then last summer GM Larry Bird pulled off a surprising trade that landed Darren Collision. Dynamic point guard of the future? Check.
All that was needed was for the team to produce on the court. When interim coach Frank Vogel took over just after the midpoint of the season, the young Pacers looked and played at a remarkably higher level and made the playoffs after a miserable four-year absence. Suddenly, excitement and promise was back in the basketball heartland. A young, talented team has finally emerged from the wreckage of the fight in Auburn Hills and the Pacers are ready to challenge the East's best teams.
But energy and heart can only take you so far. Before the Indiana can truly make the leap back into contention, more work needs to be done. Namely, the Pacers need to find a quality shooting guard and a true power forward.
Here are seven draft-day moves that can help the Pacers go a long way towards earning the respect that Reggie Miller and company worked so hard to build during the late '90s and early 2000s.