NBA Draft 2011: Can Klay Thompson Be the Answer at SG for Indiana Pacers?

No NameAnalyst IJune 4, 2011

Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson

If you have just one pick in the first round of the NBA Draft, you had better make it count. The Pacers are the first team to pick outside of the lottery, and they have some decisions to make.

The first decision they need to make is whether they want to use the pick based on need, or the best talent left on the board. Since they need improvement at every position, I would hope they would take the best player available. There isn't one guy among Indiana's core whom you can say is a finished product.

If the Pacers do decide to go in the direction of needs, they then will have to decide which position they want to address. While it is obvious they need help inside for Hibbert and Hansbrough, I think the need for a scorer should be at the top of their priority list. Granger has led the team in scoring virtually every year he has been here, but it has been proven that him scoring 30 points per game will not lead to many wins.

This year's playoff series between the Pacers and Bulls was intense, but Indiana couldn't score at the end of games, which is really the reason they lost that series. The ball was going to go to Granger, and no one else was a threat to score, and at times it looked like no one else even wanted the ball.

The lack of a closer and the lack of another consistent scorer has doomed this team for too long.

You know Danny is capable of scoring in double figures every night, but what other player on this roster do you feel confident in saying that about? In my opinion, they need to look at the guys that can score. When most people look at the draft prospects, they immediately think of Jimmer Fredette. There is another guy though that I believe would fit better in this system.

Establishing himself as a dynamic scorer during his freshman year, Klay Thompson showed flashes throughout his first two years at Washington State. As a junior, he took his scoring game to the next level while also making strides with his passing game, giving his draft stock a boost.

In college, the 6'7" Thompson was a go-to scorer in close games. He can shoot the lights out and is very polished on offense. The problem with Thompson is that he doesn't have the quickness or athleticism that is required to play defense in the NBA. His long, lanky frame can make up for some of it, but it is the main weakness that scouts are looking at.

While it pains me to even make the comparison, he is the closest resemblance to a Reggie Miller-type player in this draft. In no way am I saying he could ever wear Reggie's jock strap, but I do believe his playing style is very similar. The long, lanky shooting guard is an above average shooter that is very adept at coming off screens for open shots. He could be a deadly shooter, but he has still shown difficulty in creating his own shot off the dribble.

At Washington State last year, Thompson averaged 22 points, five rebounds and four assists per game. The closest comparisons I have heard to Thompson in the league now are Marco Belinelli and Mike Miller. Relying mostly on his perimeter shot, Thompson is constantly moving without the ball and coming off screens. He usually doesn't have the ball that long, as he makes quick decisions and shows good scoring instincts.

The Pacers really need to add another offensive weapon if they want to finish above .500 next year, which should be the main goal for this team. Thompson can help, as last year he shot 47 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three-point range, and was an 84 percent free-throw shooter.

Indiana had the 22nd-ranked offense in the NBA last year. Their lack of scoring late in games last year was really the reason why they lost that close series with the Bulls. It would be nice to have more athleticism and strength inside, but I believe finding another scoring threat would benefit them more.