There was a speculated trade that was reportedly in discussion today, between the Indiana Pacers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Larry Bird shot the particular trade down, but didn't rule out the idea of making a deal before Thursday's NBA Draft.
The reported deal was that Indiana would send Roy Hibbert and their 15th overall pick to the Wolves, in exchange for Minnesota's first round pick, which of course is the second overall pick in the draft. The idea there is that the Pacers could get Derrick Williams, the standout Forward from Arizona. Since the Timberwolves have Kevin Love, adding a Center instead of Williams makes perfect sense.
This year’s draft is not considered strong with NBA ready talent. Last year, only three players taken in the first round averaged in double figures as rookies, so it’s doubtful an instant-impact player will be available at 15. Larry Bird said that he wants to get a guy that will play this year, but the only way I see that happening is through a trade.
While Bird also said that nobody on the team is "untouchable" when it comes to discussing deals, there is really only one player I hope isn't discussed in any trades. That would be last year's first round pick, Paul George. I strongly believe that he is the building block for this team, and he will be the franchise player in the next two years.
Bird also mentioned that he wants to have the best bench in the league. While that might be hard to construct, it is possible with the flexibility that they have. With $30 million to throw around, they should be able to bring someone in that will immediately make the team better.
There are a couple of problems I see for the Pacers if they were to make this deal. The first, you have no idea how good Derrick Williams is going to be in this league. Yes, he could do everything in college, score, rebound, defend, and even pass. This is the NBA though, and things are going to be much tougher.
The second problem is that with the absence of Hibbert, Indiana will be left without a Center. Not having a Center in the NBA is about as big of a problem as you can have. The likelihood of a Tyson Chandler or Nene signing a free agent deal to come here is small. They also need to address the shooting guard spot, which may be more important.
The fact is, the Pacers will have plenty of options before the trade deadline approaches next year (hopefully). If the lockout goes longer than expected, then they could be in some trouble. I just don't want them to make a move just to make a move, especially this early.
The ceiling for this team is probably the fourth or fifth seed anyway, so it's not like they are going to take control of the Eastern Conference in one year. The next decade in the East will belong to the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, and Magic (if they keep Howard).
Looking at the last ten players taken number two overall in the Draft, it doesn't really shout consistency. Going back to the 2001 Draft, you have Tyson Chandler, who was pre-maturely labeled a bust. He is great now, but the next four guys really haven't done much in the league. Those guys would be Jay Williams, Darko Milicic, Emeka Okafor, and Marvin Williams.
Should Indiana pull the trigger on this deal?
The next three guys though, have all become either stars, or very good players. In 2006 it was LaMarcus Aldridge, 2007 was Kevin Durant, and in 2008 it was Michael Beasley. After that, we have seen Hasheem Thabeet and Evan Turner go number two in their respective Drafts. I think Turner has the chance to be something special, so it is too early to label him.
Where does Derrick Williams rank amongst these ten guys? He might be middle of the pack, but is certainly not going to be the next Kevin Durant or LaMarcus Aldridge. Then again, not many people think Roy Hibbert will ever be an All-Star in this league either.
The decision will be up to Bird and management, but I don't think they will pull the trigger on this deal. I think if they can land a guy like Marshon Brooks or Klay Thompson, they will be satisfied with that. We have heard rumors that they like the Morris twins from Kansas as well, but we will have to wait and see if either of them are still around when Indiana picks.
There will likely be more rumors over the next 48 hours before the Draft begins, and even more while it is ongoing. Both Minnesota and Indiana are in situations that will involve a lot of talk about their teams.
The NBA Draft will begin at 7:30pm on Thursday night.