NBA Draft Trade 2011: Why the Indiana Pacers Have More Work To Do

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NBA Draft Trade 2011: Why the Indiana Pacers Have More Work To Do
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What a dumb draft. Besides the fact that it could be the weakest draft in more than a decade, Thursday night made absolutely no sense. The Celtics made the only "oh yeah, he could be a steal of the draft"-type pick, taking Marshon Brooks and then subsequently trading him away (more on that in a minute).

The stupidity started with Utah taking another power forward in Enes Kanter. With the addition of the 6’11 Turk, Utah now has Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Kyrylo Fesenko, Mehmet Okur and Kanter all competing for the roughly 12 minutes of playing time they’re going to average in the deepest frontcourt rotation since the '92 Dream Team. Meanwhile, Raja Bell is going to be out there working 44 minutes a game on the perimeter. 

Forget taking the best player available. When you have three potential all-stars (Millisap, Jefferson and supposedly Favors) competing for two spots, you look to fill the other roster holes. Instead, Utah traded one of the league's best point guards in Williams for Favors, a guy who is now competing for sixth man honors. The logjam is so big, it would intimidate a family of woodchucks.

As a Pacers fan, though, Utah's decision gave hope that maybe they'd be willing to part with one of them and we could work out a trade offering Danny Granger.

After Utah, the logic of the night seemingly couldn't get any stranger. Wrong. Although Utah's selection seemed somewhat nonsensical (provided they don't work out a trade), after the bizarre rationales used to describe the rest of the picks, I guess it was only fitting after all...

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I didn’t think it was possible, but the draft got dumber. Four picks later the Sacramento Kings took Bismack Biyombo, a guy whose skills are so raw the Maloof brothers were in danger of catching salmonella.

Fortunately for them, Charlotte and Michael Jordan have a previous history of indefensible draft moves (ahem Adam Morrison and Kwame Brown). If drafting Biyombo seventh overall and/or trading for him wasn’t proof enough for why both Sacramento and Charlotte should be contracted, I don’t know what is. 

Here are a couple of weaknesses in his game noted by Nico Van den Bogaerd at NBAdraft.com

1. “His outside shooting lacks polish.” AKA he can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

2. “Offensive game is long way from being NBA ready.” AKA he can’t score period.

3.“He still needs to develop his basketball and overall awareness.” AKA he’s a defensive liability too.

4. "His general basketball knowledge and awareness show his lack of experience." AKA he's confused half the time he's on the court.

5. "Too often loses rebounds by jumping in an uncontrolled fashion for blocked shots instead of keeping his inside position to box out his opponent." AKA...wait, what? He can't even rebound?

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

So all he provides is energy? Yep, essentially Charlotte traded Stephen Jackson for a Congolese version of Red Bull…Nice.

Unbelievably, the draft continued to  just get weirder. Unless a quarter of the GMs and James Cameron are all scheming to pull off the biggest mega blockbuster deal in league history (fingers crossed), the night was essentially a waste. I'm not sure any teams got better, they just got deeper. Another case in point, the Golden State Warriors

When analyzing the roster (assuming no trades) one would think that with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and Acie Law in the backcourt, they might address other pressing needs. Nope. 

Instead the Warriors drafted Klay Thompson, another one dimensional shooter to go with Stephen Curry, a rather one dimensional shooter. Does one plus one equal their desperate need for a 4 or 5?

In fairness, Thompson could be really good and I was desperately hoping he'd fall to the Pacers at 15.

Then the Morris twins went back-to-back, which was just bizarre, especially considering Phoenix took Markieff over his more polished brother Marcus.

Shortly thereafter we arrived at the 15th pick and the Indiana Pacers. As has been mentioned all week, the Pacers are flush—even overflowing—with talent at the wing position. What they are lacking is a true power forward and a 2 guard who can score. So what do they do?

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The Pacers announce the selection of small forward Kawhi Leonard, at which point I screamed and bashed my head up against the wall, hitting my head for each of the number of hybrid forwards who aren't pure shooters that the Pacers already have on the roster.

1. Granger 2. George 3. Dunleavy 4. Stephenson 5. Jones. 6. Rush—It's a headache-producing list.

Thankfully, it was quickly announced that the Pacers packaged Leonard in a trade to San Antonio for George Hill and the rights to Davis Bertans. Initially I will admit that I wasn't sold on Hill.

The Pacers need a scorer and Hill provides that, but he is more of a hybrid point guard than an actual shooting guard and, at 6'2"/6'3", he's a bit small. After an email from my buddy Leo though, I might be coming around.

"Collison is a good backup; nothing more, nothing less. People need to wake up. Good stats doesn't make a good player. We will never win with him at the point. If you hate George Hill, you hate Indianapolis. He had 50 points versus McRoberts against Carmel High School. He can score."

Fine, he's a young local product who is proven and can score. Nice attributes and given we were sorely lacking scoring Hill might make sense and work out after all. Overall though, he's 11.3 ppg is not much to brag about. Will that increase in a more prominent role? 

 


Still though, after the way the draft shook out you feel like something more needs to happen.Something is missing. The potential for a trade is just too high. We still have to do something with Granger because we can't hold on to six versions of the same player, and there are just too many tantalizing possibilities.  

Coming back to the Boston decision to trade Brooks for Johnson (a real head-scratcher given that Boston has no guard play after Ray Allen), you get the feeling that GMs are hoarding talent and creating their own trade reservoirs.

With all the guys Utah has now has at power forward and to a similar extent now Boston too, there is that sense that Indiana has to make one more trade. Somebody out there needs a wing player or a slashing 2 guard in return for a double-double power forward. 

Utah, which is desperate for perimeter scoring makes perfect sense. So does Houston. The Rockets added Marcus Morris to a front line that includes Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and Jordan Hill. Clearly one of them has to go. Detroit has an abundance of bigs in Wilcox, Maxiell, Villanueva and Monroe. Maybe they'd be interested. Would Golden State be willing to trade one of their scoring 2 guards for Granger? 

The point is, this draft gets an incomplete because it's not over. It just can't be. 

It's like a war. Too many teams have stockpiled assets not to use them. At some point, something is going down. The Pacers have their own ammunition in Granger and Brandon Rush to dangle out there and join the fray. 

There has been lots of small arms fire and small deals getting done just not that mega deal which shifts the balance of power. With such valuable commodity in Granger, the feeling is there that the Pacers will somehow be involved. If they want to compete in the East, it's a must. 

If not, and a big deal isn't announced and nothing gets done, the this year's draft goes down as one of the weakest and dumbest drafts in memory. 

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