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Putnam
06-16-2009, 07:16 AM
who will it be?

Four primary draft targets -- Blair, Teague, Lawson and Holiday -- make their case why Pacers should pick them

By Mike Wells and Mark Dent (mike.wells@indystar.com)
Posted: June 16, 2009
IndyStar

http://www.indystar.com/article/20090616/SPORTS04/906160341/Four+Pacers+draft+targets+make+their+case


Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, North Carolina's Ty Lawson and UCLA's Jrue Holiday worked out for Indiana Pacers coaches and officials Monday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The four prospects ran plays, shot jumpers and showed off various other skills as the countdown to the June 25 draft continues.


--- excerpts ---

Q: The Pacers play an up-and-down style with a lot of 3-point shooting. Can you adapt to that?

Lawson: "Definitely. We ran up and down during my three years at North Carolina. This is my style because I love to play up and down. I'm knocking my 3 down on a regular (basis) now, so it's a great fit."

Q: There's been talk about knee problems. Do you think that can hurt your stock?

Blair: "It could. . . . I feel good, I feel great. My knee is stable. I've been playing on it for four, five years straight. It's up to the teams. It goes back to high school."

Q: Why should the Pacers select you?

Teague: "I'm a hometown guy. I grew up a Pacers fan. I've been here my whole life, so all I know is Pacers basketball. I feel I have a great relationship with the fans in Indiana, and I think I could bring some more fans to the games."

Q: Why should the Pacers select you?

Holiday: "They should select me because I bring a lot to the table: height, skill and ability at the point guard position. I have an advantage because I went to UCLA. That means defense. And I'm just a great person."

MillerTime
06-16-2009, 07:19 AM
I really hope its not Teague, #13 its too early for him (unless we can workout a draft day trade to get another player). Holiday would be the best pick but he'll be gone by #13. Blair and Lawson seem like realistic picks.

But who knows, we got Granger at #17. Anything can happen

rexnom
06-16-2009, 07:28 AM
I don't know why but what Holiday said made me laugh - "I'm just a great person!"

theboyjwo
06-16-2009, 09:14 AM
Better not be Blair, we already have Granger, Rush, and Dunleavy, why do we need another 6-7 6-9 Forward! I can see us taking a point guard, but goodness sake don't take some small guard. We already have 3 small point guards and their defense really suffers because of it!

What happened to picking an athletic big man?

count55
06-16-2009, 09:15 AM
What happened to picking an athletic big man?

You can't pick one if there isn't one worth picking.

Kegboy
06-16-2009, 09:24 AM
Better not be Blair, we already have Granger, Rush, and Dunleavy, why do we need another 6-7 6-9 Forward

Blair is nothing like those 3. That's like saying "We've got Pippen, why would we want Barkley?"

idioteque
06-16-2009, 09:28 AM
I don't know why but what Holiday said made me laugh - "I'm just a great person!"

Me, too. For some reason that is hilarious.

I think Teague at 13 is way too early, I am not a huge fan of his. Lawson is okay but he is limited. I am really intrigued by Blair but I would most likely take Holliday at this pick if these were the four we were considering.

However, I am pretty convinced the Pacers are going to draft James Johnson out of Wake Forest. Just a feeling.

Skaut_Ech
06-16-2009, 09:46 AM
Blair is nothing like those 3. That's like saying "We've got Pippen, why would we want Barkley?"

:chin: :sadyes:

I don't know why people are getting so hung up on Blair's height, anyways, not to go too off topic. Yeah it's a consideration, but not a deal killer, far as I'm concerned.

Just by way of comparision, one of my fav all time teams was the Sonics in the mid 80's. They used to run a roster of Tom Chambers at center, with Xavier McDaniel, Derrick McKey, Nate McMillen, Eddie Johnson, and Dale Ellis. Chambers was the tallest at 6'10. The rest fo the guys were 6'7 and under.

They won with good shooting and bruising, stifling D. Now, granted, this team isn't built like that Sonics team, but my point being that it's HOW the skill set is used and not the physical size. Just by way of comparision, X-man was only 6'7 or so, and would put you on your butt on a regular basis, no matter how big you were.

Anthony Mason was another guy who played that way. Same with Charles Oakley.

My biggest concern with Blair is "how tough can he play?" I was hoping Patrick Patterson might be that guy for us, but he opted to stay in school. (Not a smart move in a draft with a dearth of big men)

Thanks for the post, Putnam.

Jonathan
06-16-2009, 09:54 AM
Out of those 4 Ty Lawson

I would pick him because he is a game changer, Lightning quick, comes from a winning program.

Blair/Holiday are probably gone

Teague- good range, score first, but a stretch.

JOB said the player we draft we will have seen him play 4 or 5 times. I do not know if this is correct because if Johnny Flynn drops and you have a choice b/t him and Lawson what does Larry do?


KEEP IN MIND GOLDEN STATE'S DRAFT HISTORY

Dukins
06-16-2009, 09:56 AM
Out of the four I really like Jrue Holiday and Blair. Lawson is too small, we have a couple of small guards already. Teague just seems to be disinterested, I was reading some quotes from gms at workouts. They too said he didnt talk on the court or let people know where to go. He didnt guide the big men. I just dont think he is ready yet.

Jrue taller point guard who seems like a great kid. He played out of position last year so stats really doesnt show what he can do at the pg position.

Blair was a man among boys last year. Like everyone else the only thing that concerns me is his height. I agree we do need a bruiser, but the pf we should draft will go in the top five, Jordan Hill.

Speed
06-16-2009, 10:03 AM
No offense, but everyone keeps saying Barkley for Blair, that's not fair to him first of all. Also, Barkely is once in a couple of generations type player. Blair isn't Charles in any possible way.

Tell me one other "Barkley" ever, I'm too young to remember Wes Unseld, but I really can't think of another guy who was able to do those things at his size, period.

It's justification to take an undersized guy early, imo. If he WAS the next Barkley, he'd be the #1 overall pick. Let's say he's like the next Maxiel, then I'd be okay with it.

I'm not saying Blair can't play in the league, but the Barkley argument is not valid, imo.

Yes, Kravitz I'm looking at you.

Slick Pinkham
06-16-2009, 10:42 AM
Yes the Barkley comparisons are silly. Once Chuck lost weight he must have had about a 38 inch vertical. Dude could sky, and was quick. I like Skaut's Charles Oakley comparison. Or Wes Unseld if you are old school (but that could be a stretch). At minimum a Rick Mahorn-type toughness.

The height doesn't worry me so much, since he has the length and the attitude. It's as if people would value him more if his neck was two inches longer, making the top of his head 6'9". I never heard of a guy bothering another person's shot by the height of his head.

For all the talk of his intelligence, aggressiveness in going after rebounds, positioning, good footwork, and yes the blurb about being good in the community I hope that Blair is available at #13 and that Larry pulls the trigger.

naptownmenace
06-16-2009, 11:00 AM
Yes the Barkley comparisons are silly. Once Chuck lost weight he must have had about a 38 inch vertical. Dude could sky, and was quick. I like Skaut's Charles Oakley comparison. Or Wes Unseld if you are old school (but that could be a stretch). At minimum a Rick Mahorn-type toughness.

The height doesn't worry me so much, since he has the length and the attitude. It's as if people would value him more if his neck was two inches longer, making the top of his head 6'9". I never heard of a guy bothering another person's shot by the height of his head.

For all the talk of his intelligence, aggressiveness in going after rebounds, positioning, good footwork, and yes the blurb about being good in the community I hope that Blair is available at #13 and that Larry pulls the trigger.

Agree 100% with the height thing.

I remember meeting Jason Maxiel at IHOP right before the draft and the first thing I thought was, "This dude is way too short to be an effective PF in the NBA!" What I failed to take into consideration was his muscular frame, long arms, and quick leaping ability.

That's what makes short PFs like Maxiel, Paul Millsap, Brandon Bass, Reggie Evans, and Carl Landry successful on the NBA level. Whatever they lack in height, they make up for it in other ways. Those are the five guys that are currently playing in the NBA that I'd compare him to.

ESutt7
06-16-2009, 11:13 AM
I don't know why but what Holiday said made me laugh - "I'm just a great person!"

I thought that was funny too. Glad he thinks so!

ESutt7
06-16-2009, 11:24 AM
I've warmed up to Blair after reading this. He fits a very specific role, and he knows that. It doesn't solve our problem for low post scoring by any means, but maybe in time he could become decent. Dale Davis averaged 8 ppg for his career and maxed out at 11.7. But, he averaged nearly 10 rpg in his prime playing around 30 mpg. Now, Blair is no Dale, but that's the kind of toughness I think of. If we got him, I'd hope we get a later pick to grab another talented guy.

I originally didn't want either of the UNC guys, but I've changed my mind. I'd be alright with Hansbrough because he is definitely a worker and he is bigger than I thought he was. I thought he'd measure out short, but he's 6'9.5" I think we'd have to be in the teens to get him though, as I think he's a Jerry Sloan type of guy. And I think Lawson will wind up being better than a lot of people are giving him credit for. He's played the best college teams in the country, improved each year, and thoroughly dominated the tourney last season. He's very effective and I think he's a hard worker. Plus I think all the doubt will motivate him to prove a lot of people wrong. Loved what he said about where he'd be in 5 years. Top 3 PG is awfully ambitious.

Trader Joe
06-16-2009, 11:28 AM
It's not the height thing, how can you look at Blair and the first thing that sticks out is he is too short? I look at him and think man this guy needs to drop some freakin' pounds. No thanks. Tractor Traylor Part Deux.

imawhat
06-16-2009, 11:50 AM
I don't know why but what Holiday said made me laugh - "I'm just a great person!"

The scary thing is that he actually believes it. I don't know the guy, but he is screaming JO pt. II (and has been since I first saw one of his interviews).

I have a problem with players who think they're better than they actually are (JO, AJ, Shawne, Baby Al, Sarunas....do you see where this is going?).

GMs, coaches and teammates eventually will too.

Putnam
06-16-2009, 11:53 AM
There's something I've been wondering, and ESutt raises it here:


I've warmed up to Blair after reading this. He fits a very specific role, and he knows that.



In a weak draft where the Pacers just aren't going to get a super player at the 13th pick, they have a choice between a second- or third-tier player and a role player who can do something really well, but not everything.

Which is the better course of action?

Supposing you pick the second-tier guy. He's going to give you 8-12 minutes off the bench and be weaker than our current starter at whatever position he plays. On the other hand, if you pick a role player with a single outstanding quality, you've got something. Blair would be the Pacers' top enforcer in the paint from the moment he stepped on the court. If that is something the Pacers need (and it is) then Blair gives you added strength in a positive way, while the other kind of player only gives you depth.

Skaut_Ech
06-16-2009, 11:55 AM
It's not the height thing, how can you look at Blair and the first thing that sticks out is he is too short? I look at him and think man this guy needs to drop some freakin' pounds. No thanks. Tractor Traylor Part Deux.

It's my understanding that he did. I read that he's lost 35 pounds since his sophomore year. I think his weight is in the 265 range?? For you old school guys, that's comparable to Anthony Mason from the old Knicks. Same height and weight.

Slick Pinkham
06-16-2009, 12:32 PM
I thought of the Mason comparison, but Mason was really good with the ball- a great dribbler and smart passer, which is pretty rare for a guy that big and I don't think Blair has that.

I think most of the league was convinced "Big Baby" Davis would be an absolute bust, hence his drop to round 2. I know I did. I'm still not sure he should be a starter anywhere, despite how well he filled in for KG, but the development of his game was impressive. I don't think anybody was raving about his work ethic going into the draft, but somehow he found it.

Predicting a guy's love for the game and desire to get better has to be one of the hardest aspects to the NBA draft, or any pro sports draft. Carlos Boozer seemed to have no measureables but succeeds wildly. Then you have the Mel Turpins, Joe Barry Carrolls, Michael Olowokandis, and even David Harrisions of the world who seem to punch the clock as long as the checks arrive.

Naptown_Seth
06-16-2009, 12:49 PM
Predicting a guy's love for the game and desire to get better has to be one of the hardest aspects to the NBA draft, or any pro sports draft.
Just ask Brad Miller.


Skaut, Blair just dropped a ton of weight from the end of the PITT season to the workout period, forget sophmore year. The counter concern from that is that dropping it quick could also mean putting it back on quick. Personally I liked him at his PITT playing weight, as long as he didn't go beyond that.

Of course his knees might beg to differ. The knee issue is the concern. I'm assuming that they did an MRI and/or XRay and found signs of wear or damage that could grow into a bigger issue, at least from the way it was reported.

Then again I really hate drafting against injury concerns. A lot of teams jumped over Granger because of it, and plenty of apparently healthy guys get injured out of nowhere. Grant Hill comes to mind there.



Ima - I just don't read Jrue like you are. I think he comes off as a nice, freshman aged college kid that likes to goof and is pleasantly easy going. He's not intense and therefore things like "I'm a great guy" come off more funny to me than egotistical. When I've watched interviews with him that people thought came off bad, I just didn't see it.

Of course Blair comes off just stellar. I couldn't imagine a nicer guy outside of Hibbert, at least as he presents himself. Sincere and thoughtful, educated - totally belies his enforcer style of play which intrigues me.

PR07
06-16-2009, 12:55 PM
The only way I want Lawson is if we have another first round pick to acquire him. Maybe I'm forgetting someone, but when's the last time a UNC player has actually had a really good pro player? It seems like forever as all their last few batches of stars haven't really amounted to more than role players. The program may be winning, but in terms of producing really good pros, its last few batches have been busts.

I'd love to have Holiday or Blair, but I doubt Holiday is available at #13, and there's a 50-50 chance that Blair won't be either. I'm enamored with Blair's style of play. Our frontcourt doesn't really have much attitude or personality, I think Blair would definitely bring his fair share. Yes, he's short, but look at what Paul Millsap is doing for the Jazz.

OakMoses
06-16-2009, 12:58 PM
I'd be concerned about Jrue if I had ever read anything that pegged him as anything other than a really good kid. Since I haven't read that, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Lance George
06-16-2009, 12:59 PM
I like the modern-day Wes Unseld comparison for Blair. Blair's a warrior who was arguably the most productive player in college basketball all while playing overweight. It's scary to think how good he could be with his likely increased mobility, agility, and stamina.

Mr. Sobchak
06-16-2009, 01:27 PM
Q: Why should the Pacers select you with the 13th pick?

Blair: "I bring a low-post presence, toughness, rebounding. I think I would have fun. The coach is great. I could fit in this system. They play four out, one in. They spread the court. That's the way I like to play. The city is great. This is a good team, and I think I would fit perfect. I'm a tough worker. I work hard. I try not to take any plays off."

Q: How important is it to be a role model?

Blair: "That's the biggest thing besides playing basketball because there are a lot of kids that look up to NBA players. I want to be one of the successful role models in the city I go to and in Pittsburgh. I want to be an entrepreneur in Pittsburgh because I won't always be here. I always want to be able to go back and be that person that everybody looks up to."



How can you not love what this guy has to say?

Hicks
06-16-2009, 01:41 PM
True.

idioteque
06-16-2009, 02:48 PM
Blair sounds like such a good kid. It would be somewhat painful to pass him up if he's there at 13. I think he'd fit in well in our locker room, he's a guy the fans can definitely get behind, and he brings us a fair amount of things that we don't have right now.

I worry whether or not he's quick enough to guard the increasingly large number of "mobile" 4's in the NBA like Rashard Lewis and Lamar Odom. I feel like those type of guys would just eat Blair alive right now. I feel like James Johnson may be not only a better fit for our current system, but much more importantly a guy with a much higher ceiling especially offensively and someone who matches up well with the faster 4's of the league.

Right now I'd probably take Johnson over Blair, but man, that would be an incredibly difficult decision.

count55
06-16-2009, 02:55 PM
Blair sounds like such a good kid. It would be somewhat painful to pass him up if he's there at 13. I think he'd fit in well in our locker room, he's a guy the fans can definitely get behind, and he brings us a fair amount of things that we don't have right now.

I worry whether or not he's quick enough to guard the increasingly large number of "mobile" 4's in the NBA like Rashard Lewis and Lamar Odom. I feel like those type of guys would just eat Blair alive right now. I feel like James Johnson may be not only a better fit for our current system, but much more importantly a guy with a much higher ceiling especially offensively and someone who matches up well with the faster 4's of the league.

Right now I'd probably take Johnson over Blair, but man, that would be an incredibly difficult decision.

It's not just the mobile "4's." In a slash-and-kick league, even the guys that can catch and shoot could cause problems. Hell, even a guy like Big Baby Davis might possibly be able to draw Blair out of position.

The height was never particularly a worry to me, but the quickness is. How will he defend pick and rolls? How well can he drop to the paint, then recover to the shooter?

I'm not sure I'd pick Johnson over Blair, but there are just some things that worry me about Blair.

If he's there at 13, you probably have to take him (unless somebody even better, like Jennings, drops), but I'm really hoping that it's not a decision we have to make.

Will Galen
06-16-2009, 03:09 PM
Blair sounds like such a good kid. It would be somewhat painful to pass him up if he's there at 13. I think he'd fit in well in our locker room, he's a guy the fans can definitely get behind, and he brings us a fair amount of things that we don't have right now.

I worry whether or not he's quick enough to guard the increasingly large number of "mobile" 4's in the NBA like Rashard Lewis and Lamar Odom. I feel like those type of guys would just eat Blair alive right now. I feel like James Johnson may be not only a better fit for our current system, but much more importantly a guy with a much higher ceiling especially offensively and someone who matches up well with the faster 4's of the league.

Right now I'd probably take Johnson over Blair, but man, that would be an incredibly difficult decision.

Lewis and Odom are both 6'10 and 230. We would no doubt play Danny or Murphy against them most of the time. Then there's the fact that neither would fair to well against Blair in the post.

As for Johnson he measured 6'7 and has less of what we need. Johnson also has disparaging rumors going around. What they are I don't know, but the Pacers will know and that's what's important.

mildlysane
06-16-2009, 03:15 PM
Blair sounds like such a good kid. It would be somewhat painful to pass him up if he's there at 13. I think he'd fit in well in our locker room, he's a guy the fans can definitely get behind, and he brings us a fair amount of things that we don't have right now.

I worry whether or not he's quick enough to guard the increasingly large number of "mobile" 4's in the NBA like Rashard Lewis and Lamar Odom. I feel like those type of guys would just eat Blair alive right now. I feel like James Johnson may be not only a better fit for our current system, but much more importantly a guy with a much higher ceiling especially offensively and someone who matches up well with the faster 4's of the league.

Right now I'd probably take Johnson over Blair, but man, that would be an incredibly difficult decision.

My view is don't worry about matching up to them. Make them worry about matching up to us. Punish them on the other end, underneath the basket.

ESutt7
06-16-2009, 03:57 PM
But Blair isn't someone you can run an offense through by any means so you can't exactly "punish" them at the other end. He's going to be a pain to box out, but you can't isolate him and expect him to get you a lot of points on the block.

Johnson is about 6'8" in shoes with about a 7'1" wingspan and a 35" max vertical. He has a lot more offensive ability in terms of you can get him the ball and he can get you points via shot or assist. JJ could match up better with the "perimeter 4s" than Blair could IMO.

So therein lies a problem with Blair. There are a lot of perimeter 4s that would give him trouble, but we can't put him on a lot of centers either. The top post players will shoot over him all day. Johnson would at least give us the option to put him out on the perimeter on D, and could cause more matchup problems on offense by either playing on the block vs. smaller defenders or drawing out bigger ones. Basically, Blair is very set in what he can and cannot do, while Johnson offers more versatility on both ends.

imawhat
06-17-2009, 02:19 AM
Ima - I just don't read Jrue like you are. I think he comes off as a nice, freshman aged college kid that likes to goof and is pleasantly easy going. He's not intense and therefore things like "I'm a great guy" come off more funny to me than egotistical. When I've watched interviews with him that people thought came off bad, I just didn't see it.


I'd be concerned about Jrue if I had ever read anything that pegged him as anything other than a really good kid. Since I haven't read that, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

My counter to this is that Jermaine and Al come across as fun, respectable, and even goofy in interviews. I would go as far as saying Al's first impressions as a rookie were as infectious as the Hibbert interviews. I also believe Jermaine won an award for his general dealings with the media.

The similarity between all three (esp. Jermaine and Jrue) is the distortion of reality. Eventually, that distortion causes a lot of tension when things aren't going well. With Al, it was the pouting about not being a starter. With Jermaine, it was game 8.

I'd like to be wrong with this (just in case), but I'm hoping it's never the Pacers' problem to figure out.

idioteque
06-17-2009, 09:43 AM
Wow, wondering what Jrue Holiday meant by saying "I'm a good person" really shows how sensitive some of us are to the happenings of the past. Talk about some miniscule speculation.

Everybody is different, no two people are the same. I take it that TPTB are interviewing all of the prospects very carefully because I think one of their goals is to make sure the locker room never, ever gets toxic like it was in 2004-2005. I'll trust their judgment over mine. But I'm still going to say that someone claiming "I'm a good person" is not a good personality indicator for an outside observer, especially when that observer knows next to nothing about the person otherwise.

cdash
06-17-2009, 09:53 AM
Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see the allure of James Johnson. He just doesn't do anything for me.

imawhat
06-17-2009, 09:30 PM
Wow, wondering what Jrue Holiday meant by saying "I'm a good person" really shows how sensitive some of us are to the happenings of the past. Talk about some miniscule speculation.

Everybody is different, no two people are the same. I take it that TPTB are interviewing all of the prospects very carefully because I think one of their goals is to make sure the locker room never, ever gets toxic like it was in 2004-2005. I'll trust their judgment over mine. But I'm still going to say that someone claiming "I'm a good person" is not a good personality indicator for an outside observer, especially when that observer knows next to nothing about the person otherwise.

What I said about Jrue's "good person" comment was tongue-in-cheek. It sounded like a joke to me, which I could really care less about.

The 'outside observer' label is a copout, in my opinion. You think TPTB are going to get an incredibly large amount of information out of the 15 minute interview they'll conduct with Jrue? More than what I can gather from multiple 5 minute interviews? No.

Some of the comments are straight from Jrue's mouth; we don't need two "GMs" who are not qualified experts in personality to justify something that you or I can read.

Jrue actually thought he had a shot at being the #1 pick. That's one of a handful of comments that make me more than skeptical about his perception of reality.

I was saying the same thing Jermaine and Al in 2002 and got the same reaction I'm getting now. I won't say Jrue is like Jermaine and Al; he could be different. I won't hold my breath (and hopefully won't have to starting in 8 days).

ChicagoJ
06-18-2009, 11:27 AM
I take it that TPTB are interviewing all of the prospects very carefully because I think one of their goals is to make sure the locker room never, ever gets toxic like it was in 2002-2006.

Fixed.