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Conrad Brunner QOD, What are Pacers’ Draft Priorities?
What are Pacers’ Draft Priorities?
Thursday, June 9, 2005
Q. What position should the Pacers be looking to fill with the draft? (A prominent online source) has them taking a small forward and a power forward. But they already have (Jermaine) O'Neal, (Ron) Artest, (David) Harrison, (Jonathan) Bender, (Dale) Davis, (James) Jones, and (Jeff) Foster (as well as Austin Croshere and Scot Pollard).
It seems they are a little less deep at the guard position. (Reggie) Miller is gone, (Jamaal) Tinsley, (Stephen) Jackson and (Anthony) Johnson are pretty good, (Fred) Jones is improving, but only (Eddie) Gill is after them. Seems to me a great outside shooter like Francisco Garcia (who has the capability to be a thicker Reggie with better defense) or a speed demon like Raymond Felton if he drops a little would be a better first-round choice. What do you think? (From Brian in Indianapolis)
A. As the roster is currently constituted, there really isn't a position of dire need. The Pacers have three point guards (Tinsley, Johnson and Gill), two shooting guards (Jackson and Fred Jones), four players capable of playing small forward (Artest, Jackson, James Jones and Bender) and a wide variety of players capable of filling the two post positions (O'Neal, Davis, Foster, Harrison, Bender, Pollard and Croshere).
Looking at the numbers, you could indeed draw the conclusion that shooting guard would be the biggest priority, not only because of the lack of bodies but the vacancy created by the retirement of Reggie Miller. Mock drafts I've perused are all over the board when it comes to the Pacers, and that trend is likely to continue for the next couple of weeks, at least until the top half of the first round begins to solidify.
At the moment, only the first four picks appear secure – Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Starting with the fifth pick, things get weird. The hot name of the day is Gerald Green, a high school forward from Texas who is zooming up the boards and is now mentioned as high as No. 5. The cold prospect is Felton, who had been in the top eight but now is being mentioned as low as the mid teens.
Sitting at No. 17, the Pacers can identify who they'd like, but they can't control who will be available when they pick. Keep in mind, the potential of an under-20 age restriction in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement could cause a run on teenagers in the first round, which would push some solid, experienced college players into the Pacers' pool.
In other words, don't put too much stock in what you're seeing in the mock drafts at the moment. After the Chicago pre-draft camp concludes, the rumor mill will churn and the lists will continue to evolve. The Pacers have always taken the approach that they'll take the best player available regardless of position. But given a choice between two comparable talents, they'll lean more toward need. At the moment, the biggest looks like shooting guard.