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Thread: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...607080420/1088

    July 8, 2006

    Hidden gems are keys for Pacers
    Team's resurgence may hinge on deals for underused players with big potential
    By Mark Montieth


    mark.montieth@indystar.com

    Steve Nash was once a two-year NBA veteran who had started all of 11 games. He was so ordinary that he was traded for guys named Bubba Wells and Martin Muursepp, the draft rights to Pat Garrity and a future first-round draft pick.

    It seemed illogical then that he would become a two-time Most Valuable Player, as he is today. It seems illogical today that he was once so expendable.

    Nash represents a breed of player who always exists somewhere within the recesses of the NBA: the hidden gem. He's the player who hasn't accomplished much, and might even be regarded as a disappointment, but will sparkle under the lights of more experience and playing time.

    Such players represent the best hope for the Indiana Pacers to make a major advancement from the mediocrity of last season's 41-41 record. They aren't bad enough to get a high draft pick. They don't have room under the salary cap to sign a major free agent. Blockbuster trades that bring an established star are always difficult to execute.

    So, their best opportunities to improve will be to find Nash-like players who don't command high trade value now but could become valuable commodities.
    "They're always out there," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said. "Always."

    Walsh has experience in this commodity, trading for it frequently during his tenure as the team's primary deal-maker. He sent a solid role player, Dale Davis, to Portland for an unproven Jermaine O'Neal in the summer of 2000. O'Neal had never averaged more than 4.5 points in four seasons but has become a five-time All-Star with the Pacers.

    Walsh also traded for Ron Artest and Brad Miller when they were in an emerging stage of their careers. Both became All-Stars as Pacers, although both were later traded -- Miller because his contract negotiation spiraled beyond what the Pacers were willing to pay and Artest because he demanded a trade.

    Walsh also once traded an established but past-his-prime forward, Herb Williams, to Dallas for unproven Detlef Schrempf and came out ahead.
    The Pacers were on the short side of such deals with Primoz Brezec, a first-round draft pick who got minimal playing time during his first three seasons because he was stuck behind more-experienced centers. Charlotte took him in the expansion draft and his scoring average immediately jumped from 1.6 points to 13 as a full-time starter.

    Tricky business

    Young, talented players who are on winning teams and stuck behind veterans are most likely to become the future Nashes and O'Neals. Finding them, however, isn't a simple process. Some young players can become much better, some can not.

    Walsh often performed his scouting duties in early pre-game warm-ups, when a player was on the court working by himself or with an assistant coach.
    That's how Walsh became convinced of O'Neal's potential.

    "You can tell their skills, you can tell if they're quick, you can tell what their shooting's like," Walsh said. "You can tell the basics.

    "It's also a matter of watching how they go about it. You can tell if a guy's working at it or not. Players don't know if you're watching them in an environment like that. If the player's out there alone, you see if the guy's really working or going through the motions."

    Some players get adequate playing time but are held back because they don't fit a coach's system. The Pacers hope Marquis Daniels, whom they will officially acquire in a trade for Austin Croshere next week after the NBA's transaction moratorium passes, will fit that description.

    Daniels flourished as a favorite of former Dallas coach Don Nelson but fell out of favor with Nelson's replacement, Avery Johnson.

    The Pacers can only hope that trade works out as well as their last deal with Dallas. In 1989 they sent an eight-year veteran in Williams to the Mavericks for Schrempf, who, like Daniels, showed promise but was stuck in a reserve role.

    Schrempf averaged 8.5 points his third season in Dallas. In 41/2 seasons with the Pacers, he twice was named Sixth Man of the Year and then averaged 19.1 points while starting 60 games in 1992-93.

    "I remember going to see him play once and he had a great game," Walsh said. "I thought, 'My God, this guy's coming off the bench. He'd be starting for us.' Instead of being a 12-point scorer I knew he could be 20."

    The Pacers wouldn't mind trading for more Schrempfs and O'Neals but aren't counting on it. They'll settle for players who bring solid improvement.

    "I don't know if you can depend on getting a J.O., but you can get players who can play for you for a long time and fill an important role," Walsh said.


    Five who flourished

    A look at five NBA players who started slowly but made dramatic improvement after finding a new opportunity with another team.

    • Boris Diaw: First-round draft pick averaged 4.6 points over two seasons for bad Atlanta teams, but 13.3 for very good Phoenix team last season after trade.

    • Steve Nash: Two-time league MVP averaged 3.3 points as a rookie and then 9.1 before he was traded to Dallas. Played four seasons before his scoring average cracked double figures.

    • Jermaine O'Neal: Rode Portland's bench for four seasons, never averaging more than 4.5 points, before trade to Pacers gave him new life. Voted Most Improved Player in 2002 and has been named to five All-Star teams.

    • Ben Wallace: Undrafted out of Division II college, was a throw-in to two trades before landing in Detroit in his fifth season. Went on to become four-time Defensive Player of the Year and recently signed four-year, $60 million contract with Chicago.

    • Gerald Wallace: Averaged just 2.0 points in his third NBA season, but got a fresh start with Charlotte's expansion team. Averaged 15.2 points last season, ranking first in steals and fourth in field goal percentage.

    Five who could break out

    A look at players who haven't done much in their careers so far, but appear to have the potential to break out given the opportunity.

    • Andris Biedrins: The 6-11 Latvian forward has averaged 3.7 points over first two seasons. Entered NBA too soon at 18, but at 20 still has plenty of upside. Produced double-double in first start as a rookie. Was 11th pick in 2004 draft.

    • Monta Ellis: Point guard was member of last class of high school kids able to jump to the NBA. Averaged 6.8 points in 49 games for Golden State, and scored 27 in season finale against Utah. Warriors will trade Derek Fisher to Utah and appear willing to trade Baron Davis to open more playing time for Ellis.

    • Luke Jackson: Forward has barely played for Cleveland because of a back injury his rookie year and a broken wrist this past season. Averaging just 2.7 points after two seasons, but there are reasons he was the 10th pick in the 2004 draft.

    • Yaroslav Korolev: Nineteen-year-old Russian forward played just 24 games for Clippers as a rookie, scoring all of 27 points. Not likely to get much playing time behind strong frontline, but might live up to draft position (12th overall) somewhere else.

    • Darko Milicic: Considered a bust after two seasons in Detroit when he averaged less than two points a game, but forward showed promise by averaging 7.6 points over 30 games after trade to Orlando last season. Further breakouts could come for second pick in 2003 draft.

    -- Mark Montieth

  2. #2
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Sounds like what I wrote about 2 weeks ago when I made the case for wanting Marquis Daniels. Why doesn't Montieth have Daniels on the list as a player who could break out

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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Sounds like what I wrote about 2 weeks ago when I made the case for wanting Marquis Daniels. Why doesn't Montieth have Daniels on the list as a player who could break out
    Because he doesn't wanna be viewed as a "homer"?
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Sounds like what I wrote about 2 weeks ago when I made the case for wanting Marquis Daniels. Why doesn't Montieth have Daniels on the list as a player who could break out
    I think the whole premise of the article is Marquis Daniels, and the thought that we are hopeful he represents one of these types of players --- regardless of whether he was on the list or not, I think that the association is there for the making. Just as its stated in there that we can only hope this trade is as fruitful for us as the last Dallas trade that we consummated (Detlef Schrempf).
    "Sometimes, when you look Andy in the eyes, you get a feeling somebody else is driving." -- David Letterman

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    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    YA know tho, it kinda reminds me of the old hidden pea game. Trying to find the pea hidden under the shell.

    Or perhaps trying to find the needle in the haystack.

    You better be dern good at your scouting.


    Another analogy strikes me. You ever been fishing and noticed the guy on the bank opposite you trying to cast his bait over to your side to catch fish...while you were trying to cast YOUR bait over to his side to catch fish. Perhaps the fish are already on our side of the pond and we should be looking here.
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

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    Call me Kauffie Kaufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Geez, haven't you heard? The grass is always greener on the other side.
    "Sometimes, when you look Andy in the eyes, you get a feeling somebody else is driving." -- David Letterman

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    Raw Talent Robertmto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Montieth
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    • Darko Milicic: Considered a bust after two seasons in Detroit when he averaged less than two points a game, but forward showed promise by averaging 7.6 points over 30 games after trade to Orlando last season. Further breakouts could come for second pick in 2003 draft.
    QFT
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    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Robertmto
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    QFT
    Can't wait for the Darko 15/8 Era to begin next year so everyone can start talking about Carmelo as the "bust" of the 2003 Draft and start questioning his max extension.
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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaufman
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    I think the whole premise of the article is Marquis Daniels, and the thought that we are hopeful he represents one of these types of players --- regardless of whether he was on the list or not, I think that the association is there for the making. Just as its stated in there that we can only hope this trade is as fruitful for us as the last Dallas trade that we consummated (Detlef Schrempf).
    I think Andy has his decoder ring all powered up with fresh batteries and it's given him the proper answer. Makes total sense to me.

    -Bball
    O'Brien has been fired! Yay! What took so long?

    ------

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    Raw Talent Robertmto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd
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    Can't wait for the Darko 15/8 Era to begin next year so everyone can start talking about Carmelo as the "bust" of the 2003 Draft and start questioning his max extension.
    Even if ur being sarcastic...

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    Hall of Famers FrenchConnection's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Yes, I think that Darko may still get the last laugh. Also, I think that Montieth does not mention Quis becuase the whole article is about him. It would seem redundant as he made a good case for him in the main body of his article. FWIW, I would not mind seeing Jackson or Biedrins in the blue and gold.

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    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Robertmto
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    Even if ur being sarcastic...

    QFT
    Wasn't being sarcastic. Also doubt Darko will be better than Melo, but I'm just sick and tired of hearing Melo mentioned in the "Big Three" with Wade and Bron Bron, when I think both Bosh and Howard will end up having better careers.
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Darko will be worthy of that #2 selection.
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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Robertmto
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    Darko will be worthy of that #2 selection.
    Better than Wade, LaBron, or Bosh?

    That's a pretty tall order.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Darko will end up a nice role player, but he'll never be anywhere near worthy of the #2 pick, especially in that rediculous draft.

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    Headband and Rec Specs rexnom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    This is my top ten value/potential of the 2003 class:

    1. LeBron
    2. Wade
    3. Melo
    4. Bosh
    5. Hinrich
    6. Diaw
    7. Howard
    8. Darko
    9. West
    10. Kaman

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom
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    This is my top ten value/potential of the 2003 class:

    1. LeBron
    2. Wade
    3. Melo
    4. Bosh
    5. Hinrich
    6. Diaw
    7. Howard
    8. Darko
    9. West
    10. Kaman
    Bosh over Melo, no question.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    I don't get what some of those guys are doing on Monteih's list, Ellis and Yarlos? Huh? I think they could be good players but I don't think they will have a breakout year next year.

    Here are some guys that could have breakout years:

    - Mickaël Pietrus
    Very athletic. Played decent for the Warriors last year. If he gets on a team where is the sure thing starter at the 2 or 3 watch out. He will suprise a lot of people.

    - Kevin Martin
    Played alright for the Kings last year I believe. If the Kings don't re-sign Bonzi Martin is a guy who could step in and start. This is the guy I wanted from the 2004 draft BTW. But the ****ing Kings took him 3 picks before us.

    - Shaun Livingston
    This kid has talent. A 6'7 point guard but will probably see time at the 2 with Sam Cassell back in LA this season. Shaun still needs to learn to shoot but that will come with time, he is still very young. He mainly just needs to get more experience and stay healthy. Once he gets healthy, and if he stays healthy, watch out.

    - Jarvis Hayes
    I'm a big fan of his game. I think he has had injury problems in the past but if he got healthy, and was in a situation where he could get more playing time, he could really put up some nice numbers IMO.

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    Headband and Rec Specs rexnom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    Bosh over Melo, no question.
    Maybe...I put Melo third because he is SO reliable in the clutch. I know he didn't do well in the playoffs but at least he got there AND Denver isn't that great...no other real scorers to help him out...no shooters.

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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom
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    This is my top ten value/potential of the 2003 class:

    1. LeBron
    2. Wade
    3. Melo
    4. Bosh
    5. Hinrich
    6. Diaw
    7. Howard
    8. Darko
    9. West
    10. Kaman
    Wow, the guy leads his team almost single-handedly to an NBA championship and he still can't get listed above LeBron. Whew.

  21. #21
    Member indytoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Am I the only one that instantly thought of Resident Evil upon reading the title? Maybe I'm playing too many video games.

    IndyToad
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    Headband and Rec Specs rexnom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by 3Ball
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    Wow, the guy leads his team almost single-handedly to an NBA championship and he still can't get listed above LeBron. Whew.
    I just think that LeBron will be better in the long run. I mean..he is something else. No ceiling. They are definitely one-two though.

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    It Might Be a Soft J JayRedd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom
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    I just think that LeBron will be better in the long run. I mean..he is something else. No ceiling. They are definitely one-two though.
    I have it like this

    1. LeBron
    1a. DWade














    3. Bosh
    4. Howard
    5. Carmelo
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    How is Howard better than Carmelo? I know that Howard has won more but he ain't the best player on his team, he is behind Dirk/Terry IMO. Melo is the leader of his team and his team did pretty well considering who they have and all.

    Melo is just simply a stud, he is better than Bosh even. Melo is top 10 in points scored and free throws attempted. He steps up in the clutch. He hot nearly 50% from the floor as a small forward. I think that Melo is way better than Howard. If you have Melo at 4 and Bosh at 3 fine but Melo at 5 behind Howard? How? Are we both thinking of the same Howard because i'm thinking of Josh Howard.

  25. #25
    Well lubricated Skaut_Ech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star} Hidden gems are keys for Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    Five who could break out

    A look at players who haven't done much in their careers so far, but appear to have the potential to break out given the opportunity.

    • Andris Biedrins: The 6-11 Latvian forward has averaged 3.7 points over first two seasons. Entered NBA too soon at 18, but at 20 still has plenty of upside. Produced double-double in first start as a rookie. Was 11th pick in 2004 draft.

    • Monta Ellis: Point guard was member of last class of high school kids able to jump to the NBA. Averaged 6.8 points in 49 games for Golden State, and scored 27 in season finale against Utah. Warriors will trade Derek Fisher to Utah and appear willing to trade Baron Davis to open more playing time for Ellis.

    • Luke Jackson: Forward has barely played for Cleveland because of a back injury his rookie year and a broken wrist this past season. Averaging just 2.7 points after two seasons, but there are reasons he was the 10th pick in the 2004 draft.

    • Yaroslav Korolev: Nineteen-year-old Russian forward played just 24 games for Clippers as a rookie, scoring all of 27 points. Not likely to get much playing time behind strong frontline, but might live up to draft position (12th overall) somewhere else.

    • Darko Milicic: Considered a bust after two seasons in Detroit when he averaged less than two points a game, but forward showed promise by averaging 7.6 points over 30 games after trade to Orlando last season. Further breakouts could come for second pick in 2003 draft.
    I'm firmly convinced the way to go is to stock up on "hidden gems.' It's pretty much been my mantra when we discuss whom we culd get.

    Montieth listed two guys I would put at the top of the list in Luke and Korolev. I think they boht can be had and I wouldn't mind getting either one of them.

    I've also mentioned DJ MBenga, but I guess he just signed a multi-year deal, so getting him is probably out. I think Jackie Butler could give us a Dale Davis-type enforcer and I can see him being a breakout guy.

    I really think if you fully commit to tagging bench buried guys while using a smart scouting eye, you could really set this team up.

    Other guys I like as hidden gems (and I'm talking about guys with contracts, not free agents.):

    Antoine Wright

    Linas Kleiza

    Ronny Turiaf


    Personally, I'm hoping we make one big trade, sending Tinsley and Jackson elsewhere, then load up on low cost contracts, hugry young, bench buried players.
    Hey! What're you kicking me for? You want me to ask? All right, I'll ask! Ma'am, where do the high school girls hang out in this town?

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