Pacers look at players who fit style
Bird is keeping a close eye on point guards, power players; Indiana will likely pick 11th
By Mike Wells
Posted: May 6, 2008
The Indiana Pacers are preparing for the June draft just like they did a year ago. They've scouted players in person and watched them on video.
This year, however, the Pacers will determine whether they use or trade their pick; last year, they had no pick. They had given it to Atlanta to complete a trade involving Al Harrington.
The Pacers are slotted to pick 11th if lottery seeds hold, their earliest selection since picking Erick Dampier 10th in 1996. They believe the draft is the first step to improving.
Team president Larry Bird wouldn't divulge names, but he said the Pacers have targeted point guard and center as their primary needs.
As important, Bird said the player has to fit coach Jim O'Brien's style at least "90 percent" of the time.
"If you get somebody that doesn't play his style, he's not going to play much anyways," Bird said. ". . . Jimmy will be involved in it. He won't tell us who to draft, but he'll be watching a lot of tape and getting his hands in the middle of it."
Bird and members of the Pacers scouting department attended the Portsmouth Invitational earlier this month and will be in Orlando at the pre-draft camp in late May. Then they'll bring in potential draft picks for workouts. Teams can bring in six players, up from four last year, per workout. Teams are allowed two workouts per day.
"My thing is, I'm a little worried about it because if you're not in the lottery, a lot of teams are going to be stuck waiting for these guys to get there," Bird said. "What you would like to do is bring two . . . point guards in and all 'bigs' in at the same time. You might not be able to do that because we've got a short window to get everybody in we want. I don't know if it's good or bad."