First round: Brandon Rush, G-F, 6-6, 210, Kansas (trade)
First round: Roy Hibbert, C, 7-2, 280, Georgetown
Larry Legend did not start off his GM tenure in Indiana very well. Unloading Jermaine O'Neal and his 2-year $40-million deal was necessary, but he didn't get enough in return as T.J. Ford, like O'Neal, is injury prone and could be more trouble than he's worth. He also has yet to prove that he can be an elite-level point guard. Their draft philosophy makes sense for a team that's close to contending, adding Rush and Hibbert a couple of NBA ready players with not a lot of upside. Unfortunately the Pacers are in rebuilding mode and don't have the talent in place to make "solid" picks. Rush's career took a big turn for the worse when he was informed that he was being traded to Indiana instead of playing for Portland. The expectations and role that the Pacers have in mind for him will make it difficult for him to succeed. He is a defensive standout with solid shooting ability, but asking him to be more than that is asking for trouble. Taking Hibbert at 17 was also a mistake as he's limited athletically, and will be nothing more than a solid center. While these picks might look solid in a year, they likely won't appear so solid in 4-5 years when other players they could have taken (like Bayless and McGee) potentially become standouts. Grade: D.
I really don't care too much for this assessment.