Workouts offered some hints for draftniks
Jun 19, 2009
Heading into the process, the Pacers didn't hide their biggest areas of interest in the NBA Draft: power forward and point guard.
Their workouts did little to soften that focus.
Of the 42 players brought in, by far the biggest numbers were at those two positions: 11 apiece.
Something else, though: less than one-third of the players the Pacers worked out are generally projected as first-round picks.
Does this indicate an interest in trading back? Or picking up extra second-round picks? Or maybe they're just being really thorough in researching their rookie camp prospects.
At the point, the Pacers worked out five likely first-rounders: Jrue Holiday (UCLA), Brandon Jennings (Italy), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Eric Maynor (VCU) and Jeff Teague (Wake Forest).
Of the 11 power forwards, howevers, just DeJuan Blair (Pitt) and Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina) are first-round prospects and some would argue the latter's merits.
My dark-horse position all along has been the wing and there the Pacers have worked out Gerald Henderson (Duke), Chase Budinger (Arizona), Sam Young (Pitt) and James Johnson (Wake Forest).
There's been just one first-round center, B.J. Mullens (Ohio State).
What does it all mean?
The Pacers will have plenty of options and unless they've fallen in love with a certain lottery prospect like Holiday, Jennings, Blair or Henderson, they might just be able to move back to find what they like at a lower price.
Henderson's family connection a bonus?
Henderson's name has been linked to the Pacers in a few mock drafts, mainly because of the team's potential for glaring need at the wing with the likely losses of Marquis Daniels and Stephen Graham to free agency and the uncertain status of Mike Dunleavy.
"It's a team I'd love to play for," Henderson said after working out Friday. "They have a fast-paced kind of motion offense, which I think I'd do really well in. So this is a place I'd definitely love to play."
Here's something to ruminate on as you ponder what the Pacers might do on Thursday: Henderson's father, a point guard who played 13 NBA seasons, won two championships as Larry Bird's teammate in Boston.
The younger Henderson said his father has offered plenty of advice about the draft process.
"I'm going to play hard every day," he said. "Every game, every practice, I'm going to bring it."
Hansbrough moving into Pacers' range?
Though his college record is impeccable, Hansbrough has faced quite a bit of scrutiny in terms of his NBA prospects. Though reports from other workouts, including the NBA Draft Combine, indicate he's answered many of the questions about his athleticism, it's obviously still a sore subject for the North Carolina star.
When asked why there was skepticism about his prospects, Hansbrough replied, "It's just because I'm a national champion, I'm pretty good and I was a former player of the year. I'm pretty good. I'm not a perfect player. If they find a perfect player, I guess they can criticize me because there is no perfect player."
A borderline second-round prospect on most mock draft boards a month ago, Hansbrough has moved into the middle of the first round on most. He believes he'd help fill the Pacers' need at power forward.
"That's what I'm here for," he said. "That's why I chose the Pacers to come out and work out for. I think I'd fit in really good and I'd add a lot of help, power forward-wise."
Fast breaks …
# Bird will hold his pre-draft media briefing Monday at 1 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse. We'll have full coverage, including a blog and video, from that session.
# The final Live Fan Mock Draft is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at Noon. It's tentative only because the Pacers may schedule one final workout session that day. If not, we'll go live Tuesday. Stay tuned for more info.