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Tbird 2009 draft analysis: The War Room on draft night
Tbird 2009 draft analysis: The War Room on draft night
I wanted to go thru some of the likely preparation strategies that I am sure that the Pacers management team is going thru in advance of the 2009 draft on Thursday, June 25.
By now, all player evaluation is likely over. All the film has been watched, scouting reports (ranging from those collected in the last weeks from all the way back when these kids were in high school) have been typed and prepared, and distributed to all relevant front office personnel people. As they say, "the hay is in the barn" as far as on court analysis of these kids by now.
Since this winter, the Pacers road scouts have been following their favorite players from gyms and arenas across the country. Their European scouting departments have been bouncing across the continent from small country to small country, trying to close their eyes and imagine what an 18-19 yr old foriegn teenager will look like at 23 living in Indianapolis.
These players coaches have been interviewed extensively by now. Most likely, films of the individual PRACTICES have been watched also, trying to judge the players everyday work ethic and coachability. NBA teams do extensive background checks as well these days, so likely our investigators have done deep background checks on associates, family members, teachers, professors, old girlfriends, etc etc. An extensive playing and personal dossier has no doubt been compiled on ever player.
Of course, our teams brass has been to private workouts all across the country and in Europe, and have invited certain kids in to Indianapolis for a visit. The second round kids we brought in were most likely favorites of some of our individual scouts, who tend to develop deep likings for certain players, sometimes for odd and unexplainable reasons...it becomes personal for them.
We probably have done intelligence tests, mock press conferences, and created situations for players to interact with each other and/or our current players just to try and judge a teenagers personality.....not an easy thing to do if you ask any parent or high school teacher, and yet each franchise has millions of dollars riding on the outcome of these examinations.
The next step of course is self scout your own team, have a rolling three year financial plan, and try to judge your own team's weaknesses both now and in the future. The best teams plan years in advance, while others tend to think about things year to year. Teams like us (who are somewhere in the middle) have to try and balance both immediate and future goals.......
Make no mistake, the weaknesses we view the team as having right this minute are obvious to everyone...our front office isn't asleep at the wheel. But they need the focus on the now, and at the same time need to focus on things like who can play point guard for us in 2013, or who is our PF in 2012? The future shapes the present, and the present shapes the future...it's a tricky business that needs smart people in the room.
You have to be able to think on multiple levels. Concerns like this: "If we draft a wing player, how does that effect Rush's confidence...does he become worse because of that?" If we draft a big guy, can that guy play at the same time as Roy Hibbert? Does the player we draft "compliment" our core, or do they hinder it? If we draft a point guard and get rid of one of our current ones, how does that effect our chemistry as a unit? Could this player live in the midwest? How will this player adjust to being suddenly rich, having basketball as a job, living alone in a strange city? Can a guy who has been a star his whole life handle sitting on the bench of need be, and will he be a good teammate or a cancer? Can the player we draft handle failure, being yelled at, or struggling against bigger tougher men who eat rookies alive?
All these things, and more, have got to be considered. This is the type of information that none of us have at our disposal, but the teams now do.
Each team will have a draft board. Players with any personality issues or red flags will be dropped in the order, or perhaps taken off altogether. Need, long term potential, positional scarcity, your opponents strengths, how each guy fits, and a dozen other factors affect the order. Right now here is mine, using only players I feel will be there, or potentially will be there at #13. The Pacers, and your own, actual draft boards could easily be different of course:
1. James Johnson
2. Gerald Henderson
3. Terrence Williams
4. Ty Lawson
5. Eric Maynor
6. Brandon Jennings
I would have Clark lower due to effort concerns, Budinger low because I don't think he can play, and Flynn low because I don't like the doubts I have about his defensive long term viability or judgment offensively. I have Teague and Holliday below these guys because I think they are combination guards and not point guards. I have Daye and Mullins substantially lower than this because I dont think they help me at all next year, the year after, or maybe even the year after that....too long term projects for me.
I have very limited personal information on Jennings, so I rank him 6th, below the other 2 point guards. The Pacers have good European scouts and have interviewed and investigated Jennings thoroughly I am sure. If he is higher on our boards than this, I can't argue with due to my lack of film on him...that would be where faith in my front office would have to come into play......which I have.
No trade scenarios just appear out of the blue on draft night. Due to the nature of blabber mouth agents and talkative coaches, along with good old fashioned reporting and reasoning, the Pacers will almost surely have an extremely good idea of what each team will do by Tuesday afternoon at the latest. We won't know, but Bird and Morway will.
I'm sure the Pacers have already walked through many many different scenarios, and have a contingency plan in place for all of them. All potential deals are going to be in place likely by Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, ready to execute on draft night. There will be no surprises to our front office people.
If the Pacers already have a "wink and a nod" agreement in place with Jack at some predetermined price ( a likely scenario most likely) then the decision on whether to draft a point guard will depend on trading TJ Ford. Moving Ford makes sense if and only if you think that:
A. Jack is good enough to be an immediate starter on a playoff team
B. Whichever point guard you pick is ready to play back up minutes immediately and projects to long term be better than Ford
C. Trading Ford gets you additional assets now and in the future that help you, and the payroll flexibility gained in the summer of 2010 helps you sign a free agent that summer you already have in mind.
D. The point guard you want is either available for us to pick at #13, or is available for our trading partner to pick later in the draft behind us. If we make what appears to be a bizarre selection at #13 (Mullins or Daye come to mind) then it means we are almost surely trading that player downward to a team behind us as part of some larger deal.
Lets now do like the Pacers have already done, and "game out" the following scenarios of players dropping to us at #13 that I did not list above.
WHAT IF JORDAN HILL DROPS TO #13?
I think most likely we would take him with the intent to keep him. I didn't do a profile study of him, so I am working with limited personal knowledge of his game, but on the surface he seems like a keeper for us in the unlikely event he slips to us. We take him, plug him in to our big man rotation for the foreseeable future, and move on with the our next plan of attack.
WHAT IF DEMAR DEROZEN or JRUE HOLIDAY DROPS TO #13?
This is a much more interesting scenario I think. I don't like DeRozen as a player personally, and we have little need for him the way we are structured currently. Having said that, I think it is at least possible that he falls to our spot. I like Holiday only slightly better.
My guess is that in these scenarios, we have already identified a trade partner behind us who would salivate for a chance to get them. I'm speculating, but I would think a deal with Chicago would make some sense, as maybe they would view one of them as a long term replacement for Ben Gordon, and they have picks #16 and #26 to work with. I'm sure we have already contacted the Bulls, Pistons, and other teams just behind us to see if there is a trade match. A deal with Minnesota makes sense to me, as they have #18, #28, and expiring deals of Brian Cardinal and Mike Miller to trade along with a couple of other decent young players. Dallas is always ready to deal, and they have pick #22 and other assets. Portland is all the way down at #26, but they have a couple of very good assets besides that selection, like Outlaw for example.
Who knows what may happen, but I am sure the Pacers have gamed out those scenarios.
WHAT HAPPENS IF TYREKE EVANS SLIPS TO #13?
This is a harder queston I think than the above players. I didn't do a extensive study of Evans either, but I view him as a better wing player than Rush, perhaps someday right on par with Granger. Evans looks like an eventually NBA all star level player to me, or maybe just slightly below that....he reminds me a bunch of Jalen Rose actually.
But we has a very shady past, and we havent had good luck with Memphis kids with troubled history. I hope that the Pacers considered this possibility months ago, and have done their homework on Evans extensively so they know every single thing about him and his checkered background.
This would an EXTREMELY tough call for me. My gut tells me that in this market, and in this particular draft, that major off court concerns would be the ONLY reason he would fall to us. As painful as it is, I think I would also probably have a deal worked out with a team below us to draft and trade him, as I would hate to risk the headlines and doubts our community of casual fans would have about a player who was involved in the things Evans was.
Evans would bring a kings ransom in trade I think for a team behind us willing to take his baggage, perhaps even giving us a way to dump Tinsley on someone.....any team willing to roll with Evans may as well have Tinsley too. Again, Chicago in a major deal would make some sense to me....maybe getting Ty Thomas, #16 and #26 would be enough to make a deal, even if we couldn't also involve Tinsley somehow.
No matter how unlikely, you can bet the Pacers at least by now should be doing the planning on such a "what if" scenario. One prominent NBA mock draft (nbadraft.net) has Evans slipping to #12 to Charlotte, and I personally think there is no way Larry Brown would take him, which would leave it to us.
I doubt he gets that far, but you have to do the planning.
Is there any player in the draft worth us TRADING UP to get a few spots if the possibility occurs?
Again, the Pacers have to be analyzing this closely. You only move up in this draft I think if you can use an existing asset....you absolutely DO NOT or SHOULD NOT, in any circumstances, trade a future pick to move up in this one.
Jordon Hill would be the only player to me worth going up for perhaps. He seems to be the type of front court athlete who both has relatively good upside and who might also slip a little. Maybe Golden State would be a good trade partner at #7 if you so chose to make a move up. We'd have to move ahead of Charlotte for sure, and probably New Jersey and Toronto (Raptors pick #9) to get to Hill. The Knicks don't seem likely to want to move back in the draft, so we'd have to be weighing what Golden State might likely want from us at #7 to agree to move 6 spots down.
I see a move like that as very possible from Golden State's perspective, and I view them as one of the few teams in the league who might agree to deal for Jeff Foster instead of one of our point guards. A deal involving something like Foster and #13 for Turiaf and #7 might make sense, at least it needs to be discussed. An argument could also be made to to add Jamal Crawford and Jamal Tinsley to the deal as well, although that would make each team queasy I think, and may make it too big of a move to be consummated on draft night.
Those are just the scenarios I can think of...I imagine that Bird and Morway have many more that they have discussed with various teams. My guess is that the Pacers will be active on draft night, but I have no idea which direction they may go, up or down....and they may in fact make multiple draft moves, or be involved in multiple team deals.
There is also another likely scenario, which would have us picking at #13, then trying to acquire a later selection via trade somehow in the 18-25 range. I would think some of the teams in that area who would look at a point guard would rather have a short term help in TJ Ford rather than a rookie like Maynor of Lawson, or a team looking for front court help may prefer the veteran Jeff Foster instead of an untested rookie. It isn't hard to imagine a team like Utah or Dallas prefering Foster to whatever front court rookie they could select, for example. If we can make gain a significant long term adavantage with a move like that, I am sure the Pacers will have that scenario planned as well.
The main thing to remember is this: Whatever happens Thursday, it will be the result of heavy research, intensive investigation, and as part of an overall long term strategic plan....no one in our organization does anything without a plan I don't think, and I'm sure we have all sorts of contingency plans with other GM's in the league depending on how the other moving parts fall into place.
Last edited by thunderbird1245; 06-21-2009 at 03:17 PM.
Re: Tbird 2009 draft analysis: The War Room on draft night
Also, everyone should understand the needs of a properly ran public relations campaign in regards to our draft picks.
The PR and Marketing people have to have all of their work done on several different players, so the team can immediately begin to "sell" the public and the fanbase on whomever the pick is. Press releases need to be prepared in advance, all of our spokespeople in the organization and media types need to be given their "talking points", and everyone who talks to the print press or other media need to have their stories straight. Whoever we choose, it needs to appear to be a "no brainer" from a marketing and business perspective, and selling the vision that this pick will signal is an important thing from the business and marketing point of view.
The Pacers need to arrange immediate air time for their pick to be interviewed via satellite and/or at Conseco, and for the various media outlets around town. If the player needs polishing for things like that, we need to have people on the ground ready to provide that for them.
One huge tip off that a deal is in process will be if the Pacers announce their selection, then follow that up with the alarming sound of silence. When no one appeared in front of us at Conseco last year following the Bayless pick, no stats, highlights, profile, biography, background, or anything immediately following the selection, the more astute of us knew that he likely wouldnt be a Pacer for more than a few minutes.
Re: Tbird 2009 draft analysis: The War Room on draft night
Very nice, detailed thread. This couldn't be far off from what we're doing.
I don't think Hill will slip because there are too many teams in front of us with a need for someone like Hill. We'd have to trade up to get him.
I think we need these three players drafted above us to make things very interesting: Terrence Williams, Jrue Holiday, and Johnny Flynn (sp).
I fully expect Sacramento to take Rubio if he isn't already gone.
If we're not trading #13 and no major prospects land in our lap, I fully expect the Pacers to pick Gerald Henderson. This is not what's been suggested at all, but I see it happening.
I would love to look at all the potential deals the Pacers have had on the table since the 2005 draft. I wonder what offers were made for Granger, as I'm sure some were available. And at the time, Granger was much more tradeable.
I wish a team like Cleveland had a much higher pick; one they'd be willing to exchange with an expiring for Troy Murphy.
Hope everyone has a good time at the draft party. I would LOVE to be there!
I do not like either player for the Pacers personally, but I probably should have mentioned why.
I have major defensive concerns with Blair, and with how he will fit as a long term compliment to Roy Hibbert, who I view as a long term starter for us at the center position. I know many others rate him much higher than I do, and that is ok.....I just think Blair will have huge difficulty guarding his position at the next level.
Hansbrough I view as a high energy, hustle type off your bench. I think he projects as a 9th/10th man long term on a good team, and I simply like other players I listed better. I would have no real issue if we made a deal to acquire a later pick and used it to select however.
Hopefully that clarifies my own personal position.