My Danny Granger Mix:
My Danny Granger Mix:
Ordinarily, the bad news doesn't start coming in until the NBA season begins, but it seems the poor Indiana Pacers just can't catch a break right now.
One of the few bright spots in the 2009-2010 season, second round pick AJ Price (7.3 ppg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 rpg in 56 games) fractured his knee cap during a charity game in New York and just underwent successful surgery. He will be out for 4-6 months.
Let's be honest here -- no one was expecting Price to be the future of the Pacers at the point guard position, but the kid had (has) potential. Let's just hope Price can recover within 4 rather then 6 months (which would mean he'll miss the start of next season). And that's not factoring into account the time it will take him to get back into shape and get his legs back under him. It seems his sophomore season will be a difficult one even before it begins.
If Price is out for part of the season or if he's ineffective when he returns, where does that leave the struggling Pacers? With Earl Watson likely to leave as a free agent, that just leaves TJ Ford behind. Who knows, maybe this will be a good thing, something that will allow Ford to find himself again after a shocking season where he screwed up the team's chemistry, looked for his own shot all the time and rarely passed the ball. This is a contract year for him so the incentives will definitely be there.
Will this also affect the upcoming NBA draft? Will the Pacers be looking for a point guard more than ever now, or will a trade or signing for forthcoming? Either way, Pacers fans need to keep expectations in check. It is highly unlikely that anyone the team gets will be able to turn this franchise around immediately.
With a whopping 87% certainty, the Indiana Pacers surprised no one when they ended up with the 10th overall pick in the next NBA draft lottery.
Let's face it -- no matter what Larry Bird says about how great the 10th pick is, we all know that the Pacers could have done a lot better had it not been for that silly winning streak the team embarked on towards the end of the season.
Case in point -- the No. 1 pick went to the Washington Wizards, who had the 5th best odds of winning the lottery. Do I need to remind Pacers fans that for a stretch of the second half of the season, the Pacers were in line to be in that position (or even better?). Sigh...
Complete lottery results below:
|1. Washington||8. LA Clippers|
|2. Philadelphia||9. Utah*|
|3. New Jersey||10. Indiana|
|4. Minnesota||11. New Orleans|
|5. Sacramento||12. Memphis|
|6. Golden State||13. Toronto|
|7. Detroit||14. Houston|
|* -- From New York via Phoenix|
Now, instead of dreaming of John Wall and Evan Turner, or even DeMarcus Cousins, Wesley Johnson or Derrick Favors, the Pacers are stuck with a disappointing pick. It's not the end of the world because there are always a few surprises in the draft, and perhaps the Pacers will get lucky this year like they did in 2005 when they drafted Danny Granger at 17th. But I cannot help wondering what might have been.
The focus now shifts to who the Pacers will draft with the 10th overall pick. Most mock drafts have the portion of the draft stacked with athletic big men such as Patrick Patterson (Kentucky), Ekpe Udoh (Baylor), Donatas Montiejuanas (Lithuania), Greg Monroe (Georgetown), Ed Davis (North Carolina) and Hassan Whiteside (Marshall). However, what the Pacers really need is a solid point guard, and after John Wall, there aren't exactly a lot out there. The second best PG in the draft may be Wall's back up in Kentucky, Eric Bledsoe, but few have Bledsoe going as high as the 10th pick.
Would the Pacers be better off trading down or packaging the pick for a point guard? According to Pacers.com, Devin Harris may be available. Put Harris and Granger together and you might have a pretty decent team, even though both men took a step back last season.
The Pacers also have a couple of second round picks this year (provided Dallas surrenders their pick from the Shawne Williams trade -- at least that was a smart move), but no one is expecting miracles out of a second round pick. If the Pacers can get a couple of players with those picks who are anywhere near as good as AJ Price was for them last season (though let's not carried away, he's never going to be a star), then I would consider them highly successful picks.
Hopefully, the Pacers can get a quality PG through trading the pick, or strike gold with the 10th pick, as unlikely as that is. I'd much prefer it if they somehow managed to get Harris for the pick and some expiring contract (please let it be TJ Ford!).
Imagine a starting unit with:
PG Devin Harris (who has a career revival)
SG Brandon Rush (who suddenly wakes up and becomes a solid, consistent player)
SF: Danny Granger (who has a career revival)
PF: Troy Murphy (who suddenly learns how to defend)
C: Roy Hibbert (who continues to improve and no longer fouls every chance he gets)
Then on the bench you have: AJ Price (PG), Dahntay Jones (SG/SF), Mike Dunleavy Jr (SG/SF), Tyler Hansbrough (PF), Josh McRoberts (PF/C), Jeff Foster (PF/C), Solomon Jones (PF/C), and hopefully not TJ Ford (packaged in the Harris deal -- their salaries even match!).
That's a decent playoff team, isn't it?
After being released by the Indiana Pacers a few months ago, Travis Diener was eventually picked up by the Portland Trail Blazers.
That year for Diener was just a waste and had no point or value to it at all. First of all, he had a major toe injury that forced him to miss most of the season and lose his job with Indy.
Diener will now be a free agent on July 1st.
So far, there's three teams interested in the young point guard.
One are the New York Knicks, who need a consistent guard to run their system. The Los Angeles Lakers are another team, who needs a point guard that can cover faster players and Derek Fisher can't do that. There's also the Magic, but that's if they don't re-sign their backups.
There's also a chance of Diener going overseas to play ball in Europe.
"If something doesn't work out here, I'm not afraid at all to go overseas to play," he said. "It's a high level over there, but my first objective is to get another contract here. But you have to weigh all the options. One of the options for me is I want a chance to play and play a lot.
"We'll see what happens; there's still a lot up in the air. In a couple of months I'll know more."
I finally just finished an in-depth article reviewing the Indiana Pacers' 2009-2010 season, complete with team analysis and player grades.
Check it out by clicking here.