The Indiana Pacers hold just the 57th pick in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. The Pacers are in desperate need of some offensive help this offseason, in addition to some actual depth on the bench.
The Pacers traded away their first round pick last off season to the Phoenix Suns for Luis Scola. They also gave up Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee. Fairly certain the Suns won that trade and the Pacers could really use that first round pick (think the Colts and Trent Richardson).
Indiana will likely target a point guard, or perhaps a true shooting guard, in this years draft. George Hill doesn’t give the team much in terms of creating plays and C.J. Watson is just a quality backup. The ideal situation would be to find a true point and move Hill to shooting guard off the bench.
Hill and Watson played very well together, with Watson at point and Hill roaming the three point line. They were able to stretch the floor and create space for other players to operate more effectively. Hill isn’t really a point guard to begin with, and the Pacers actually never refer to him as one.
Last season, the Pacers selected Solomon Hill in the first round. It was a bit of a stretch as there were far more talented players available (like Tim Hardaway, Jr.). Hill appeared in just 28 games this year and spent time in Fort Wayne with the D-League team. He averaged just 1.7 points per game while playing eight minutes in those appearances.
Hill isn’t exactly a bust, at least not yet, but he likely won’t make an impact next season either. 2012’s first rounder, Plumlee, isn’t even on the team anymore. That’s two years of awful first round picks by Larry Bird, who basically gets a pass based off the 2010 class (Lance Stephenson and Paul George).
The Pacers have limited options with such a late pick in the draft. That isn’t to say there isn’t value there (see Stephenson) but finding a talented player isn’t a sure thing. Both Marcin Gortat and Manu Ginobili were taken with the 57th pick in the draft.
PG Bryce Cotton is a potential prospect out of Providence. He can score with the best of them but isn’t an elite athlete.
The Pacers brought in Louisville’s Russ Smith and Michigan State’s Keith Appling, two players who have a ton of experience against great competition. It is likely that neither will fall that far in the draft though. Smith would be my first choice, as he is an elite scorer and distributor who would have a talented team surrounding him.
The Pacers have to get someone who can push for a spot on the roster. Assuming they go with a point guard, they’ll need to find a player who can push Watson and Hill to really earn their spots.
There is always the possibility that the Pacers could trade up and this particular draft features an awful lot of talent. Bird has said that he will be open to all options and certainly could package some of his players for the future of the team.
The NBA Draft is on Thursday with coverage beginning at 7 PM on ESPN.