The Pacers are looking for guys that can play within a system, and that makes complete and that makes total sense seeing they play true team basketball (something that is rare at the NBA level). The problem is they aren't drafting guys without talent, because as we have seen, the guys they have drafted and left have turned out to be good players, and the same can be said about Big Roy, and PG, and others the Pacers have drafted and kept around. The problem is that they draft guys who aren't at positions where there is a need. Now, do not mistake me in saying the Pacers are drafting bad players, they aren't. But drafting a 3rd Center after giving your starter to a big contract and recently trading for your current back up is not a way to set a rookie up for success. Likewise drafting a wing player when you have 3 guys at starter quality on your team is not giving your rookie a fair shot. You can say you are drafting for a couple years from now, which is a completely fine strategy, but our Center Plumlee is now in Phoenix and Hill is not even getting mop up time right now. Hill went down to the D-League and came back because things weren't working out. If you really want to develop the young players, if you are indeed drafting for the future, then you need to be getting these young guys experience and help get them ready for when their time comes. That is what the Pacers did such a good job of doing with Lance Stephenson, and it has clearly paid off as he is on the verge of being an All-Star this season. Again, I am not saying the Pacers management are dumb, Bird and Pritchard have done some amazing things with this team, but the management of their last few years drafts, and mid-money free agents (Green, Copeland, etc...) has been irresponsible. The Pacers strategy of maximizing depth makes since in a league like the NFL or MLB where you need so many players in your system that can play each position, but in the NBA where you get 15 guys... that's it, each roster spot is so incredibly important. Likewise, the Pacers need to balance young projects with guys who are ready to step in. Plumlee, Hansborough and Hill have all be older rookies (read: actually graduated college), so you have to expect guys like that to be close to finished projects. You can't expect them to need a long time to develop because they are older by prospect standards. If you are planning on drafting a guy who is not yet a finished project, then why not draft a younger player and not worry so much about trying to get him in the rotation immediately.
Like I said, it is hard to criticize a team that sits in first place, but after watching former Pacers succeeding after struggling so much in Indy, you have to wonder if there is something the Pacers could be doing different.
Thanks for reading,
T.O. signing out