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Indiana Pacers 2010 point guard options
Roy Hibbert of the Pacers
The 2009-10 NBA season is now over. The Indiana Pacers finished at 32-50. Many Pacer fans think the team will never win again or at least not for a long time. They think Larry Bird is a terrible GM and Jim O'Brien is a terrible coach. While O'Brien is not a very good coach, Bird is doing okay as General Manager. Bird has targeted the summer of 2011 as the key time for the Pacers, so far his plan seems to be on schedule.
In his season ending press conference Bird said that the top priority this summer would be to stabilize the point guard spot. If Bird can successfully do this, the Pacers will be well on their way back to the playoffs. Currently the Pacers have 6 players under contract. Two of the 6 are clearly starters for the future. Hibbert at center and Granger at small forward. That would leave Price as the back up point guard, Rush and Dahntay Jones as back up wing men and Hansbrough as the back up power forward. The Pacers need to find a back up center, starting power forward and starting back court.
Bird has first round draft choices in 2010 and 2011. he also has a high second round pick in 2010 as well as the expiring contracts of Murphy, Foster, Ford, Dunleavy, Solomon Jones and McRoberts. With those assets, Bird should be able to fill at least 2 of the positions he is looking for this summer. For now, I am going to just focus on point guards.
In my opinion, there is only one good point guard in this year's draft (Wall), so the Pacers best bet is to trade for a point guard. One of the key things to watch for is who selects Wall in the draft, they will most likely have a starting point guard available. If he is a good one, the Pacers should go for him. I believe there are at least 6 point guards that the Pacers have a chance at getting this summer. Here is a list of the 6 point guards that have caught my eye, they are listed in no particular order.
1) Devin Harris. Harris is the current starting PG for the Nets. The Nets have the best chance of getting the first pick overall in the draft and experts think they will pick John Wall. That means Harris will be available. Harris is a very good point guard and a former all-star. The problem is, he has only played 64, 69 and 64 games each of the past 3 seasons. The Pacers could acquire him because they have a good back up PG in A.J. Price that can fill in for the 15-20 Harris will most likely miss.
2) Jarrett Jack. Jack did a good job for the Pacers in 2008-09 but the Pacers could not afford to re sign him. He signed with Toronto and now the Raptors are looking for a wing man that can play defense. The Pacers have Rush and Dahntay Jones who can each play decent defense on the wing. Jack may be attainable and would give the Pacers flexibility. Jack has solid career averages in assist to turnover ratio (4.2/2.0) as well as being a good shooter. He is a career 45% from the field, 35% from 3 point range and 85% from the line. Jack is hard nosed and has only missed 6 games in his 5 year NBA career. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, Jack can also play some at shooting guard.
3) Raymond Felton. Felton is a free agent and the only way the Pacers could get him would be some kind of sign and trade deal or if they could make a trade that would free up some salary room for him. Felton is good PG and is also durable as he has only missed 11 games in his 5 year NBA career.
4) Ben Udrih. Udrih is the starting PG for Sacramento however if the Kings select a good SG in the draft, Udrih could be available as they are currently starting 2 PG's in Udrih and Tyreke Evans. Udrih has an excellent assist/turnover ratio (4.7/1.7). He is not flashy, but he gets the job done.
5) Darren Collison. Collison did an outstanding job filling in for the injured Chris Paul in new Orleans. Obvioulsy the Hornets are going to keep Paul as their starting PG which means Collison would be available for the right price. I have 2 small problems with Collison. First at 6'0" and 160 pounds, I wonder how much of a beating he can take in the NBA and second was this year a fluke or can he really continue to play well for many years? He is worth taking a strong look at.
6) Earl Watson. Watson finished strong with the Pacers this past season but they most likely will not be able to afford to re sign him. Watson is not the kind of staring PG that you can win a championship with but he would be ideal to bring in and start for 1-2 years while A.J. Price develops. If the Pacers bring back Watson, they are taking a chance that Price will be the PG of the future. Personally, I think Price will be a very good back up guard, but not a guy to take you to a championship.
Well, there is my point guard analysis for the Pacers, it will be interesting to see what they do this summer.