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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Bridges: Pacers need to get one right

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It’s that time of year again, Pacers fans. You know, that dark and quiet period between the NBA Finals and the upcoming draft where every team’s general manager looks into a crystal ball to tell them just exactly who the next big star on the horizon truly is.

That’s right, they’re buying futures as if they were on Wall Street, and to be honest, no one really knows who will make it in the NBA and who won’t. 

For a rebuilding team, it’s beyond imperative to get a player who can help you right away, and that sums up the situation with the Indiana Pacers’ “brain trust” who haven’t exactly had a boatload of luck when it comes to drafts.

In fact, while the jury is still out on last year’s pick, Chris Duarte, who clearly has potential, the team that has the No. 6 pick in the draft June 23 really needs to knock one out of the park and then some, as they select what hopefully will be a major piece in the ongoing “rebuilding” process.

While many mock drafts show the Pacers getting the possible opportunity to draft the likes of Keegan Murray of Iowa, Shandon Sharpe of Kentucky or perhaps A.J. Griffin of Duke, no one really knows who will be available when Indiana looks to improve a team that was beyond dismal last season finishing at 25-57.

I think if you were to ask Pacers President Kevin Pritchard and general Manager Chad Buchanan just what my two cents on the whole draft situation means, you’d get a weird look and then some, but that won’t stop me from sharing my thoughts with those of you who, like myself, realize just how bad this team is and how urgent it is for them to get value on draft night.

Why not roll the dice and trade up to a position that allows you to acquire Jabari Smith from Auburn? He’s my choice to go No. 1 in this draft, but other than his fellow alum Charles Barkley, no one seems to agree with me on the pick.

The bottom line is the Pacers will probably stand pat unless they get a great offer for the No. 6 selection, and perhaps that’s the safe bet. 

After all, when you’re a terrible team, anyone in the first round can help you, right? (Uh, no.)

This draft isn’t full of better-than-average NBA prospects, which is why I like Smith.

With aspiring fashion designer Myles Turner hopefully on the trading block along with Malcontent (sorry, l meant Malcom) Brogdon, the Pacers have some assets that could yield draft capital, so the real question is will they finally (and wisely) jettison the dead weight and forge ahead with rebuilding through a youth movement?

This should be without question the last opportunity the aforementioned brain trust is given to truly improve the team, and at the risk of redundancy, this is also the 283rd time that I’ve called for their collective resignations.

However, Pacers owner Herb Simon is enamored with his current front office for some reason, meaning Pritchard and company are here despite the fact that the bottom fell out on this team a long time ago. It’s important to the fans who support it that something positive happens on draft night. Chances are, it won’t.

Danny Bridges, who went undrafted in 1979 when he left the IUPUI Metros but has forgiven the NBA about it, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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