Pacers’ Draft/Kahn’s Plan

I can’t understand why everyone is so upset with the Pacers pick of Tyler Hansbrough as their first pick.

If I would have told you before the draft that Indiana would be able to get the former national player of the year, a three-time All-American, and the all-time leading scorer at arguably the most relevant Division I basketball school over the past twenty years, what say you?

Credit the Pacers for looking in the mirror and accurately assessing the needs of a team that has won 36 games the last two years and missed the playoffs the past three.

The last thing this franchise needed was another point guard which was why I was scared they were going to draft another Heel with a first name starting with ‘Ty….’ when David Stern announced their pick.

Fortunately the Ty was Hansbrough, not Lawson, and the Pacers can try to rebuild their depleted front line around the basket. Indeed, I would have rather them traded up, if they needed to, for another ‘big’ instead of wasting the second round pick on A.J. Price as they did.

The bottom line though, is the Pacers are going to need to start playing some defense if they are going to improve. The clock is ticking on coach Jim O’Brien. A poor start to the ’09-’10 season could doom him early on and provide some cover for Larry Bird, also in the last year of his contract, if the team fails to excite fans before the new year.

There are some good coaches waiting in the wings…Jeff VanGundy, Bill Lambier, and something tells me that a December change is likely.

Speaking of VanGundy, it was pretty apparent that new Minnesota president David Kahn was telling the world that Jeff is in the mix for the still-vacant Wolves’ coaching job when he did his draft-night interview on ESPN.

Clearly Kahn has some plan up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The exact nature of that paradigm is unclear to me at this writing. What does make sense is they drafted Rubio knowing the Spaniard’s likelihood of spending the winter in the Twin Cities was as likely as Iran holding fair elections. Now, Kahn has Rubio as a bargaining chip and can exact a trade for him. The longer he holds out, the more alluring the Spaniard is going to be.

Kahn spent some years with the Pacers’ front-office organization and was not the most popular guy to ever inhabit the basement of Conseco Fieldhouse. No one has ever doubted his smarts though, so it will be fascinating to see what goes on in Minneapolis.


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