So what if Zeke is a rookie? And they didn't draft him #4 overall, given that he's a prototype 3-down back, to have him in a timeshare with Morris or McFadden. Behind that line, coupled with his skills as a runner, receiver, and pass blocker, there's no way he should fall past the first round.
@Walter I don't see how you think Fitz is "fine" there, given the fact you pointed out Palmer's diminishing arm strength and generally not liking older players. I get he's produced with awful QBs and they're not running him deep anymore, but even so, the point you made about AP apply even more to Fitz. Bad pick
13. Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina
The Pacers needed a power forward or point guard so I guess Hansbrough makes sense. I think this is a bit high for him and I'm not sure he is a starter at the next level. I would have rather have seen them add someone with a little more athleticism since Hansbrough is all fundamentals similar to Troy Murphy. (Pick Grade: Meh)
52. A.J. Price, PG, Connecticut
With Jarrett Jack being a restricted free agent, the Pacers needed to grab a point guard with one of their picks. Price is battle tested and could play 12 minutes a night right away, which is more than you can ask from a second-round pick. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)
2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
Pacers sign PG Earl Watson
Pacers sign C Solomon Jones
Raptors sign C Rasho Nesterovic
Pacers cut PG Jamaal Tinsley
Celtics sign SG Marquis Daniels
Pacers re-sign PF Josh McRoberts
Pacers sign SG Dahntay Jones
Pacers receive option from PG Travis Diener
2008-09 Season Summary:
While the Pacers missed the post-season for the third straight season, there was optimism for this team at the end of the year. Danny Granger took the �leap,� developing into an All-Star and finishing fifth in the league in scoring while Troy Murphy quietly put together one of the most unappreciated seasons of any player in the league, setting the team record for double-doubles and total rebounds. Rookies Roy Hibbert and Brandon Rush made promising strides throughout the season, and don't forget, Mike Dunleavy missed 64 games due to bones spurs in his knee. With the talent they had in house, Indiana probably met expectations.
2009-10 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Roy Hibbert/Jeff Foster/Solomon Jones
PF: Tyler Hansbrough/Troy Murphy/Josh McRoberts
SF: Danny Granger/Mike Dunleavy
SG: Brandon Rush/Dahntay Jones
PG: T.J. Ford/Earl Watson/Travis Diener/A.J. Price
NBA Free Agents:
PF Maceo Baston (UFA)
SF Stephen Graham (UFA)
2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $58.9 million
2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. An athletic power forward - The Pacers enter the off-season with three bigs under contract, none of whom you could consider as being very athletic. Foster and Hibbert are not very mobile while Murphy is known more for his rebounding and three-point range. Indy could use an athletic compliment to these three, a guy who is fearless at attacking the basket and is tenacious on the glass. Unless they win the draft lottery or reach with their selection, there likely won't be a player like this available when they pick, so this need must be addressed via free agency or trade.
2. Get defensive - In his end of the season press conference, both head coach Jim O'Brien and president of basketball operations Larry Bird made no bones about the fact that Indy will address the need to become a better defensive team this off-season. The Pacers allowed the fifth most points in the league in '08-'09 and while Granger blew up as a scorer, he took a major step back as a defender. Either bring in a defensive-minded player or figure out to get this group to D' it up.
3. Find a new home for Jamaal Tinsley - While the Stephon Marbury/Knicks soap opera received a lot pub throughout the league last season; the Pacers had a similar situation with Jamaal Tinsley. The point guard was pretty much told to stay home by management who failed in their year-long attempt to trade him. As a result, Tinlsey was paid $6.75 million to stay away from the team and is still owed $14.7 million for the next two years. Bird insists other teams were interested in Tinsley, but no deal could ever be reached. Really? At this point, wouldn't you trade Tinsley for a box of headbands just to get rid of his salary?