With two weeks until the ping pong balls from the NBA draft lottery confirm the Indiana Pacers' draft position, Mike Wells checked in with Larry Bird as he's gathering information on draft-eliglble players, looking for the magical player that fills a Pacer need (PG or big) and fits in JOB's style of play.
As important, Bird said the player has to fit coach Jim O'Brien's style at least "90 percent" of the time.
"If you get somebody that doesn't play his style, he's not going to play much anyways," Bird said. ". . . Jimmy will be involved in it. He won't tell us who to draft, but he'll be watching a lot of tape and getting his hands in the middle of it."
Drafting a player JOB is willing to play would be a nice start. Of course, if the slot is used as part of a trade with another team, that's fine, too. As Bruno mentioned in his latest Caught in the Web, as playoff teams are eliminated and the decision-makers for those teams see their window of opportunity to win a championship starting to close they may be more willing to engage the Pacers in trade talks.
Teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns will probably be scrambling for sturdy sticks to keep their elite team windows propped open. At what cost? Do the Pacers have key parts to offer? If Larry Bird is truly ready to rebuild, as painful as it sounds, Danny Granger will have to be on the table.
If Danny is moved, I'd much rather it be in an effort to combine him and others with the first round pick to move up into Derrick Rose territory. Maybe if the Sonics are at the top of the draft, they'd be willing to trade down to add some extra depth and also pick up former Kevin Durant teammate, D.J. Augustin. Granger could give Durant a reliable running mate to share the scoring load and bring a defensive presence to the Supes.
Derrick Rose makes me think crazy thoughts, but if the Pacers have to give up Granger I'd prefer they shoot for the moon, which this year is at the top of the draft.