Pacers' Euro Investments Make Steady Gains

Fortunately, the Pacers investments in Europe aren't in the actual euro but instead in Erazem Lorbek and Stanko Barac. While the euro fluctuates in a sporadic state of decline, the two bigs of past Pacers' drafts continue to steadily increased in value to the point where they may actually be useful in the near future.

The key word there is future.

Bruno's latest Caught in the Web catches up with GM David Morway and Scouting Director Ryan Carr after the two spent time in Europe assessing Lorbek and Barac along with scouting other European prospects. The Pacers retain the NBA rights to both players but don't expect to see them wearing blue and gold in an NBA arena near you anytime soon. That little fact shouldn't diminish the value of their development, though.

Lorbek played a key role for the Euroleague champion Regal FC Barcelona. He's under contract for one more year after which the Pacers may consider bringing him across the pond to help their front court depth. As Morway mentions, Lorbek won't be a high-impact player but could certainly help.

"Erazem is a very good basketball player," said Morway. "One of the things I noticed when we were there was he was the glue to that Barcelona team and played major minutes in both games. He's extremely skilled, can play on the block and also out on the elbow, a good passer, a very smart player and he's very smart defensively."

I watched parts of a couple of Regal FC Barcelona's games earlier this year and thought Lorbeck looked far more like a player than I'd seen in previous years. One thing that stood out was a couple of out of area rebounds he tracked down. In the end, Lorbek is an intriguing asset with increasing value. He may never play for the Pacers but his rights alone may be of value this summer as the Pacers try to make some moves to shake up their roster.

Barac's rights may be more valuable at this point as well. Sounds like his game is still in the upside development stage which isn't surprising considering his size. For some reason, I thought he was younger than Roy Hibbert and Josh McRoberts but he's actually a few months older, so the next couple years are huge for his development or his value will drop off a cliff. Morway sees some Rik Smits in Barac.

"I don't want to go overboard and I'm not saying he's as good as this player but he reminds you of a Rik Smits type – that kind of skill level for a big guy. He's not quite as tall as Rik but he's a little more physical than Rik. He likes to go down on the block and post up but he doesn't have enough strength yet. He's very intriguing. He's developing and he's under contract two more years and we'll continue to evaluate the situation and try to figure out when the appropriate time would be for him to come on over."

Nothing would make me more happy than to have Stanko arrive in Indy in two years to carve out a role in the playing rotation of a playoff team. Of course, I'm a bit selfish and having the name Stanko to work with constantly would be enjoyable. But if his rights can help the Pacers move around in the upcoming draft or as part of a player trade then I'll happily give up the dream of Stanko-filled future posts to help boost the current rebuilding project.

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