Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.
The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.
We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:
Damion James - SF/PF - 6' 7.75" 227lbs. - University of Texas
- James is a bit of a tweener, but pieces of his athletic profile are outstanding for each position. James is a little short for a power forward, but makes up for it with a 7' 0.75" wingspan. He has excellent strength and should be able to overpower many NBA wings. His footspeed and quickness are slightly below-average for an NBA small forward but he makes up for it with his intensity and physicality.
- James has worked hard to diversify his offensive game. Although he is not very polished in the post, James has some very simple and effective moves, maximized by his powerful upper body strength. He is a terrific finisher at the basket both in transition and off cuts. In addition, he has added a very consistent outside jumpshot this season, with consistent range out to the college 3PT line. Although he is not the quickest or most adept with the ball, his body control and strength make him effective at getting to the basket off the dribble, where he draws a very high number of fouls.
- James has excellent defensive potential. Although he isn't the quickest on the perimeter he more then compensates withhis effort, strength and length. He also has the wingspan and bulk to be an effective defender in the post. His physical tools make him a terrific rebounder at both ends of the floor. Bringing this rebounding talent from the small forward position will be an excellent asset for whatever NBA team he ends up with.
- James is coachable and an extremely hard-worker. Despite the difficulties Texas has gone through the past few years James always played with maximum effort and made significant improvements to his game each season.
- Because of his height, James will probably spend most of his minutes in the NBA at small forward. He has worked hard to develop his shooting and ball handling skills but still played almost exclusively at power forward in college. Moving to the small forward will require him to learn a new position and a new role, regardless of where he ends up. His average speed and quickness will hamper his defensive efforts against certain NBA wing players.
- While his jumpshot became more consistent this season, he still shoots under 70% on free throws. He could and should improve significantly in this area.
- James is not a very effective passer, and during his time at Texas rarely looked to move the ball. As a role player in the NBA he will need to work on finding the open man and moving the ball within the framework of the offense.
How he can help the Pacers -
- The Pacers have a crowded frontcourtrotation but with the exception of Jeff Foster and possibly Tyler Hansbrough, none of them would be called overly physical. James is a pit-bull and could bring some needed strength and toughness to the team.
- His versatility could be a real boon to the Pacers' second unit. He can play minutes at the small forward, or at the power forward in small lineups and with his jumpshot still help space the floor. His long-term ceiling is probably as a very effective role player, think of a more athletic Jared Dudley. The Pacers may not have a lot of minutes available for him next season, but the roster should be clearing out by the end of the season with expiring contracts and trades on the horizon. Down the road he can be a very important and versatile piece on a playoff team.
- James is projected to go anywhere from the end of the lottery to the end of the 1st Round. If the Pacers are able to trade down and acquire multiple picks James would be a great way to add talent and depth for the future.
More Information -