FanPost

So let's be realistic...what's our plan for PG?

After not landing the #1 pick in the lottery, we all took a step back and realized that rebuilding wasn't going to be so easy as drafting the best player in college, who also happens to play our position of biggest need.

After pre-draft trade rumors involving our pick and such PGs as Tony Parker, Jonny Flynn, Darren Collison and Eric Maynor kept falling through, we thought maybe Bird had a plan to go after a PG somehow on draft day.

After not trading out of our #10 pick for two mid-first rounders in order to take Avery Bradley or Eric Bledsoe (or some other schmucky PG) we started to realize that maybe Larry Bird wasn't interested in addressing PG in the draft at all (then he confirmed it with post-draft comments).

Now, we're left wondering, what the hell are we going to do at PG? I'm not here to bash Bird, or bring up old stuff about how he's ruined this team by failing to draft a PG in a deep PG draft. I think we all know he's made some crucial mistakes and isn't the most competent GM. But at this point, Bird and Morway really have to start thinking creatively, or this problem's not getting addressed. So I'm here to simply speculate on the three different scenarios I think are possible, given what we know:


Scenario 1: Roll with what we've got. In this scenario, Bird basically says he's fine with a PG rotation of Ford, Price and some undrafted and/or unheralded free agent veteran, maybe even a former Pacer looking for one last paycheck, like Anthony Johnson

The Bad News (because I always like getting the bad news first): This would suck from an optimist's standpoint, as it would equate to nothing new and exciting from the PG position, and in fact, would mean we'd be leaning on a trio of guys who are, by all objective measures, worse than the trio we went with last year (Ford/Price/Watson). I assume Watson has moved on, and in this scenario, the Pacers can't (or more accurately, choose not to) find a free agent who's as good, and of course, Price won't be ready to contribute right away.

The Good News: It would probably signal an end to the Jim O'Brien era. Ford didn't mesh well with O'Brien, to put it kindly. Bird keeping Ford as the obvious frontrunner at PG would either be setting up Ford, or setting up O'Brien, for failure. My suspicion is O'Brien will leave '10-'11 as the fall guy anyway, while Bird has every reason to give Ford more playing time in order to increase his actual trade value come February when the deadline hits. The last thing we need is another lameduck PG we're paying for nothing. Bird surely knows this, and if Ford can put up 15/7 for 30+ minutes a night, O'Brien's bush league "system" be damned, well, someone will be more likely to part with a good player for a package that included Ford at the deadline.

Scenario 2: Make that awesome trade we've all been salivating over. My two personal favorites are Rush and a draft pick (I was hoping the 2010 #10, but oh well) for Maynor and a draft pick, OR Ford (or Foster + Rush) and MAYBE a draft pick for Posey and Collison, or some variation of those two trades. I wasn't ever really big on Flynn (I'd almost rather have Ramon Session) or Tony Parker (though with the right supporting pieces he'd be fine with me). Anyway, in this scenario, Bird lands one of those guys, most likely Maynor or Collison.

The Bad News: There's really no proof that either Maynor or Collison are long-term solution types. Maynor's shoot-first and has proven nothing in the NBA (he has two career starts). Collison's more of a creator, but is also shoot-first to some extent, and would come with the crippling dead weight of James Posey (assuming he can't prove himself worth it and regain his championship Celtics form). 

The Good News: There's plenty. Either Maynor or Collison would be cheap, low-risk fixes that, if they didn't work out, as long as unprotected picks weren't packaged to get them, wouldn't be a big deal. This scenario remains the one we should be rooting for, and knowing Bird, the one he's least likely to pursue.

Scenario 3: Sign a free agent, or a combination of free agents. Hansel gave us an excellent FanPost breaking down the available free agent PGs. Realistically, the Pacers could go all out and use their mid-level exception to sign one low-level star (like Ray Felton, who's probably the only one on the list who's worth the entire MLE), they could fanagle some sign-and-trade to get two mid-tier rotational guys (like Kyle Lowry or Juan Jose Barea) or they could go completely conservative and use their veteran's exception to sign a guy like Shaun Livingston and pair him up with their current pieces. All are possibilities.

The Bad News: Like Scenario 1, there's not much to get excited about here. Even if Felton would take just the mid-level, he's probably already peaked, and would require a long-term deal; something that's not too exciting considering he's probably just barely a top-15 starting PG, if that. Someone like Farmar, Livingston or Nate Robinson would probably be more exciting, as none of those guys have had much of an opportunity to start in the league yet, and could prove useful if they had the minutes, but let's face facts...none of them are likely ever going to be All-Stars.

The Good News: Playing it conservative with free agents is safer than taking on bad contracts for a shot at Collison, and who knows, one of those guys could turn into a great value at the right contract. For instance, if the Pacers got Livingston for a partially-guaranteed two-year vet's exception deal, and he played 3/4ths of the season injury free at the level at which he was playing as a starter during the end of last season, he'd be a steal.


So personally I think Bird's going with scenario 1, as boring as it sounds. What do you guys think? Are there any possibilities I'm missing? Do any of you have some genius plan we haven't already discussed? Let me know, because I'm at a loss.

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