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Ranking the Pacers

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Mark Montieth takes a post-draft look at where he thinks the Pacers stack up in the Eastern Conference. This isn't supposed to be a static look at the East that projects to the season, it is simply measuring a point in time realizing teams will change plenty throughout the rest of the off-season.

Reseeding the East
The draft is over, trades are being discussed and free agency opens today. Here's how things stand:
  1. Chicago: Already on cusp of contention, now Joakim Noah adds front-line depth (and fashion).
  2. Detroit: Added backcourt depth with Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo but must retain free agent Chauncey Billups to contend.
  3. Cleveland: Didn't have a draft pick. Needs to find a way to strengthen backcourt.
  4. Miami: First-round pick Daequan Cook won't provide immediate help. And Shaq ain't getting any younger.
  5. Toronto: Sat out the draft, other than trading for a late second-round pick. Needs front line help.
  6. New Jersey: Gambled on player (Sean Williams) with character issues for second consecutive year.
  7. Washington: Nick Young fills needs for shooting guard, especially if it loses DeShawn Stevenson.
  8. Orlando: Second-round pick Milovan Rakovic will stay overseas for at least another year.
  9. Charlotte: Trade for Jason Richardson brings immediate gain but hampers long-term building plan.
  10. Boston: Got better quickly by trading for Ray Allen, but where's the long-range vision?
  11. Indiana: The real work begins in July trading period. Relying on coaching change for improvement, so far.
  12. New York: Acquisition of Zach Randolph could provide lift, but is there room for him and Eddy Curry on the low block?
  13. Philadelphia: First-round picks Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith won't provide much immediate benefit but improve depth.
  14. Atlanta: Al Horford should excel at power forward, but it will be haunted by decision to pass on Mike Conley with No. 3 pick.
  15. Milwaukee: Major risk to take Yi Jianlian, who doesn't want to play there and won't provide immediate help anyway.
Montieth also makes a good point about how the move some teams made (Boston) may make them better next year, but not in the long run. Still I think as we sit here today, 11 may be a bit low for the Pacers. I'm expecting more changes which could move the Pacers below Philly and New York, but if J.O. is on the roster and everyone is healthy, I'd put the Pacers over Boston and Charlotte. Should be interesting to follow these rankings as free agent moves are made over the rest of the summer.