Wow, what a crazy night at the Fieldhouse! I was really amped when talented combo guard, Jerryd Bayless fell to the Pacers' pick at 11. The fans gathered at the arena shared my excitement. After catching our collective breath, the Raptors selected Roy Hibbert for the Pacers leaving everyone happy and ready to go home.
The Pacers traded Bayless and Ike Diogu to Portland for their top pick, Brandon Rush, along with Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts. Confusion, outrage, and utter disbelief followed.
But after letting the details settle in, the deal makes more sense. I know the Pacers loved Rush after working him out and in fact some thought he might be the pick at 11 even if Bayless was available. Jack comes in as a hard working back up point guard with good size and durability. Sexy? No. Serviceable? Yes. Plus, he's cheap ($2 mil) and a restricted free agent after this year if things don't work.
For the Pacers, Bayless seemed like a good fit, although he wasn't considered a point guard. A combo guard with plenty of scoring talent would've been a nice complement to TJ Ford, nonetheless. As for Ike Diogu, he just wasn't a good fit for Jim O'Brien's system. He wasn't a bad compliment to Jermaine O'Neal, but J.O. is gone now.
So in essence, the Pacers traded Jerryd Bayless for Brandon (I almost typed Kareem) Rush and Jarrett Jack. Along with Roy Hibbert coming in the Toronto deal, the Pacers took big strides in changing the direction of the team tonight.
You have to manage your expectations here a bit if you remain dismayed. The Pacers are essentially rebuilding, so regardless of what player or players they added tonight, they weren't going to suddenly be contenders for a deep playoff run. What they did do was gather up a few more assets in three young players, including one, Rush, who could be a solid talent for years to come. Either way, they now have more flexibility to make additional moves and take advantage of other opportunities to improve as they arise in the future.