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Draft And Trades Just The First Step

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First of all, huge thanks to all the commenters last night and today. Obviously, there's plenty of dissention over the draft day moves made by the Pacers. I think that has come through loud and clear here, yet remained pretty respectful. I really enjoy the debate and and appreciate everyone's ability to express their outrage without devolving into profane name calling. Of course, that's why I always tell people that the Pacers have a classy fan base.

The way the debate has gone, I find myself defending all the moves made last night, which to me boils down to giving up Jerryd Bayless for Brandon (I did it again, typed Kareem first) Rush and Jarrett Jack.  In reality, I'm just defending the clock on the wall. I refuse to make a snap judgment of failure before Rush ever laces 'em up in the L.

The Pacers have embarked on a long rebuilding effort that started with a mish mash of varied and inconsistent talent with bad contracts paralyzing any real change. With the J.O. trade the team created a little breathing room. The roster is already much more cap friendly and next summer will be even more so. That doesn't mean they will go blow the cap space on any ol' player available, but it does give the team flexibility to make more moves if an opportunity opens up.

The team is far from done. We know Tinsley won't be around and there will likely be more players moved between now and the trade deadline next February. Larry Bird, David Morway, and Jim O'Brien have a plan that includes changing the style of play, talent and financial state of the roster, and the overal culture of the organization. Now they are starting to work the plan and it won't be easy. There will be 'bloodshed' along the way, but as long as they keep working the plan I think they're headed in the right direction. Just don't expect it to be pain free.

Here's Chad Ford's analysis of the Pacers' draft.

To evaluate the Pacers, you have to take a step back a day to see how everything unfolded. They traded the chronically injured Jermaine O'Neal and a second-round pick for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston and the No. 17 pick. That means they added a starting point guard coming off a career year, significant cap space in 2009 and a prospect.

Then Indiana swapped No. 11 and Ike Diogu for No. 13 and picked up a solid backup point guard, Jarrett Jack, and a local hero, Josh McRoberts.

So in the course of two days, the Pacers rebuilt their team in a way that improves it now and in the future. The Pacers should be much more exciting to watch with a Ford/Jack/Rush/Mike Dunleavy backcourt. The additions of Hibbert and Nesterovic give them some much-needed size. And with several major expiring contracts, including Nesterovic, Marquis Daniels and Jeff Foster, they'll have some significant trading chips at the trade deadline or real cap space in the summer of 2009.

Kudos to president Larry Bird and general manager David Morway for one of the most sophisticated rebuilding efforts I've seen.

Here are a few other reviews of the trades and draft:

I'm off to the airport so I'll be checking in from Seattle with my next post. Again, thanks for the healthy debate. I love all the passion!!!