The Indiana Pacers were one of the more interesting teams last night during the draft. They puzzled some fans by taking Miles Plumlee over Perry Jones III, Arnett Moultrie, Festus Ezeli, and Draymond Green to name a few. It was certainly a head scratcher to some, but Plumlee fills a need by taking a center to backup Roy Hibbert. Then, the Pacers traded up to the 36th pick for cash to select Orlando Johnson, a scoring guard who could really come in and be a spark plug for the second unit.
Some websites are giving Indiana one of the worst drafts from last night. Check out after the jump if I agree with most, or I'm on the other side of the fence.
Let's start off with the first round pick in Plumlee. He averaged seven points, seven rebounds, and one block per game off the bench for Duke last season. Plumlee never became a factor in Duke's perimeter-oriented offense as he only took four shots per game. He can jump out of the gym with his 40.5 inch vertical leap, which is crazy for a kid his size and tied for the second best vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine.
In this system in Indiana, Plumlee could come in and take Lou Amundson's spot and thrive. His athleticism and leaping ability could make him look like a carbon copy of Amundson, but just a little bit taller. If Plumlee can learn this system, he could be a great backup big man for the Pacers. It's not a sexy pick, but Plumlee could come in give the Pacers more size down low.
It turns out, Minnesota was going to trade up with Miami at pick 27 and take Plumlee. That means he would've gone in the first round anyways, so Indiana had ot take Plumlee at 26 in order to get the player they were targeting.
Plumlee does have some negatives to his game though. Some say he's just a workout warrior as he impressed many teams in the predraft workouts. From what I've heard, Miles does great in practice but when the bright lights shine in games his game dims down. Miles has a very raw offensive game which was inconsistent throughout his career at Duke, so at this point you can just expect him to be a finisher with alley-oops and dunks.
Here are two videos below of Plumlee showing off his game preparing for the NBA Draft in a workout and a highlight mix from Duke this past year:
Overview: If Plumlee can come and just give the Pacers some dirty work like Jeff Foster did, I'm fine with the pick. Honestly, I would've taken Perry Jones III at 26, but maybe they have concerns about him being the next Jonathan Bender with his knee issue. Plumlee could do well in this system by showing off his athleticism by pushing the tempo. I could see him being a mix of Jeff Foster and Lou Amundson for this team. Let's just hope that this pick doesn't come back to bite us down the road.
Now, we get to the Pacers' second round pick in Orlando Johnson. The Pacers traded all the way up to 36 by just sending cash to Sacramento to acquire his rights. Johnson looks like a steal at this point. Indiana has been trying to find a player who can create his shot and they might've just found him in Johnson.
He averaged 20 points per game at UCSB last season. Orlando is a physical freak with a 6-11 wingspan as a guard. He also is the prototypical height for a guard at 6-5. Orlando has a very solid all-around game and is very strong. He has a body that will punish other shooting guards if he takes it to the rim. Johnson has a great basketball IQ as he is a senior and has gone through hard time throughout his life. With that story, it's hard not to root for him. Orlando is a great spot-up shooter or he can drive it to the rack as mentioned.
If you're going to play against Johnson, be prepared to bring a hard hat and lunch pale kind of mentality. This kid won't back down from anything. He looks like a player who could come in and give the Pacers instant offense off the bench. This likely means that the blue and gold has found a younger and cheaper replacement for Leandro Barbosa since he has a similar game. I personally like this pick over the Plumlee one.
Johnson does have some negatives. With a scorer's mentality, shot selection can be an issue at times. Well, who could blame him at UCSB? He was the only true great player for them. Improving in that area could make him a true steal of this draft. Johnson also needs to add some dedication to defense to his style of play and he could be a great player for the Pacers down the road.
Check out below some highlights of Orlando Johnson at UCSB:
Overview: I love the trade up for Johnson. He could be an instant scorer off the bench that the Pacers really haven't had in a while. He's a great fit to play right alongside Darren Collison or Lance Stephenson to perfection. If he could come in and just bring a spark of offense, I would be very happy.
Overall Draft Overview: The selection of Miles Plumlee at 26 shocked a lot people. Even I was kind of confused why they would't take the chance on Perry Jones III. After sleeping on it, I think Miles will come in and give the Pacers the same kind of impact Lou Amundson did as a younger, cheaper option. Plumlee will provide the dirty work down low alongside Tyler Hansbrough in the second unit. If Jeff Foster was in favor of taking Miles, then I'm excited to see how he fares in the summer league. If he can hold his own and show some flashes of offensive potential, I will gladly take Plumlee.
At pick 36, getting Orlando Johnson was a bargain. We just send cash to the Kings and get a player back who could come in and score for the Pacers and help replace Leandro Barbosa. Johnson looks like a pure scorer on the next level and should thrive in Indiana. Don't be surprised at all if Johnson turns heads down in Orlando for the summer league and at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
I believe taking a better player with more potential like Perry Jones III or Arnett Moultrie would've been the better choice over Miles Plumlee, but if he can come in and do the dirty work that's fine. I gave the Plumlee pick a D.
Trading up and grabbing Orlando Johnson at pick 36 saved this draft. His shooting ability and hard-nosed style will help this team out immediately. Expect Orlando Johnson to be one of the steals of this draft. Pacers fans, you will love this kid as a member of the Indiana Pacers. I gave the Johnson pick a A-
Overall Draft Grade: C
What did you think about the Pacers draft last? Do you think taking Miles Plumlee at 26 was a bad pick? What do you think about Orlando Johnson? Express your opinion about both by commenting. This surely was a draft to remember Pacers fans.