Even though the Pacers are one game away from possibly making the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000, it is time to start peeking ahead to the draft. The 2013 draft class is nothing close to being an all-time great one, but it has the capability of finding a team like Indiana a key contributor off the bench.
Having a matchup of Gobert versus the possibility of trading up is a good one. Trading Granger for a lottery pick might be tough for Pacers fans to swallow, but getting a younger impact player would help the Pacers off the bench.
Without further ado, here is the tale of the tape for Gobert versus trading Granger:
Rudy Gobert is one of the biggest can't-miss prospects from Europe in a long time. His height at 7'2" and add that in with a 9'7" standing reach make him a very intriguing player on many teams draft boards, including the Pacers. Gobert averaged 8.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in only 21 minutes for Cholet last season.
Here is a great 15 plus minute video breakdown of Gobert below from Draft Express. It goes over all of his strengths, weaknesses, and potential in the NBA.
If Gobert is available at 23, Kevin Pritchard and Donnie Walsh should be doing back flips. He would be the best player available on the board, so he fits the BPA model. Even though Indiana has Ian Mahinmi and Miles Plumlee behind Hibbert, Gobert would eventually supplant both.
Leaving Gobert overseas for a year or two would be the smart, long-term move with Mahinmi on the roster. Having him stay in Europe to upgrade his overall skill would be the right thing to do anyways. His exceptional frame will be an asset that the Pacers will be salivating over once the big man log jam on the roster unclogs down the road.
Now we get to a topic that people are either totally for it, or totally against it. That is trading Danny Granger this off-season. In this scenario, Indiana is trading Granger to get into the lottery of the draft. Looking at it, this is not a bad idea.
The birth of a star in Paul George and a faster development then anybody ever thought from Lance Stephenson make Granger a likely sixth man next season. If Danny refuses to play off the bench next season, then trading him is the only option. Getting a younger scorer off the bench, like Shabazz Muhammad or C.J. McCollum makes a ton more sense then keeping Granger's hefty salary of $14,021,788.
Indiana has their young core set with George, Stephenson, Hill, and Hibbert. Getting back David West in the off-season rounds out their starting lineup. Granger does not fit into the starting lineup of this team anymore. For his health, coming off the bench would keep him more effective.
Pushing Granger out the door could seem harsh, but shedding salary next season will be crucial to keeping this current core together. George will be up for likely a max-contract extension and if Stephenson continues to develop next season, he will also be in line for an extension.
Money-wise, it does not make sense to keep Danny around long-term. Also, I imagine teams will be more hesitant to deal away a 2014 pick due to it being the most top-heavy draft since 2003. Getting an immediate asset at a cheaper contract makes sense.
Danny is the captain of this team, but the sad truth is that he does not fit into the starting lineup anymore. It is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. If for some reason he refuses to play off the bench, the Pacers will have to move them. I am in the camp where you continue to keep this starting lineup together next season. It has gotten them one game away from an NBA Finals berth.
If Granger is fine with being the Pacers sixth man next season, then you keep him on the roster. I believe this draft class can give you legitimate scoring power off the bench. If they could move into the lottery portion of the draft and get a scoring punch from Muhammad, McCollum, or somebody else it makes sense to move Granger in that sense.
This topic is controversial for Pacers fans. Either you are 100% with keeping Granger, or 100% with trading him away. I would love to see Danny stay around and play in a reduced role off the bench next season, but trading him for a younger piece to me would be something I bite on if I am in the Pacers front office.
After all of the analysis, who do you want to move on to the second round? Will it be Rudy Gobert or trading away Danny Granger to get into the lottery of this draft?