My how things have changed around the Fieldhouse for the Indiana Pacers. As recently as last year's NBA draft, the Pacers were looking to bolster their young core of talent which continued to grow and show great promise in the playoffs.
This year, the future is now. Ready or not, with Paul George and Lance Stephenson remaining on valuable rookie contracts, the Pacers should be able to bring back one of the league's most efficient starting units to take another swing at the Miami Heat.
As the Pacers have seen the past two seasons, in the playoffs they don't have to play the Heat on paper, so what shape the key Miami players are in late in the playoffs can open up an opportunity for the Pacers to bust through to the Finals.
But the Pacers need more help, particularly with a better supporting cast. That's a lot to ask from the No. 23 pick in Thursday's draft which is why dealing the pick for a more mature player certainly makes sense. If not, a player with more college experience and at least a solid skill to lean on may be the next best thing. Regardless, if the Pacers keep the pick the player chosen most likely won't impact the Pacers end result next season.
Nope, that type of impact will have to be worked out after July 1 when Larry Bird works to lock up David West and then try to convince a player or two to take less money to join a winning environment with a shot at a title.
But first, the Pacers will have a press conference to announce Bird's return at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Check out the links:
Larry Bird returns to Indiana Pacers after year off - Kravitz
Bird Returns as President of Basketball Operations | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
Larry Bird returning as Pacers president - Yahoo! Sports
Drafting 23rd, Pacers Have a Variety of Options | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
Bird’s back, but did he ever really leave? - 1070 The Fan
Larry Bird returning to Pacers front office - AP
It's mockable, for sure, but here's my guess at the 2013 Draft | NBA.com
Carl Landry opts out of contract with Golden State Warriors - ESPN
Draft buzz: Rockets shopping Robinson - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
The 2013 NBA free-agency primer - Grantland
Shaw eager to lead young Nuggets -AP
Pacers begin search for new assistant coach - AP
Pritchard, Pacers heading for active NBA Draft night - 1070 The Fan
Is Victor Oladipo an NBA superstar or safety net? | 2013-06-25 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com
2013 NBA Mock Draft: 5 scenarios for the top 5 picks - SBNation.com
While trade rumors swirl, Pacers offer few clues ahead of NBA draft | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com