Living in Indiana, basketball is at the same level as a religion.  It is like breathing in oxygen. It is always present even when it isn’t.  Growing up here my first love wasn’t the Hoosiers it was the Pacers. The world had Michael Jordan, we had Reggie Miller.  He had a slim build like I did and became infatuated with Reggie, his antics and the Pacers.  Reggie played for the Pacers for 18 years.  The Pacers had a good run in the mid-90s culminating in losing to the beginning of the Shaq-Kobe Dynasty.  They did a rebuild after that and probably would have won a title if it wasn’t ruined by the Malice at the Palace.

After this debacle, Larry Bird traded for a bunch of white guys and the Pacers were still competing for the last 2 spots in the playoffs.  No matter what happened they were going to win 35 games and be out of the lottery.  Eventually, the Pacers got lucky with Danny Granger and had one lottery pick in Paul George(pick 10, a crapshoot). We will call this championship caliber team #3. They got ran over by the LeBron’s Heat. The year the Pacers pulled Hibbert in game 1 says it all. They were inches away.  That team has slowly crumbled away and our star player, Oladipo, is recovering from a serious injury. The Pacers are forever locked into the 4/5 spot for the next for years.  They pick 18th this season and have $42 million under the cap.  Instead of drafting Bol Bol, signing Ricky Rubio and Harrison Barnes to max contracts and overachieving to get the 3 seed and lose in the Eastern Conference Finals I have an alternative plan: Tank with Grace.

Kyle Guy is projected to go in the mid 40’s in this years draft.  He is from Indianapolis, has a national title, has some athleticism and is 6’2″. the problem is drafting him at pick 18 would be a reach and he will probably be gone by pick 50.  My suggestion is to find a team to trade the 18th pick of this draft to a team that really wants Bol Bol for a future first round pick and two 2nd round picks in this year’s draft.  The Hawks have 3 2nd round picks and might be interested in Tyler Herro or taking a chance on Bol Bol.  With 3 second round picks it allows the Pacers to get weird with it. The Pacers would have the 41st, 44th and 50th pick. So let’s get weird with it.  Hopefully, Carsen Edwards falls to pick 41 and the Pacers nab a former Purdue Alum. then the Pacers will draft Kyle Guy at 44. Then might as well get weird and draft the strangest player in this draft, 7’6″ Tacko Fall. If he works himself into a start it’s a huge win. If not, you have a special attraction to draw interest.

So there is the draft.  I think this would be a really popular move if they could land those 3 guys. Next bring back Bogdonavic and Thad Young and with the remaining 19 mil sign Seth Curry and George Hill.  Potentially having 2 first round picks in next years draft or the year after that. You would have an entertaining product on the floor with a heavy influence from players from Indiana or played at IU.

This new-look Pacers would take a lot of three’s and play somewhat uptempo.  If they have good chemistry they would still be a 4th or 5th place team without any hope of winning the east.  If it doesn’t work out and they miss the playoffs they could land 2 lottery picks in the same draft and with the new structure of the lottery they would have a better shot at getting a top 5 pick and getting a bonafide star to carry the Pacers into their next championship run era. Next years top picks would be LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, or Cole Anthony.  Potentially the Pacers would also have a chance at DeMar Derozan or Gordon Hayward if the Pacers signed some of those free agents to 1-year deals. Hayward would be a dream if the Pacers were able to land one of those 2020 top prospects. With this fantasy of a plan, the Pacers would be championship contenders once again and would be a fun team to watch otherwise.

If the Pacers aren’t able to land a top free agent in 2020, then at least they would be fun to watch with players from Indiana and the chance at landing young talent develop into bonafide top stars of the NBA.  It would definitely be a change of pace and not the mediocre 4th or 5th place team in the east that has no real intrigue.  So when tuning into the NBA Draft Thursday Night, let Kyle Guy and Tacko set the pace, Go Pacers!

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