The 12th (and next to last lottery pick) belongs to the Indiana Pacers (who I bet did not expect to be here). They are represented by:
Kyle Jones

Austin Croshere


PG: M. Jackson, Best, Workman (97 IR)
SG: R. Miller, Hoiberg, J. Rose
SF: D. McKey (97 IR), Ferrell, J. Rose, Ham
PF: D. Davis, A. Davis, Dampier, Br. Scott
C: Smits, Dampier, Br. Scott, L. Thompson

Ham, Hoiberg, Br. Scott, and Thompson

	PG position is stable for now, with veteran leadership from 
Assist Leader Mark Jackson.  Jackson's numbers went down a bit after 
being acquired though that was expected.  Travis Best showed great 
improvement from the '95-'96 season, however Larry Brown grew weary 
of his turnover problems.  Defensively, he was quick and effective 
out on the perimeter, but tended to be a sore down on the post.  
Still, Best appears to be a solid backup and occassional starter 
for the next couple of years.  Jalen Rose saw little time at this 
position, but new coach Larry Bird may find a different role for 
him in '97-'98.  Haywoode Workman will come back from a knee injury.  
His energy spark was missed last year off the bench.

	SG is still solid.  Reggie Miller is an on again/off again 
All-Star who had one of his best seasons last year without much 
notice.  At the age of 31, Miller nearing a time when that jumper 
will be needed even more to be competitive.  Fred Hoiberg showed 
nice improvement late in the year, including a few 20+ point 
efforts.  Suprisingly, he has a nack for a quick drive to pull 
up from 12-15 feet.  Outside, he showed more confidence and will 
to shoot towards April.  With more improvement, he could be a 
spark for 7-8 points off the bench.  Again, Bird has spoke of 
interest in making Hoiberg's role more prominent, making his 
resigning imminent.  You see Fred step up this year into the role 
of a Byron Scott or Ricky Pierce that was sorely missed last 

	SF is the problem position for the Pacers currently.  
After 2 straight years of reaching the conference finals, 
backed by consistent defense, ball handling, and occassional 
scoring from Derrick McKey, the Pacers have fallen on hard 
times the past 2 seasons at the position.  McKey was injured 
much of last year, and upon returning unfortunately, was injured 
again.  The Pacers are optimistic that he can be back a month 
into the '97-'98 season, but he could be in the situation Smits 
was in last year, missing games until the New Year.  Though 
talented, McKey's scoring production has steadily declined 
since arriving in exchange for Detlef Schrempf.  With scoring 
being one of the Pacers' deficiencies, his inability to find 
his offensive game could force Coach Bird (still sounds wierd) 
to move him to the sixth man position.  Duane Ferrell played 
ball reminiscent of his best years in Atlanta in the beginning 
of last season, but fell off as the year went on.  At best, 
he's a capable backup for a team that hopes to contend again.  
Jalen Rose saw action as Ferrell's backup for a good part of 
last year.  He brings more versatility to the position, and is 
the only threat on the roster to take it to the hole.  His 
unorthodox jump shot found it way into the basket at times 
last year, but continues to plague Rose's quest to get more 
playing time.  Rose should be happy with the coaching change 
though.  Bird has been quoted as stating his love for Jalen's 
game and interest in playing him at PG, SG, and SF.  Rose 
likely will find more than 20 minutes per game across the 
board, putting a more athletic team on the court.

	Just another day at the office for the power forwards.  
Dale Davis continued steady production as a starter, but has 
not shown great improvement over the past few years.  For most 
of the year, Dale's free throw percentage lingered around 45% 
and he remained a non-factor outside of 8 feet.  Defensively 
and on the boards, he continues to be one of the better 
starters in the Eastern Conference, but in order to help the 
team improve, he will need to find a way to get his points 
production up to 12 points a game, give or take.  Antonio Davis 
looms as the first or second player off the bench, in the '97 
rotation.  With a better offensive game than Dale, he's a 
perfect compliment at the position, whether starting or playing 
in a reserve role.  Should Dale be used as trade bait for a 
small forward in the off-season, look for Antonio to become the 
starter and the Pacers to draft a reserve.  Erick Dampier saw 
limited action at this position, but is a capable rebounder 
when on the floor with Smits.  Brent Scott is not likely to 
be resigned.  Darvin Ham is an unrestricted free agent, though 
at seasons' end the Pacers were trying to exercise a clause 
because he didn't suit up with them at all.

	The center position, though maintained by a formidable 
combo, has been a problem the past year for the Pacers.  Rik 
Smits, when healthy, is one of the top ten centers in the 
league.  Possessing unique finesse for a 7'4" player, he brings 
outside touch and moves around the basket.  Defensively, Smits 
has only been average throughout his career, rarely blocking 
shots and only a mild factor on the boards.  At the same time, 
he has a way of taking over games on occassion, able to strike 
30 points or more quite a few times when not bothered by his 
oft injured feet.  Erick Dampier made steady progress throughout 
last season.  Offensively, Dampier is very, very raw.  He 
doesn't have any bread-and-butter moves, and often looks 
extremely akward around the basket.  Defensively, he was 
probably as fine as any young big man year.  Dampier could 
become one of the best shot blockers in the game.  In one 
game last season against either Miami or Orlando (can't 
remember), Erick blocked 4 or 5 shots in one period.  
With his long wingspan and quickness for a big man, Dampier 
should be a cornerstone for the future, but should not be 
looked at as a player that will put in 15-20 points per game.  
Look for Dampier to find a niche in his career of scoring 
10-12 points per game off dunks and layups, blocking shots, 
and rebounding anything the Davis' boys forget to grab 
should Smits move on in 2 or 3 years.  LaSalle Thompson is 
insurance in the form of a veteran big man.  Antonio Davis 
fills in on occassion.

	Injuries and decline in McKey's production leave the 
SF position in serious limbo.  The problem is the Pacers
need offense desperately.  Aside from Larry Bird putting the 
suit and tie down, it's probably safe to say this draft won't 
give them an instant fix.  The best scenario would be for 
Tracy McGrady or Tim Thomas, versatile forwards, to slip to 
number 12 or move up positions, which is unlikely to happen.  
Position #12 happens to be where the a weak draft gets even 
more uncertain.  Talented players like Danny Fortson, Cory 
Carr, Derek Anderson, God Shammgod, and Jacque Vaughn will 
all likely be available, however those picks wouldn't really 
satisfy a need with the present roster.  That leaves the Pacers 
with their choice of Charles O'Bannon and Austin Croshere, who 
have already been in for workouts, or possibly Danny Fortson 
if a rumoured trade goes through.  O'Bannon is probably a long 
shot, since he may be stuck between positions and not really a 
small forward.  He may be a better backup at SG than Hoiberg, 
if drafted, but I don't see this happening.  Croshere seems to 
be the odds on pick.  With a quick and effective outside shot 
and some intagibles of the game, he could be a valuable small 
forward.  His game could be compared to Tracey Murray or on 
the high end, Chris Mullin.  At the same time, it is unlikely he 
could provide immediate impact in a run towards division and 
conference contention.  In a weak draft, the #12 position 
probably will come down to selecting an effective backup.  
Croshere could fill that area but battle for time with Ferrell 
and Rose.  Does this bring up the question of looking overseas 
for talent?  Slovenian Marko Milac is a very young option, with 
a slightly different game.  Not really the outside threat that 
Croshere is, Milac is more athletic and quick, with a game of 
pick-and-choose pull up shots and drives.  For a long-term risk, 
Bird may choose this young kid early and hope that another SF 
is added or McKey can supply added punch with a return to the 
lineup.  Improvement in the Chicago camp could put Oliver 
St. Jean as a long shot, but he may be too small for the position.

	According to Sports Illustrated, Chris Mullin has interest
in joining the Pacers ballclub, most likely at the expense of Dale
or Antonio Davis.  Erick Dampier provided instant defense and 
shotblocking off the bench last year at center and power forward, 
so one of the Davis' is reluctantly available.  There have also 
been minor rumours that Dale and Dampier had been shopped for 
Glenn Robinson, though likely there would be cap difficulty there.  
Should the Pacers vie for this quick fix, maybe Danny Fortson, Kebu 
Stewart, Gordan Malone, or another PF could sneak in with the pick, 
though comparisons to Corliss Williamson seem to plague his 
pre-draft months.

Appended (June 11):  Bird has been quoted in the Indianapolis 
Star saying that the Pacers are in trade discussions with 5 
other teams regarding "a scorer that can get up and down the 
floor, and defend."  Likely, this means that one of the Davis', 
and perhaps another player, along with Pick 12 will be shipped 
off for what likely is a small forward.  As noted, the Pacers 
front office has had flirtation with acquiring Glenn Robinson 
from Milwaukee in exchange for what was rumoured to be Erick 
Dampier and Dale Davis.  Bird also noted that three of the 5 
players were "real good ones" and that he'd be happy with the 
other two.  Possibilities?  Probably Glenn Robinson, Clifford 
Robinson, Cedric Ceballos, Jerry Stackhouse, or Chris Mullin 
fit the tag to some extent though some are aging or can't 
defend as well as I'd hope.  Another possibility could be 
Dominique Wilkins, if signed to a one or two year deal to score 
some points off the bench.  Could the Pacers possibly acquire 
one of these guys?  Remains to be seen with salary cap and other 
issues.  Should Philly draft Mercer, they could possibly be 
thinking deal with Indiana for a Davis and Dampier (or #12) 
assumming Brown is comfortable with that in Philly.  Clifford 
Robinson has been rumoured to be an interest of the front office 
for some time.  Portland would probably need a Davis and/or 
backup PG (Best? & something).  Mullin?  Golden State would 
probably want Rose or #12.  Ceballos?  If Phoenix is unhappy 
with him, possibly Dampier w/ a Davis.  Then again, could Bird 
be thinking to ship Smits and his injury problems... unlikely 
at best.  These seem to be long shots now, but Bird may be able 
to pull it off.  It appears now that this pick will almost 
certainly be dealt if no one falls through.
	Need Health!  The Pacers fell victim to key injuries to 
Rick Smits and Derrick McKey for much of last year.  Smits, when 
healthy, is one of the top 10 centers in the NBA.  McKey, who's 
best days seem behind him, is likely to be a non-factor for next 

	More Shooting!  Reggie Miller had his most complete 
individual season since his first all-star season during the early 
90's, alas he and the Pacers were no where to be found in May and 
June.  Scoring was up some, but rebounding and passing saw 
improvement.  On the flipside, Miller was the only real threat 
from the outside that saw serious minutes.  Travis Best, who saw 
growing pains during his starting role months, is a nice sparkplug 
off the bench and adequate shooter.  Fred Hoiberg, coming on strong 
towards the end of the season (note: 24+ pts @ Charlotte) could be
the fill-in to the void left by the departures of Byron Scott and,
eventually, Ricky Pierce.  Ironically, shootings with the quick fix 
was a trait of Eddie Johnson, the 38 year old gunner they let go in 
the Mark Jackson reacquiring in the 2nd half of the season.

Either deal the pick in a package or draft Croshere, who will probably 
be the best SF available.

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