|Russ Scherwin was kind
enough to take over for the
missing Indiana Pacers GM. Thanks Russ!!!Russ selects for the pacers:
Felipe Lopez, SG, 6-6, St. Johns
I. 1998 Team review
The Pacers, are coming off their most successful season ever. Probably the deepest and most balanced team in the NBA. The Pacers with their health intact and a new found confidence instilled by Coach of the year Larry Bird, extended the Bulls to the last minute of game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With a Chicago-less league, the Pacers will be pushing for a Championship in the 1998-99 season.
Larry Bird will return to coach and no key players are expected to be lost. When the Pacer offense is moving and the defense is clicking, the Pacers are one of the top 3 teams in the NBA and a runaway favorite to represent the East in the NBA Finals (if Jordan retires and Pippen heads out west).
II. Player Analysis
The Pacers rotation at Center is superb. Rick Smits had a career year and many say that he is the most important piece of the Pacers. His 7'4 frame is a prescience in the paint and his offensive game is a great juxtaposition to Reggie Millers. Antonio Davis spells Smits and provides a tremendous shot-blocking and defensive prescience. Marc Pope and Marc West are around in case of injury.
Once again the Pacers are deep at forward. At Power Forward Dale Davis and Antonio Davis take the majority of minutes. Derrick McKey can slip over and make the offense much more versatile. At small forward Chris Mullin and Derrick McKey handle most of the minutes. Jalen Rose, who splits time at the 2 and 3 has developed into a top sixth man and in the playoffs gave a glimpse of a bright future. Larry Birds influence on Jalen Rose's mental game must not be underestimated. Jalen is developing into a point forward and Bird expects a lot out of Jalen in the coming year. Austin Croshere is around and is untested. Chris Mullin is getting older, but is still one of the smartest players and will not miss too many jumpers.
At point guard the Pacers are set. Mark Jackson is one of the last pure point guards. He runs the team and is their on-court leader. When Travis Best enters, the pacers become a proficient running team. Best is one of the best back-up point guards in the league. He single-handedly took over a playoff game in the final minutes against the Bulls. Reggie Miller is the best clutch player in the NBA once Jordan retires. No one is feared more from behind the arc when the game is on the line. Jalen Rose backs up Reggie Miller, but the Pacers lack a true back-up 2 guard.
III. My Selection
The Pacers have great chemistry. The Pacers must take someone who will be a positive in the locker-room and whose skills will mesh with the current personnel. Their only need is a pure 2-guard to back up Reggie Miller and Jalen Rose and be insurance against injury.
The Pacers select Felipe Lopez out of St. Johns University. Felipe coming out of high school was tagged the next Michael Jordan. However, the potential was never turned kinetic and Felipe is still an immensely talented athlete with many basketball skills. His problem is that he has never been taught to use his skills to become a great basketball player. He has never had a coach who taught him. His coaches have let him get by on his physical abilities alone. The shooting touch is there and is undisputed by those who have watch him. His fundamentals and form are not there. Once Felipe is taught his physical gifts coupled with his work ethic( which are both top notch) will turn him into an excellent ball-player. Felipe is the total package of skills which can not be taught and he has the desire to learn.
Mark Jackson and Chris Mullin both know Felipe's game from countless summer practice hours and have both put in their vote of confidence to the India front-office. They understand that Felipe is a top-notch talent with an equally top-notch personality and character. Felipe has never been allowed any role other than savior and in college he never had a chance to grow, mature and develop. Indiana will give him that chance and Felipe will listen, learn and pay dividends within a couple of seasons. Look for Felipe to come off the bench and give a tremendous spark of adrenaline to the team on both offense and defense.
IV. Others Considered
Shammond Williams - Shammond will emerge 5 years down the road as one of the top players in this years draft. He is one of the few who has a good chance of becoming an all-star. His game and persona is almost scarily identical to that of Joe Dumars. The Pacers pass on him because they understand that that St. Johns is a much better school than North Carolina and Felipe Lopez has the 'physical gifts' to become special.
DeMarco Johnson - Another guy who will be a late steal for someone. Completely outplayed Antawn Jamison in the NCAA tourney and almost led his 49ers to a stunning overtime victory over UNC. A legit 6'8 banger with a soft touch and the most polished set of low post moves in the draft. A hard worker and a winner, his intangibles are rated amongst the highest caliber in the draft.
Levell Sanders - Point Guard/Shooting guard out of Seton Hall. One of the nicest kids in the draft. Was the other half of the best back-court in the big-east and was the glue for 4 years on a Seton Hall team which was always in a state of flux. May not be ready for the NBA, but one day could make his mark.
Rafer Alstor - Stephon Marbury was not lying when he said the toughest point guard he's ever faced was "skip to my lou, " playground legend out of NYC. His head is on his shoulders and he is a good kid, despite some contrary reports. Has a chance to become an all-star if given the chance to mature.
|Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner|