As of right now, nothing has happened.
As of right now, anything can happen.
Thursday night is the NBA version of Christmas. It seems to me that NBA fans invest more hope into this one day than any other each year. Pacer fans are no different, though their hopes might be more fervent than most for this particular draft.
There are so many holes to fill on a team that has missed the playoffs for the last four seasons. The most glaring is at point guard, a position currently manned by A.J. Price, who just blew out his knee, and T.J. Ford, whose career arc in Indiana is threatening to follow Jamaal Tinsley’s.
In addition to that, they could use an athletic big man capable of protecting the rim and playing both beside and in place of center Roy Hibbert. They could stand someone to provide some scoring punch off the bench and more defensive talent at pretty much every position.
Santa Larry Joe has three draft picks (#10, #40, & #57), some expiring contracts, and some middling young prospects that he can use as bargaining chips to try to fulfill this “Christmas List.” I hate to be Scrooge, but there will be plenty of unfulfilled wishes for Pacer fans tomorrow.
But, hey, that’s OK. As a child, I got used to the fact that my Christmas list and actual Christmas presents were rarely in sync. After giving my list of wishes and wants, I was always asked, “What about surprises? Don’t you love to get surprises?”
Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t have good Christmases as a child. In fact, I had great Christmases. You should all be jealous. Surprises can be pretty damn cool.
Therefore, while I’m sure that the Pacers will leave Thursday with almost as many holes as they have today, I’m still looking forward to the surprises like a kid at Christmas. True, some of them might be, ummmm, disappointing – I’m lookin’ at you, Chia Pet – but some might be even better than anything we are dreaming of tonight.
However, there is one thing that I need to find under the tree today, Santa Bird, and it’s not negotiable.
I’ve understood all along that the “Three Year Plan” was really just one part plan and five parts waiting for the ugly contracts to expire. It’s been perfectly clear to me why the last two years have been spent treading water. Given the payroll and the roster, any expectations beyond just getting by game-to-game were probably too high.
But…no more. It’s time. I need to see moves that hang together. The actions taken on June 24th need to at least appear to be a part of a larger plan.
They don’t need to be perfect. They don’t need to be huge. They just need to make sense.
What does that mean? It’s hard to explain, but to paraphrase Potter Stewart, we’ll know it when we see it.
Just as we’ll recognize coal – if that’s what the day brings.
No, I won’t sit on your knee.