Ranking the Last 10 Pacer Drafts

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#10. 2006 NBA Draft

  • Selected Shawne Williams (#17)
  • Acquired James White (#31) for Alexander Johnson (#45) and two future second-round picks

You can´t blow a lottery pick. That`s a golden rule when running a franchise well.

The 17th pick is just outside the lottery, so there is reason to be more forgiving here. But Shawne Williams not only turned out to be a useless player, he also harmed the team`s reputation off the court.

The marquee incident came before the Memphis product`s  second season with the team, when he was arrested on a late September night while driving. There was weed and a gun in the car, not to mention the fact that Williams didn´t have a license.

He would subsequently miss a court date related to the charges — something that prompted Larry Bird to say he would personally escort the young man to the next one if that`s what it took.

There was another, stranger headline-making incident later that season when a man was reportedly arrested for murder while at Williams`house. The arrest happened during a game, so Shawne was in no way implicated, but it nevertheless brought more stigma to a kid who seemed to have trouble choosing the people he spent time with.

This came during the post-Brawl era when Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels, and David Harrison had all put the Pacers` name in the paper with a seemingly never-ending stretch of off-court incidents.

The Pacers really could have used an on-court contributor in the 2006 Draft. What they really didn`t need was more controversy.

With Williams, they got the worst of both worlds.

Then there is the James ¨Flight¨ White fascination. Bird moved up 14 spots in the second-round to get the dunk-contest champ, who never proved he could play basketball.

They gave up two future picks (albeit only second rounders) to move up. Then they signed him to a two-year guaranteed deal — which is incredibly rare for a second-round pick (though a strategy that would prove smart when Bird did it again with Lance Stephenson years later).

And then they cut him before the season even started.

I mean, there is misjudging talent. And then there is just this, throwing away money and future picks all for the right to waive a guy less than five months later. Yikes.

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Tags: Indiana Pacers

  • llcoolray3000

    Nice. In regards to Green and Plumlee, how much of their improvement/development is attributable to more playing time and Phoenix’s scheme? The same could go for Leonard. How he fits in with the Spurs and the benefit of an elite coach can’t be overlooked.

  • Anonymous

    Remember when we first made the playoffs again and played the Bulls? Tyler Hansborough played great in that series, constantly knocking own mid-range jumpers, until he got hurt. He also had a great post turnaround jumper in college, but somehow he forgot how to shoot after that Bulls series. If he could have kept that up I think he would have been a really good player for us