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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