Happy birthday Kevin Pritchard: his five best moves with the Pacers

Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers
Kevin Pritchard Indiana Pacers (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard turns 52 on Thursday. While we hope he gets all the gifts he wants on the cherished day, here are the best gifts he’s given the Pacers since taking over as President.

Ah, Kevin Pritchard. You know him, you love him, and after this Indiana Pacers offseason, you should recognize him as one of the best executives in the NBA. His front office wizardry has guided Indiana into a promising new era since the departure of Paul George, and he’s done it all without the allure of a coastal destination, where nearly every top free agent signed this summer.

Since it’s his birthday, I won’t skimp on his curriculum vitae — he has an NCAA championship, a six-year NBA career and a pretty darn good tenure as GM of the Portland Trailblazers under his belt.

The latter part of that list includes the birth of the Pritch Slap, which stemmed from his 2006 draft where he finessed LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy in one night. He picked Greg Oden at No. 1 a year later and secured what should’ve been a dynasty in Portland. Of course, a string of unprecedented injuries said otherwise, so his time in the Pacific Northwest ended in 2010.

Which couldn’t have been better news for his home state of Indiana.

He joined the Pacers organization in 2011 as the Director of Player Personnel, was promoted to GM a year later and finally became the bossman in 2017, when Larry Bird’s retirement led way to him taking over as President of Basketball Operations.

Of course, the years have been a bit cruel:

All jokes aside, Pritchard is now a healthy 52 and should lead the Pacers to prosperity for years to come. Let’s hope he gets all of the birthday wishes he asks for, but after the pickups he was able to secure for Indiana in the past month, he’s probably already due for a pretty happy day.

Rather, let’s put things in reverse and talk about the best gifts that he’s given the Pacers since taking the reigns two years ago. There are plenty to count, but to make things nice and neat, here are Kevin Pritchard’s five best moves as President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers.