INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers picked Duke power forward Miles Plumlee with the 26th pick in Thursdays NBA draft, adding another tough player to their rugged young roster.
Plumlee, a 6-foot-10 native of Warsaw, is known for his athletic ability and rebounding prowess, but is considered a raw offensive player. He averaged 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game as a senior. He shot 61 percent from the field but played only 20.5 minutes per game and started just 16 of 34 contests his final year.
Its been a whirlwind week for the Pacers.
General manager David Morway stepped down on Tuesday. The next day, team president Larry Bird announced that would be leaving at the end of August because of health reasons. Donnie Walsh, the former team president, returned to that role, and Kevin Pritchard stepped in as general manager.
Bird said he may need shoulder surgery and cited long-standing issues with his back. He said he plans to take a year off before deciding if he should return to basketball.
He will leave the Pacers in good shape. Indiana beat Orlando easily in the first round of this years playoffs before falling to eventual champion Miami.
Bird has said the Pacers need a superstar, a big-time scorer the team can depend on every night, even with Danny Granger on the roster. While he likes his team of solid players, he covets a player who can attack the basket.
Pritchard said Wednesday that the Pacers want to re-sign free agents Roy Hibbert and George Hill. That will likely take most of the teams salary-cap space.
If Birds recent draft-night moves are an indicator, picking Plumlee will be successful, too.
In 2008, the Pacers acquired Toronto draft pick Hibbert, and the 7-foot-2 center was a first-time All-Star this past season. In 2009, Indiana drafted Tyler Hansbrough, who has become a key part of the second unit. In 2010, the team picked up Fresno States Paul George on draft night. George participated in this years rising stars challenge and slam dunk contest, and he got votes for the NBA all-defensive team.
In 2011, the team traded its draft pick for Hill, an Indianapolis native. He was the starting point guard by seasons end.