Wednesday , Jun , 22 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Indiana Pacers 2005 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – It was tough year for the Indiana Pacers. On November
19th the Detroit Pistons and Pacers were scheduled to play a competitive game
at The Palace of Auburn Hills. However the contest turned into an out of
control melee. Indiana won 97-82, but the game had to be stopped in the final
minute because of the fracas, which started on the court and eventually
found its way into the seats and included the fans at The Palace. NBA
Commissioner David Stern showed no mercy as he suspended Indiana’s Ron Artest,
who was the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, for the remainder of the
season for his part in the brawl.

The Pacers still won 44 games and made it to the conference semifinals, where
they were eliminated in six games by Detroit. Shooting guard Reggie Miller
played his last game, as he had said during the regular season that he would
retire when Indiana’s season was over.

Combine Artest, who Indiana hopes will be cleared to play by commissioner
Stern, with All-Star Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson and the Pacers have
three top-notch players. O’Neal, who battled a shoulder injury at the end of
the regular season and into the playoffs, averaged 24.3 points and 8.8 boards
in 44 contests, while Jackson, who served a 30-game suspension for his actions
during the November 19th brawl, netted 18.7 per contest in 51 appearances.

Jamaal Tinsley and Anthony Johnson share the point guard duties and are a
solid tandem, while Fred Jones is a solid backup shooting guard.

Indiana needs help up front. It could use a big man that can rebound and
block shots. The Pacers will miss the leadership and the skills of the sharp-
shooting Miller, but Jackson should be a suitable replacement.

With the 17th overall pick in the draft, the Pacers could have their eyes on
Chris Taft of Pittsburgh, North Carolina’s Sean May and Wayne Simien of
Kansas.

Key Player(s): Ron Artest (Forward), Stephen Jackson (Guard), Anthony Johnson
(Guard), Fred Jones (Guard), Jermaine O’Neal (Forward), Jamaal Tinsley
(Guard).

Team Needs: Depth up front, a strong rebounder and a shot-blocker.

Draft picks: 1st round (17th overall), 2nd round (46th overall).

IND