Danny Granger and the Pacers are aiming for another big

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Thumbnail image for Pacers_logo.gifThe Indiana Pacers already made quite the shake-up in acquiring Darren Collison from the New Orleans Hornets last week, but neither Larry Bird nor Danny Granger seem to be ready to accept the roster as-is. From Chris Tomasson of FanHouse:

Asked by FanHouse on Friday in Springfield, Mass., where Bird was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame along with members of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, the Pacers president said the team needs to make another trade before the start of the regular season. Asked by FanHouse about Bird’s comments, Granger said management has told him to expect a move, and he figures they will look to acquire a big man.

“We’re not done yet,” Granger said after scoring 22 points for Team USA in a scrimmage Saturday against China at Madison Square Garden. “I talked to management, and we’re not done yet. What will happen, I don’t know yet. We’re still mulling over it. But we got a few things still up our sleeve.”

…”We’re going to have to go after another big, I’m sure,” said the 6-foot-8 Granger. “Losing Troy, he was great. I can play the (power forward) but I’m not a true (power forward). So we’re definitely going to have to add another big, and I think that will be our main focus.”

In response, I’d like to offer the following: No doy. Indiana may have a pretty hip, Collison-infused backcourt after last week’s trade, but the frontcourt was startlingly thin before the deal, and stands to be even worse without Troy Murphy. Right now, you’re looking at Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough, Solomon Jones, Josh McRoberts, and Magnum Rolle as the cast of bigs. Seems to fall a bit short of inspiring.

Indiana does have a number of expiring contracts and young players to bait their trade line, though, and could find some power forward help if they’re willing to part with an asset or two. Which power forwards are available is a different issue entirely, though for now Indiana doesn’t even need a highly-productive player. Instead, the Pacers should shoot for a 4 who can grow with the current core, but has shown enough promise already to warrant a trade. Good, young bigs aren’t exactly growing on trees, but Indiana will look to supplement their current core with an intriguing big man before the season begins.

Michigan’s D.J. Wilson staying in NBA draft

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Michigan bigs D.J. Wilson and Moe Wagner declared for the NBA draft in similar situations – coming off breakout seasons, particularly excelling down the stretch, and sitting on the first-round bubble for the NBA draft. Neither hired an agent, leaving their options open.

But this is where their paths diverge.

Michigan releases:

University of Michigan junior forward D.J. Wilson announced today (Wednesday, May 24) he will forgo his final two seasons of eligibility and submit the necessary paperwork to remain as an early entrant into the 2017 NBA Draft.

University of Michigan sophomore forward Moritz Wagner announced today (Wednesday, May 24) he will return to the Wolverine basketball program after removing his name from consideration for the 2017 NBA Draft.

Wilson and Wagner both said they’d stay in the draft only if they’d be first-round picks. I wonder whether Wilson got a first-round promise or is just confident enough he’ll get picked there. The latter wouldn’t be a bad bet. Even if the 22-year-old Wilson slips into the second round, this might be the peak of his draft value.

At times, it’s easy to forget Wilson is a 6-foot-11 big man. He shoots 3-pointers, dribbles and moves like a wing. He also too often shies from contact, which particularly hurts his rebounding.

But he’s a big. Those perimeter skills wouldn’t shine quite as brightly if he were matched up with opposing wings. Wilson has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, and he also protect the rim. However, his shot-blocking relies on a bounciness that’s not as effective when pressed into more physical matchups. He needs some space to launch – but when he has it, it also pays off in quality finishing at the rim.

Wilson has the tools to be a good NBA power forward, but he’s still a work in progress. In other words, he still looks like a borderline first-round pick.

Tyronn Lue imitates LeBron James’ criticism of reporter (video)

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After the Cavaliers Game 3 loss to the Celtics, LeBron James accused reporter Kenny Roda of showing up/asking questions only when Cleveland loses.

Questioned by Roda after the Cavs’ Game 4 win, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue lightheartedly lobbed the same criticism at Roda.

Coaching LeBron can be tricky. Lue must both challenge the greatest player of his generation and handle LeBron’s passive-aggressiveness. Lue can neither let LeBron walk all over him nor bark orders at him.

In this case, it seems Lue is trying to diffuse LeBron’s pettiness before it turns into something bigger. Considering how silly LeBron’s initial comments were, I bet the star is on board.

Tony Bradley becoming North Carolina’s first one-and-done in nearly a decade

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North Carolina hasn’t had a one-and-done player in eight years.

Since Brandan Wright declared for the 2008 NBA draft after his freshman year, the Tar Heels have emphasized player development over multiple years. That practice has yielded two national titles, including this year’s, in that span.

It also limited freshman center Tony Bradley’s playing time this season, as he was stuck behind seniors Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

But Bradley shined enough in 15 minutes per game to follow Wright as one-and-done from Chapel Hill.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

Bradley is a borderline first-round pick, though this late decision when many expected him to return to school indicates he believes he’ll go in the first round. There’s certainly logic in turning pro before scouts pick apart his game over a larger sample.

Bradley is huge – 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan – but he’s not explosive. The hope is someone in the Rudy Gobert mold.

Whomever drafts Bradley will hope his elite offensive rebounding is a harbinger. But why is his defensive rebounding and rim protection so forgettable?

He moves and passes fairly well for his size, but considering he’s so big, those aren’t necessarily skills for him to hang his hat on. If a teammate sets him up, he uses his size to finish well at the rim.

Beyond his size and offensive rebounding, Bradley doesn’t set himself apart one way or the other. Whether that’s good or bad depends how deep in the draft it is.

PBT Extra: What does Boston do with No. 1 pick?

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Option A: Keep the pick, draft Markelle Fultz No. 1, go hard at Gordon Hayward this summer in free agency and if you strike out with him go hard at other guys, maybe in the 2018 class.

Option B: Trade the No. 1 pick for a package that includes Jimmy Butler (or, less likely, Paul George) and put together a roster to make a hard run at the Cavaliers next year.

Those aren’t the only two options on the table, but they represent the two paths the Boston Celtics can go down this off-season after landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. I delve into it more in this PBT Extra.

Expect them to go with option A — the chance to draft a potentially elite player, and have him under contract for years on an affordable rookie deal, is too smart a long-term move to pass up.