Sean Deveney of The Sporting News joined Rich Keefe to discuss all things NBA playoffs and the quality of the upcoming NBA Draft class.
The first topic was the mess that is the Indiana Pacers right now. Believed to be a real contender, the Pacers are now struggling to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
“It is really hard to explain because this is a team that was 46-13 at the end of March, finished up 10-13 and now in the playoffs you thought maybe they could get it together, maybe playing Atlanta — a 38-win team — was going to be just the right medicine for them,” Deveney said. “That hasn’t worked. Credit Atlanta, they’ve played pretty well, but mostly this has been about some of the problems that have developed over time with that Pacers locker room. It seems to have boiled over into how they’re playing on the court. That’s been the real problem.”
As to where those problems stem from, Deveney said the coach may be the reason.
“I think a lot of it goes to Frank Vogel. I don’t think that he’s the kind of guy that can walk into a locker room and really command respect. I think when things are going well, he’s a rah-rah guy, and that’s great. But I think as soon as things started to go sour, it became obvious that they needed a stronger voice on that coaching staff than the one that Vogel has.”
In more Celtics-centric issues, Deveney talked about the upcoming draft class. It was initially believed to be one of the better draft classes of all time, but the perception has since changed.
“I’m still pretty high on it. I think a lot of times what happens is once you see the guys play, you start picking apart their game a little bit,” Deveney said. “Especially if you want to compare it to last year which was an awful draft, this is going to be one of the better drafts of the last 10 years. It’s not going to be up there with the LeBron draft, I don’t think. That’s going to go down as one of the best draft of all time. But certainly in the last 10 years you have to put it up there with what we’ve seen.”