Pro basketball | NBA Draft

Pacers look at draft with Bird a lame duck

2012-06-27T21:00:00Z 2012-06-28T01:52:05Z Pacers look at draft with Bird a lame duckThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 27, 2012 9:00 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | The final pre-draft workout had an odd feel Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers.

Larry Bird, the outgoing president of basketball operations, sat next to new general manager Kevin Pritchard with incoming President Donnie Walsh one seat away. Indianapolis native Marquis Teague (Kentucky) and Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette) were the two featured players at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers have the No. 26 pick in the first round Thursday night. Bird announced Wednesday that he is leaving later this summer, but he will run the draft. His contract runs through Aug. 30.

"Oh, I'm doing the draft," Bird said . "I love the draft and I can't wait for tomorrow."

Teague played a single year with the national champion Kentucky after graduating from Pike High School in Indianapolis. He was widely considered the top point guard in the country as a high school senior and spent the offseason working on his outside shot and strength. Teague started all 40 games in Lexington, averaged 10.0 points, 4.8 assists and shot 41.2 percent from the field. He expects to be selected anywhere from No. 15 to No. 26.

"This is exciting for me, being around friends and family, getting to work out for the Pacers," Teague said. "Just fun for me to be here. Get to experience this with my city."

Kentucky coach John Calipari has had a string of recent success producing NBA point guards. Derrick Rose (Chicago), the 2010-11 NBA MVP, and John Wall (Washington) were both No. 1 picks. Tyreke Evans (Sacramento), the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, and Brandon Knight (Detroit) were both lottery picks. Of course, another Kentucky player, big man Anthony Davis, is expected to be the top pick Thursday.

"Just being a leader on the floor," said Teague about his year at Kentucky. "Communicating. Just learning how to play the game of basketball from a point guard standpoint all the way through. I just had to learn all over again this year, pretty much. I'm just trying to bring that to the next level."

Johnson-Odom averaged a team-high 18.3 points for Marquette and shot 44.7 percent from the field. He played three years for the Golden Eagles and was named All-Big East first team as a senior, but is not considered a first-round candidate.

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