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Originally published July 9, 2011 at 12:00a.m., updated July 11, 2011 at 12:39a.m.

Ex-Jayhawk Kevin Pritchard to get Pacers job

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— Former Kansas University basketball point guard Kevin Pritchard officially has been named director of player personnel of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.

The team addressed recent reports with a confirmation on its website and in the Indianapolis Star over the weekend.

Pritchard, who worked as Portland’s general manager from 2007-10, will work under president Larry Bird and general manager David Morway. He has signed a one-year contract.

“Larry and I feel like Kevin is a strong addition to our franchise,” Morway told the Indianapolis Star. “We’re looking forward to him working with us. He’s been a player, coach and in management in this league. Those are all pluses for us.”

Pritchard will scout and also help Bird and Morway with free agency, the Star reported.

“He offers another set of eyes in improving our team as we move into the next phase of things,” Morway said.

The Trail Blazers had at least a .500 record, including going 54-28 and getting the fourth seed in the Western Conference in 2009, under Pritchard. Pritchard was fired by the Trail Blazers prior to the 2010 draft.

Pritchard was a consultant with the Pacers last season and traveled with the team for part of its West Coast trip in January. Bird told the Indy Star the Pacers are not bringing Pritchard in as his future replacement.

“That's not the case at all,” Bird said. “I’ve known Kevin for a number of years and we're in the position to improve, and his knowledge will help us.”

Pritchard, an Indiana native, and Bird were teammates with the Boston Celtics during the 1991-92 season. He was starting point guard on KU’s 1988 national title team.

Comments

100 11 years, 2 months ago

Talk about a perfect fit.

Best of luck Pritch....

Also if you get a moment, make sure to give Larry a hello from Larry....

onlylookin2score 11 years, 2 months ago

Right on... glad he could land back in a good position. Pritchard oversaw most of the talent that is now on the Portland team. Good pickup.

Brad Avery 11 years, 2 months ago

Excellent move on the part of the Pacers. The TB's were stupid to let KP go.

mikehawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Another Tulsa Edison High School and KU graduate makes good. Congratulations Kevin. You make all of us Jayhawks proud.

gchawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Point of reference, not "ex Jayhawk", rather, "former Jayhawk player". You could substitute the word "player" with "stud", "star", "standout", "overall good guy" or anything other than "ex". Congrats Kevin, you're back in the position you belong.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 2 months ago

How about Basketball Jayhawk Alum...heck, we students are are alumni, why can't athletes be considered the same?

number1jayhawker 11 years, 2 months ago

He would still be at Portland if he would have drafted Durant instead of Oden.

David Lara 11 years, 2 months ago

I would love to hear your argument for drafting Durant instead as a better fit in Portland. You can't make an amateurish statement like that and not tell why Pritchard should have seen Durant as the obvious choice.

bayareajhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

I think you are both right. The story goes that the Blazers couldn't stomach grabbing Sam Bowie 2.0 ahead of Durant, and that was the major reason Pritchard was fired. Even so, at the time I thought he made the right choice. It was pretty tough on Kevin to get fired for making one move that didn't work out and about 25 that did, but that is supposedly what happened. As a Pacer fan, I'm happy he's ended up there.

Now if he can manage to trade Granger and Collison to get a starting big man and a backup guard the Pacers will be set.

FreddyinLA 11 years, 2 months ago

Durant was by far the best freshman I had ever seen. Oden was a 45 year old freshman at OSU who was already showing signs of fragility with his broken wrist.

Robin Smith 11 years, 2 months ago

You said it FreddyinLA. There was no debate in the eyes of many observers.

The plain-as-day truth of Durant's once-in-a-generation/lifetime talent was so obvious that the bigger joke historically will be the people who act like the debate of whom to pick first actually even had any merit when it happened in the first place.

Pritchard knew this but also knew his time would come to a close sooner had Oden gone 2nd and had an immediate impact rather than the subsequent impact (as Durant has, through growth and development.)

bayareajhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Hindsight is 20/20.

Greg Oden was a 7'0" athlete who dominated the college game defensively even more than Durant dominated it offensively. With his body and his shooting touch, he had the potential to dominate the game on both ends of the court. Scoring swingmen are a dime a dozen in the NBA but how many low post dominators are there? Pritchard thought he was drafting a next generation Bill Russell. How was one broken wrist supposed to be a predictor for all the knee problems he has had?

I am a huge Durant fan and have enjoyed him immensely since he blew my mind as a Freshman at Texas. But to act like there was never any debate on who to pick first is ridiculous.

Keith Kienzle 11 years, 2 months ago

Agreed Durant looked incredible, but Portland really needed a big man, and Oden was a beast in college too. Ohio St didn't get to the championship because of Mike Conley and Daequan Cook. Portland already had an underweight big man from Texas with a nice shooting touch in Aldridge.

We had not gone to the league-wide accepted small-ball phenomenon we're seeing now, so everyone put more value in having a quality 5 who could D up, grab rebounds on both ends, and finish strong.

jaybate 11 years, 2 months ago

So, Indiana will now begin to get it together.

Robin Smith 11 years, 2 months ago

I would say they will continue the turnaround that has already begun

waywardJay 11 years, 2 months ago

I agree. Indy does have quite a few pieces.... Solidifying the Front of the House with Hiring Pritchard will take them that much farther.

KGphoto 11 years, 2 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a fan of Pritchard as there is. But he F'd up that Oden decision badly. And I saw it from a mile away. Oden had done nothing, Durant had done (almost) everything. If Portland had Kevin Durant, they would've been in the finals this year. If OKC had Oden, they would've been out of the playoffs.

It eats me up, but that's why he was fired in Portland, and I would've done the same thing. Here's hoping he learned from his experience and proceeds with an otherwise gleaming career in basketball.

Good Luck Kevin. I am now an even bigger fan of Pacers basketball.

honk_for_hawks 11 years, 2 months ago

Pritchard made what was, at the time, considered the safe decision. Many people questioned whether Durant could dominate in the same way when he got to the NBA and had to face bigger, stronger defenders. Most people considered Oden to be AT WORST a solid starting big man if not a franchise center. And had he not had the terrible luck he has had with injuries, he may be a starter or even an All-Star. There is no way of knowing. But to say he "had done nothing" is laughable. Not sure what your criteria is as far as doing something goes, but I would say that being an AP All-American is something. I would say being the best player on a national title runner-up is something. I would say posting 25 and 12 with 4 blocks against a Florida front line of Noah and Horford classifies as something. Steve Kerr called Oden a "once-in-a-decade type player." That was the general consensus around the league. Hindsight is 20/20 but if you're a GM who has a 50/50 decision to make (and EVERYONE considered it a toss-up), the rule of thumb is to always go with the big man because even the guys who are complete busts will help your team because good 7-footers are few and far between. Swingmen and guards are much more likely to bust and be out of the league by the end of their rookie contract because of the abundance of new guys able to replace them. Pritchard would have been killed in the media if he had taken Durant because 1)Portland already had Aldridge and Travis Outlaw who were both considered very promising young talents at the 3 and 4 and 2) It would be seen as the flashy high risk pick instead of the "safe" pick. You can't predict the series of injuries Oden has had based on one wrist injury. And saying Portland would be in the Finals with Durant instead is also completely debatable. Durant thrived on a young team where he was the man from the get go and OKC built around him with young low-maintenance talent. Portland had Roy already and Aldridge was considered a future star as well. Its hard to say if Durant would have had the same development curve in Portland, especially since Nate McMillan is a big defensive guy and Durant's defense has always been slightly below average at best. Lastly, you can't judge a draft pick by how they turned out if the player's don't have the same opportunities. Sam Bowie was considered the safe choice in 1984 at #2 but the Blazers will forever be grilled for that pick because he was plagued by injuries his entire career and the next pick turned out to be the greatest player ever. Again, hindsight is 20/20. Pritchard was one of the top 3-5 GMs in the entire league during his term.

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