The Draft Outlook for the Indiana Pacers
*Photo via Getty Images
Last summer the Indiana Pacers suffered the loss of their star player, Paul George when he broke his leg on the USA men’s team. The team played the best they could without him, but it wasn’t quite enough, even after George returned for the last few games. They finished the season with a 38-44 record, earning them the 11th pick in the draft. Considering who will most likely be available, here’s a couple prospects Indiana should keep their eyes on.
1.Myles Turner C, 7’0”, 239lbs
Roy Hibbert’s contract is expiring soon, and David West is getting older, so the Pacers could use some more depth in the front court. Myles Turner would be a great player to fill that big man spot. Some have even compared him to fellow Longhorn LaMarcus Aldridge.
Turner is already playing a lot like an NBA player. Shooting 69.7 percent from down low in his previous year at Texas. He’s mastered signature moves like the step-back jumper and the fade-away. His size helps him in face-up situations as well as on the pick and roll.
He is also a very versatile center. Turner is known to step out and take the occasional wing shot, with a 45.5 field goal percentage. Most players his size are often victims of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy, but it wouldn't be wise to try this on Turner. Knocking down 84 percent of his free throws in his freshman season, Turner finished second in the Big 12 from the foul line.
His instincts and 7’4” wingspan make him a valuable asset on defense, too. Turner was one of the best shot blockers in the Big 12 with an average of 2.6 blocks per game. He has been a great defender on the help side whenever his teammates needed him. All these strengths would fit well with the Indiana style of play.
2. Jerian Grant PG, 6’5”, 202lbs
If the Pacers decide to go the route of drafting a guard, Jerian Grant would be a good choice. George Hill is more of a shooting guard playing in the one spot while Grant is a true point guard who could bridge that gap.
Grant has an NBA pedigree with his dad and his uncle being former players. This explains his athleticism and quickness. He is pretty big for a point guard, giving him a height advantage over most defenders.
Grant led his Notre Dame teammates to an ACC title in his senior year, scoring 16.5 points per game. Proving to be a decent shooter, he shot 48 percent in his last college season. Grant also facilitates the ball very well, averaging 6.7 assists and only 2.2 turnovers. His ball handling ability allows him to create space and move the ball like a point guard should.
On defense, he shows great potential. Being a promising defender on the ball, Grant finished his final year with 1.7 steals per game. He’s also not afraid to get a hand up and contest a shot. Grant’s basketball IQ, leadership, and well rounded skills make him a smart choice for the Pacers and a sleeper in the draft.
Despite Larry Bird showing interest in Willie Cauley-Stein, he probably won’t still be on the board for the eleventh pick. Sorry Larry. Myles Turner and Jerian Grant are more realistic options. There’re several players that could end up playing under Frank Vogel, but whoever it is needs to be able to bring something to the team while they continue to try and adjust to George working back up to his previous playing level.