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Indiana Pacers: 2022 NBA Draft Team Needs and Targets
With the 2022 NBA Draft fast approaching, we're taking a look at what each lottery team needs to target with their draft selections, continuing with the Indiana Pacers.
Welcome back to our No Ceilings 2022 NBA Draft Lottery Team Series!
Over the next few weeks, we as a team are going to dive into the needs and targets of each lottery squad. What are the weaknesses and holes of each franchise? Are there players targetable in the lottery who can help fill those gaps?
We will answer those questions and more 5-on-5 style, continuing with the Indiana Pacers!
Without further ado, let’s see where Indiana should look for some help with the sixth overall pick.
1. What do you think is the biggest weakness for the Pacers that NEEDS to be addressed on draft night?
Nathan: Consistent two-way play. Indiana has a stable of good pieces to build around in Tyrese Haliburton, Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, and Isaiah Jackson. But the Pacers struggled to find any kind of identity last year and need to find the best mix of skills on both ends of the floor in their draft target.
Tyler Rucker: Let’s get something on the wings. Indiana got a heck of a talent with the acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton at last year’s NBA trade deadline. Chris Duarte looks to be another nice piece moving forward. Indiana could do some wonders to find a potential running mate in the backcourt or someone that offers some versatility to play multiple spots in rotational situations.
Tyler Metcalf: Wing versatility. They likely have their guard of the future in Haliburton and a great center in Turner (even if they trade him), but there isn’t anyone on the wing that makes you excited about the future.
Nick: The Pacers could use more help on the wing, especially after trading Caris LeVert to the Cavaliers mid-season. Chris Duarte was excellent for them when healthy, but the team could really use more wing depth behind him.
Albert: I think this team just needs to build around their young stars. Adding versatility all around the court should be key for them.
Alex: The biggest weakness for the Pacers is that they are missing a true #1 offensive scoring option. I don’t envision anyone on this roster turning into that, either.
Evan: I love the backcourt duo of Malcolm Brogdon and Tyrese Haliburton for the Pacers, but they’re seriously lacking size and playmaking along their wing rotation.
Maxwell: I love their backcourt, and I love Myles Turner, so I’m saying forwards.
Stephen: With LeVert and Sabonis gone, I like the notion that the Pacers should look to add additional shot creators that can also address some positional defensive prowess.
2. Which position group would you target most for the Pacers: Guards, Wings, Forwards, or Centers?
Nathan: I would target the best forward or wing available. The Pacers have multiple bigs and multiple guards that should offer value in the short term or bring back assets in the long term. What Indiana doesn’t have is a great option at either SF or PF. Go get that guy with this pick and continue to build.
Tyler Rucker: Depending on how the board shapes up, I think Indiana should have an opportunity to have their selection of some of the top wings in this class. If things go in another direction, there might be a forward on the board that could be too enticing to pass up…
Tyler Metcalf: Wings.
Nick: Wings. This team could use some forward help as well, but they don’t have many options at SG/SF at the moment other than Duarte.
Albert: Wings, wings, and more wings.
Alex: Wings. The only long-term starter caliber guy on this roster at that spot is probably Chris Duarte.
Stephen: Wings, baby.
3. Is there any argument for the Pacers to draft based on fit around a core group of players, or should “BPA” be in play at all times for Indiana on draft night?
Nathan: Listen, it’s BPA if someone falls that we aren’t expecting to fall as draft analysts. If either Shaedon Sharpe or Jaden Ivey is on the board, go get your dude. Those are guards who can legitimately challenge the other options on the roster. But outside of those two, the BPA options available should be wings and forwards, so I would imagine the Pacers could live in the best of both worlds.
Tyler Rucker: Always go BPA. Indiana is a team that could be enticed to go after “fit,” but I do believe that the board should find themselves in a position in which BPA could also be exactly what this team needs.
Tyler Metcalf: BPA. This team needs to get off the treadmill of mediocrity, and the best way to do that is by taking a swing on talent in the draft.
Nick: BPA. There should be a few players who fall to them at #6 overall who could dramatically alter the trajectory of this franchise; even if the fit might not be as clean for some of them, the Pacers have too many weak spots to try to draft for fit here.
Albert: This is a young team with all kinds of holes. BPA all day.
Alex: They SHOULD go BPA. But Indiana is a team that usually goes for “win now” moves and just gets guys that fit with what they already have.
Evan: I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to draft a guard if I were Indiana’s front office, but I also think they should definitely go BPA at this spot, given the current state of their roster.
Maxwell: BPA, because their best players offer solid positional versatility.
Stephen: BPA should be the direction Indy goes. Haliburton can play next to several different types of players.
4. Who are the Top 5 targets for the Pacers to select with the sixth pick?
Nathan: Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Maturin, Johnny Davis, and AJ Griffin.
Tyler Rucker: Keegan Murray, Bennedict Mathurin, Dyson Daniels, Johnny Davis, and AJ Griffin.
Tyler Metcalf: Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, Johnny Davis, AJ Griffin, and Malaki Branham.
Nick: Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis, Shaedon Sharpe, AJ Griffin, and Bennedict Mathurin.
Albert: Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis, AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, and Dyson Daniels.
Alex: Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe, AJ Griffin, Dyson Daniels, and Bennedict Mathurin.
Evan: AJ Griffin, Bennedict Mathurin, Dyson Daniels, Johnny Davis, and Keegan Murray.
Maxwell: Jaden Ivey, Dyson Daniels, Shaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, and AJ Griffin.
Stephen: Dyson Daniels, Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, Bennedict Mathurin, and Keegan Murray.
5. Who is an under-the-radar surprise target for the Pacers?
Nathan: It would be a swing, but I can say Jeremy Sochan for this pick as well. If he becomes a consistent shot-maker to better blend with the other connectors on the roster, his positional versatility on the defensive end could cover up a number of holes the team currently has. Finding a wing/forward who can help ease those concerns while offering enough upside to grow into a more significant offensive role could be too good of a proposition for the Pacers to pass up, even at 6.
Tyler Rucker: Some might call it a surprise…but I could see Bennedict Mathurin being a hot name in the Indiana Pacers front office. A backcourt trio of Tyrese Haliburton, Mathurin, and Chris Duarte on the wing has some intriguing versatility, and the more I think about it…the more I might love it. There’s floor spacing, nastiness, and Mathurin’s cutting ability with Haliburton’s vision would just be all sorts of fun.
Tyler Metcalf: Jalen Duren. This would be a swing, but Duren has the most long-term upside of the center class (excluding Chet). This would also be a sign that the Pacers are finally moving Turner.
Nick: He might be a bit of a reach with the sixth pick, but I’m going with Malaki Branham here. His shooting touch and playmaking will allow him to fit into a rotation sooner rather than later; if he hits his upside as a shot-creator, he could develop into one of the best players in this draft class.
Albert: Christian Braun with the 31st pick would be tons of fun and great value if he’s still there. Braun would be a great piece to add to the young core and would offer them plenty of shooting and a competitive spirit that they could use.
Alex: Ousmane Dieng would be a surprise both in terms of how high he’d be picked, but it would also not be in line with past draft philosophy for the Pacers. I actually like him in Indiana as Dieng could add another big playmaker alongside Haliburton, but he will take more time to develop as opposed to a guy like Keegan Murray, for example.
Evan: This is another team I could see falling in love with Bryce McGowens and how his scoring ability could pair next to Brogdon and Haliburton.
Maxwell: Malaki Branham. He and Tyrese Haliburton would give you two guards who can score, see the floor, and play with pace.
Stephen: AJ Griffin has been all over draft boards all season long. Some analysts still love him in that Top 5 range, though I’m a little lower. His medicals need to line up, in theory, for a team to take him this high, but there’s nothing definitive saying they won’t. If he’s right, he gives the Pacers a legit wing with shooting and defense…maybe even some creation.