Recapping the 2023 NBA Draft for the Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers had five picks as the 2023 NBA draft approached. With more picks than roster spots available, a trade was a must for Indiana.
The Indiana Pacers had five picks as the 2023 NBA draft approached. With more picks than roster spots available, a trade was a must for Indiana. They came into the draft with the following picks: 7, 26, 29, 32, and 55.
However, keeping all those picks was never feasible, and the front office kept on its promise to be active around the draft.
Trade with Denver
Then, the Denver Nuggets came calling and grabbed picks 29 and 32 from the Pacers in exchange for pick 40 and a 2024 first-round pick. This was good asset management from the Pacers front office, as they couldn’t bring in as many players as they had picks for.
The 2024 pick Indiana is receiving is the same pick that Denver had traded for from OKC. As Tony East reports, “It is the 2024 first that is worst of Houston (1-4 protected) Utah (1-10 protected) LA Clippers (unprotected) Oklahoma City (unprotected) Pick 40 to IND, 29 + 32 to DEN”.
Trade with Lakers
The Pacers weren’t done. Los Angeles found the Pacers’ number and traded their 47th pick for the 40th pick that Indiana had just acquired from Denver. Indiana had to consolidate picks, and this is a great way to do that. The Lakers also sent $4.35M to the Pacers in cash considerations to move up in the draft.
The 2023 NBA Draft Begins
Indiana was on the clock until they weren’t. Indiana held on to the 7th pick until the last moment before moving back one spot to trade with Washington for the 8th pick and additional compensation. They will get two second-round picks in 2028 by moving back. Indiana had initially drafted Bilal Coulibaly, Victor Wembenyama’s running mate, but quickly announced that a trade would be made.
This would allow Indiana to acquire the draft rights to Jarace Walker. He is now a Pacer.
What Indiana lands from Washington:
Two 2028 second-round picks
You have to think this is who the Indiana Pacers were targeting, but this allows them to add more assets while getting Walker regardless. A great move by the front office.
Standing 6’8’’ tall, Walker fills a hole on this roster, the four spot. He weighs 240 lbs and is currently 19 years old. Walker averaged 11.2 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in his freshman season at Houston.
Walker also shot 34.7% from three on 2.8 attempts per game, while his overall field goal percentage was at 46.5% on 9.4 attempts.
The fit alongside Myles Turner is a rather exciting one as well. For those who don’t know, Indiana just got one hell of a defender. Indiana was in need of defensive help, as they ranked 27th of 30 in defensive rating for the 2022-23 NBA season.
Indiana currently has the 26th pick, 47th pick, and 55th pick remaining.
The 26th pick: Ben Sheppard
With the 26th pick, the Indiana Pacers select Ben Sheppard from the Belmont Bruins.
Sheppard is a 6'6'', 190lbs guard -- he averaged 18.8 PPG last year and shot 41.5% from three on 6.0 attempts per. Sheppard spent four seasons at Belmont and is 21 years old.
His three-point shot developed and this season he was able to showcase a 4% bump in three-point percentage from last season to 2022-23. In 2021-22 he was shooting a solid 37% from behind the arc. He improved that to 41% on nearly the same attempts per game.
In 32 games in 2022-23, he was held to under 10 points just three times. At his best, he posted 35 points against Murray State — converting on 6/10 three-point attempts.
The Pacers are taking a shot at a guard who can bring depth alongside Chris Duarte and company, and adding shooting to Rick Carlisle’s roster. I think he will be able to compete for a rotation spot. If he can hover around 37 or higher shooting from deep, Sheppard will have an easy transition to the NBA level in this Pacers system.
*This story will be updated as the NBA draft night continues
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