The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Indiana Pacers will be evaluated.
The Indiana Pacers came into the 2020 season off of a first round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics the previous year. The only draft pick they kept was Georgian center Goga Bitadze, who played minimal minutes for the team.
This year, they were invited into the bubble when the NBA restarted in July, securing an Eastern Conference playoff berth. The Pacers were ousted yet again in the first round, via a 4-0 sweep, this time at the hands of an eventual Eastern Conference finals-participating Miami Heat squad.
In response to the second straight first round sweep, head coach Nate McMillan was fired with no new coach named yet. The Pacers have not won a playoff series in four consecutive years, despite qualifying each of those years. Ahead of 2021, Indiana has one draft pick.
The Indiana Pacers have one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft
Second Round: Pick No. 54
Rebounding- The Pacers’ rebounding sunk them in a big way this year. They ranked 29th in offensive rebounding, 20th in defensive rebounding and 29th in total rebounds per game. With some of the worst numbers in the game, priority needs to be given to patching this hole.
Pure scorer- Indiana also ranked 23rd in scoring in the 2019-2020 season. This suggests they may need a guy who can fill it up in a big way. If they choose a player like this, his defense can be thrown to the side in favor of pure scoring. Even one dead-eye shooter can help those scoring numbers rise significantly.
Round 2, Pick No. 54: Austin Wiley, C (Auburn)
Austin Wiley is a center who comes from a program who was just learning to win in a big way when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down March Madness. That is too bad, because he could have had some big, memorable plays in the tournament that would shoot him up draft boards.
As it stands, though, Wiley should be available to the Pacers at pick number 54. He averaged over 10 points a game while racking up 9.3 rebounds per game, which is the stat the Pacers should care about. He scores around the rim with authority, but never stepped outside the arc in his college career. That could change in the NBA as big men are working on their shooting from distance.
It has been said countless times in these articles that this draft is incredibly deep at the four and five positions on the court. Indiana needs to zone in on a fantastic rebounder and take the best available when their name is called. Wiley could well be that guy.
Featured image courtesy of Indiana Pacers
“From Our Haus to Yours“