The NBA Draft is coming up, 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 targets. Today, the Indiana Pacers will be evaluated.
The Pacers finished the season with a record of 48-34. They were the fifth seed of the Eastern Conference. The Pacers faced the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs but lost the series 4-0. They went into the series without their star player.
On January 23, Pacers guard Victor Oladipo suffered a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee. The injury forced Oladipo to sit out the remainder of the season. The Pacers finished their season without Oladipo and made it to the playoffs. Despite the sweep the Pacers have a bright future, especially when Oladipo returns.
As the offseason approaches, the Pacers have eight free agents. They include Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Kyle O’Quinn, Edmond Sumner, Davon Reed and Wesley Matthews. Sumner has a team option and Reed is a restricted free agent. The others are all unrestricted. The Pacers can re-sign these players or find other options through the draft.
The Pacers have two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft
First Round: Pick No. 18
Second Round: Pick No. 50
Shooting-With the offseason approaching, the Pacers could lose several players. If this happens, one of their biggest voids would be shooting/scoring. With Tyreke Evans being disqualified from the NBA and Wesley Matthews’ upcoming free agency, the Pacers should fill those voids.
Rebounding– The Pacers ranked 23rd in defensive rebounding (with 33.7 per game) and ranked 24th in total rebounds (with 40 per game). The Pacers would benefit from finding a solid rebounder.
Wings– The Pacers have wings in Bogdanovic and Young but could use more depth.
Point guard– If the Pacers lose guards Darren Collison and Cory Joseph in free agency, the Pacers could draft a playmaker to pair alongside Oladipo.
First Round: Pick No. 18: Kevin Porter Jr., G, USC
Porter is a 6-foot-6 guard from the University of Southern California. He played one year with Trojans and averaged 9.5 points per game. He also shot 41 percent from three-point range. Porter played 21 games this season and showed glimpses of his talent on the offensive end. However, two things slowed down his progress.
During the season, he suffered a quadriceps contusion. He suffered the injury in November and returned in December but sat out again until January. Shortly after, Porter was suspended indefinitely for “personal conduct issues.” He stayed with the team but declared for the draft at the end of the season.
Despite the setbacks, Porter showed he is an offensive threat. He is an exceptional ball-handler and can create his own shot. He can shoot threes and has a mid-range game. With the right team, Porter can show what he is truly capable of.
Second Round: Pick No. 50: Talen Horton-Tucker, G, Iowa St.
Horton-Tucker is a 6-foot-4 guard from Iowa State. He is also 235 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. Horton-Tucker averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
For his position, Horton-Tucker is a solid rebounder. He is also a solid playmaker and can even score off of the dribble. His size allows him to post up smaller guards. His wingspan and strength can also help him defend smaller guards, but quicker guards can cause him trouble. While he needs to work on his shooting (he shot 30.8 percent from deep and 40.6 from the field), he can still help teams in other areas.