The Indiana Pacers’ offseason will begin this Thursday, June 26th with the NBA draft. Since their first-round pick was traded away to the Phoenix Suns along with small forward Gerald Green and center Miles Plumlee for Luis Scola, the Pacers’ only draft pick will come late in the second round at the 57th spot.
The Pacers have many issues to address this offseason. Lance Stephenson, their starting shooting guard for the last two seasons, is an unrestricted free agent and may not be re-signed due to money issues and the fact that the Pacers’ front office may not feel as though his upside outweighs his on and off-court issues.
Due to three-year starter George Hill’s struggles, they also need to address their obvious problems at the point guard spot. The Pacers could also use another post player. They lack athleticism down low, which was exposed by the Atlanta Hawks’ and the Miami Heats’ jump-shooting, athletic big men.
Since the Pacers are most likely going to be a contender again next season, they should try to add players that can come in and contribute immediately. Whoever they select with the 57th pick will probably not see significant playing time, much less be able to make impact next season. In fact, many second-round draft picks, especially late ones, often fail to have a notable career in the NBA. Even so, the Pacers should do what they can to draft a player that can contribute in the future. Some notable second-round selections include Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, as well as Scola and Stephenson of the Pacers.
During the NBA draft, players are selected based on their potential. First-round draft picks usually have shown more and are more developed while having high upsides. While second-round picks are either raw with potentially high upsides or are more developed but do not seem to have great potential. Two players that probably do not have much potential but may be able to contribute earlier are Aaron Craft and C.J. Fair.
If Fair is still around when the Pacers have their turn at the 57th pick, they should select him. The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder from Syracuse University is solid in nearly every facet of the game. He is considered as a small forward but he could play in the post at the power forward position because of his size and rebounding ability. With his solid perimeter defense and decent athleticism, Fair could also see some time at shooting guard as well.
Aaron Craft will likely be around late in the second-round and the Pacers should consider drafting him. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard started all four seasons while at the Ohio State University. He had many strong performances and great finishes while leading the Buckeyes deep in the NCAA tournament three out of four years. Craft will be out-matched athletically and certainly offensively in the NBA but his ball-handling, strength and defense project him as a formidable backup point guard.
Another option for the Pacers’ second-round pick is Alec Brown from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The 7-foot-1, 230-pound center is a fairly raw prospect but he may have tremendous potential. With his size and length, Brown was a good shot-blocker in college and he has great jump-shooting range for a big man. If Brown works hard to get stronger both offensively and defensively in the post, he could eventually be a major contributor for the Pacers off the bench or maybe even replace current Pacers’ big men Roy Hibbert and David West in the future.