Indiana Pacers: Rookies that will make the team

The 2014 NBA draft came and went without a selection from the Indiana Pacers. There first round pick was traded away last summer along with center Miles Plumlee and wing Gerald Green in exchange for power forward Luis Scola. The Pacers then traded away the 57th pick to the New York Knicks for an undisclosed amount of cash. So now we look to some undrafted free agent signings and the summer league roster to see if any rookies have a chance to make the roster.

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The Pacers signed center Shayne Whittington out of Western Michigan and Damjan Rudez out of Croatia. Whittington averaged 16.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during his senior season. The 6-foot-11, 250-pounder will likely ride the bench or be sent down to the NBA’s developmental league (D-League) during his first year with the Pacers because he is raw offensively. Rudez, however, may have a chance to see some playing time this season. The 6-foot-10, 200-pounder could help the Pacers with bench scoring, as he made nearly 47-percent of his three-point attempts last year with his European team. Since Rudez is 28 years of age, the Pacers will likely try and see what they can get from him early on.

[Indiana Pacers: Free agent targets still on the market]

There are a few players on this year’s summer league roster that could also make the cut. Donald Sloan, a member of last season’s roster, is averaging 18.5 points and 5.5 assists per-game in summer league play. The 26-year-old saw the court in 48 games last year for the Pacers, and will be a cheap option as a third point guard this season. Kevin Jones and Willie Reed have also shown that they deserve a chance at a roster spot.

Jones is averaging 12.8 points and 10.8 rebounds while playing 25.6 minutes per game. Although the 24-year-old has played primarily the center position during summer league play, he stands at just 6-foot-8 and weighs 250 pounds. This size would likely force Jones to play at power forward, where the Pacers are already full.

Like Jones, Reed has mostly played the center position for the Pacers’ summer league team. Standing at 6-foot-10 and weighing 220 pounds, Reed may be a better fit at the center position. The 24-year-old is averaging 9.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while playing just under 20 minutes per game. His ability to protect the rim may give Reed the slight edge over Jones if either were to make the Pacers’ roster this season.

Since the Pacers are mostly set that the center and power forward positions, I expect that neither Reed nor Jones will make the roster. If one of them does make the roster, they will likely play a reserve role in case another big man gets injured or struggles greatly.