By signing Alex Poythress, the Indiana Pacers are starting to properly utilize the Fort Wayne Mad Ants

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 5: Alex Poythress
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 5: Alex Poythress /

The Indiana Pacers signed Alex Poythress from their G League team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Maybe they’ll utilize the Mad Ants more in the future.

The Indiana Pacers signed Alex Poythress from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Thursday, showing us that they are putting their G League affiliate to good use.

In the past, it seemed the Pacers only saw the Mad Ants as a rehab facility or a place for their underused players to get momentum going, but now they’re starting to use it as a proper minor league affiliate. This also ends his two-way status.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal isn’t guaranteed beyond this season.

"Poythress’s new contract is guaranteed for $778,000 this season, and it becomes fully guaranteed at $1.54 million for 2018-19 if he isn’t waived by July 25, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.Indiana now has $5.3M in remaining cap space after signing Poythress, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Pacers currently have 14 guaranteed contracts that will increase to 15 if veteran Damien Wilkins is retained past the Jan. 7 cut date, according to Marks."

Indiana gets a player that’s filled in this season for the Pacers as mostly a defender in 11 games, but one that finds the basket from time to time. While most of his minutes were in garbage time, in 22 minutes against the Pistons earlier this week he scored 4 points while grabbing an assist and steal.

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Poythress thrived in the six games he played with Fort Wayne as he averaged had averaged 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in six games with the Mad Ants this season. Last year, Poythress averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 46 games with the Mad Ants and was named a G League All-Star.

But what Indiana is really hoping for is the player who joined the Philadelphia 76ers at the end of last season. In his first six NBA games, he averaged 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26 minutes a game.

We’ve only see Poythress play one game with real minutes in Indiana, so it is hard to say if he can replicate those numbers in a Pacers uniform. But with the contract guaranteed for this season, the risk is low Indiana if this move goes sideways.

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Unless Indiana plans on calling up Edmond Sumner this season, this is likely their last signing unless a trade happens. As mentioned in the ESPN report above, Damien Wilkins contract becomes guaranteed on Jan. 7.