Is Edmond Sumner still a hidden gem for the Indiana Pacers?

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 22: Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers shoots a free throw against the Georgetown Hoyas at Cintas Center on January 22, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 22: Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers shoots a free throw against the Georgetown Hoyas at Cintas Center on January 22, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Edmond Sumner is looking to turn his minor setback into a major comeback with the Indiana Pacers.

This is not how it was supposed to go for the 6’6 Xavier product. Edmond Sumner burst onto the scene as a sophomore starting 29 games for a 28-6 Xavier squad.

He then followed up his breakout campaign with his best statistical season as a junior where he averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 assists a game.

But, the hopeful first-round pick tore his ACL on Jan. 29th against St. Johns.

Enter Kevin Pritchard and the Indiana Pacers. After Sumner was originally drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans 52nd overall, Pritchard and company traded cash for him on draft night. So, what does the second rounder bring to the court?

Edmond Sumner is not an undersized guard

Standing at 6’6, Sumner is huge for a lead guard. This is not only what makes him intriguing, it’s what will make him effective.

His size at the point gives him the advantage of seeing over almost all opposing point guards. It also gives Edmond options when bringing the ball up as he can turn his back to the defense and easily get into the offense.

He’s got defensive potential

Again, his size is the most important factor. Sumner’s 6’8 wingspan is ridiculous for a point guard. Many scouts will say that you can’t teach length, his long arms should allow Sumner to wreak havoc in the passing lanes and rack up on ball steals.

The real plus, however, would be the flexibility Sumner would provide on that end of the court. His ability to guard either guard spot and some 3’s is the same trait that makes Cory Joseph so valuable

And explosive athleticism

While nobody will mistake Sumner for Russell Westbrook, his athletic ability is nothing to sneeze at. Sumner glides in the open court and to the basket with long strides that most can’t match at the point.

He’s a natural athlete that will challenge opposing big men at the rim. Sumner relentlessly attacks the basket and puts immense pressure on the defense when he is at his best.

But there are some weaknesses

Sumner is far from perfect as pointed out by his selection 7 spots from bringing up the rear of last years draft.

He has had a long road to get back on the court after rehabbing for almost a full year. So if that didn’t scare you away, his jumper will. He shot just shy of 43% from the field and a less than stellar 28.5% from deep during his time at Xavier.

These numbers along with his ACL injury are by far his two deterrents from becoming a consistent NBA player along with his career 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio that isn’t fantastic either.

Edmond Sumner’s fit and projection

Obviously, if Sumner can fulfill his potential, he has a definite spot on any NBA roster. Sumner has natural tools that translate nicely to today’s league.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

He seems to have made a full recovery as he began real game time with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

In his Mad Ants debut, he scored 9 points on 3 of 8 shooting. In his second game, he improved his accuracy as he went 4 of 9 — good for 8 points.

So, hopefully, with his health intact the only real issue with Sumner is his jump shot. The only problem is that without a jumper he is almost destined for a career in the G-League or overseas. But, typically the jump shot is a fixable problem.

There is no doubt his shooting woes could end up driving Sumner out of the league. However, I’ll put my faith in his ability to work and I believe the potential is there for Sumner to carve out a nice role as a backup or even a starter.

Next: 8p9s Roundtable: Surprises and disappointments

Sumner could end up anywhere from a more athletic Shaun Livingston to a Michael Carter-Williams without the early success but the optimist in me says Livingston is more likely.