Is Juwan Morgan a realistic option for the Indiana Pacers at pick 50?

BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Juwan Morgan #13 of the Indiana Hoosiers is seen before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Assembly Hall on February 26, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Juwan Morgan #13 of the Indiana Hoosiers is seen before the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Assembly Hall on February 26, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers brought in former Indiana big man Juwan Morgan for a work out on Wednesday. Could Morgan stay in Indiana as he enters the NBA?

The NBA Draft is just weeks away. Teams are finalizing their boards and hosting workouts to narrow down their plans for the draft. The Indiana Pacers have ramped up their pre-draft workouts over the past few days. Former Indiana Hoosier Juwan Morgan joined the mix as a second-round option.

Juwan Morgan spent four seasons at IU where he was the leader of an up and down program. Despite the sorrows, Morgan kept his head high and was a lead-by-example kind of guy. He is a high effort, high energy player in the frontcourt.

Morgan appeared in 128 games for Indiana University in four years and started 85 of those games. I must admit, I was a huge fan of Morgan as a collegiate player. I hope for nothing but the best as he moves forward, but I will keep bias aside.

Morgan is a ‘tweener’ big, standing just 6’8” and 232 pounds. His heart cannot be denied on the court, but there are limitations to his game. If the Indiana Pacers consider Juwan Morgan in the second round, what type of player are they getting?

The good: Hustle and effort will never be an issue

Like I said at the top, Juwan Morgan made a name for himself with his effort. He gives 110 percent on the offensive glass and keeps possessions alive. Morgan played in 9.1 minutes per game as a freshman before becoming a major contributor as a sophomore.

He became the full-time starter heading into his junior season in 2017-18. In his final two seasons, Morgan averaged 16.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game. He also recorded a triple-double, the second in school history.

Morgan contributes in all phases of the game. He never gives up on the play, regardless of the situation. His effort gets him open looks under the basket consistently. He also goes up strong in traffic and finishes tough shots at the rim. He knocked down 63.2 percent of his shots over the course of his career.

Morgan is a pretty good post scorer on the offensive end. His soft touch around the rim is also a plus.

Double teams force him out of shots, and Morgan generally does a good job of passing out to the perimeter. He also has a ton of bounce for his size. Transition lobs are fun to watch when Juwan Morgan gets involved.

The bounce is welcomed on the defensive end as well. Morgan is a high-rising shot-blocker down low. He can leap out of the gym and highpoint the ball.

His instincts are solid and crucial for a player with a size disadvantage. His last two seasons in Bloomington saw Morgan average 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals for the Hoosiers. Morgan makes plays on both ends of the floor and does it with heart. Passionate guys usually find ways to stick around.

It may not always be pretty, but Juwan Morgan gets the job done.

The bad: His game does not translate

Morgan’s size is immediately going to make teams pause. He is too short to play the traditional four, and he isn’t athletic enough to play the wing. Morgan lacks quick feet to stay in front. A lot of his defensive plays in college came as a result of the NCAA not having the three-second violation on defense. He was down near the basket and guarding the post.

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When asked to play man-to-man out in space, Morgan was often beat off the dribble. His off-ball defense was suspect as well. Morgan was caught ball-watching quite a bit, leaving his man open on a cut to the basket.

His defensive instincts led to a lot of fouls. Morgan needed to be on the floor for an underwhelming Hoosier team, but he was in foul trouble often. He reached at least four fouls in 32 games at IU. He left valuable minutes on the floor with his overaggressive play on that end of the floor. Morgan will have to clean that up at the next level for sure.

Given that Morgan is short, he will need to find a home as a small-ball four. For that to happen, he needs to find more consistency in his shot. His three-point shooting was all over the place at Indiana. After shooting 45.5 percent from deep as a freshman, he finished his career at just 29.7 percent. He did improve his two-point shooting as he progressed in college.

While Juwan Morgan put on quite a show at Indiana, it is difficult to project his NBA potential. He benefited from NCAA rules and size, but the NBA is a whole new game.

Final verdict

I am a huge fan of Juwan Morgan, just not so much in the NBA. I think he can be a second-round selection that plays in the G-League for a while before climbing the ranks. Some teams may even view him as a two-way player if he has a good Summer League showing.

I would not hate Morgan at pick 50 for the Pacers, but they could do better. A second-round pick could be spent on a young player with a high ceiling. Perhaps even a player coming off an injury that forces him down the board. We have seen that as the case recently with Edmond Sumner and Ike Anigbogu.

dark. Next. Hindsight 20/20 Draft Redos

The second round is very tough to predict. However, finding players with traits at least steers us in the right direction. Juwan Morgan is a passionate hooper with a knack for making plays. He can be a valuable bench player in the NBA if he develops a more well-rounded game.