Indiana Pacers: What’s next for Edmond Sumner?

Indiana Pacers

Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The young Indiana Pacers shooting guard had a hot start to the season before injury. 

Edmond Sumner is one of (if not) my favorite of the Indiana Pacers young prospects. The former Xavier guard flashes potential any time he finds minutes on the court. Unfortunately for the former second-round pick, injuries have been a major obstacle in his three seasons in the NBA.

Sumner had a solid Orlando bubble while even getting minutes in the playoffs. Once again he showcased his defensive ability and flashed potential. With a new head coach about to be hired soon, the big question looms for Edmond. What is next for the young guard?

Edmond started the season with five steals in three games and a 10-point outing before he sustained a fractured bone in his hand that would set him back most of the season. Sumner would have a handful of double-digit games this season, but could never really find his footing.

Once play resumed in Orlando, I believed this could provide a chance for Sumner to get minutes and prove he could play some rotation minutes. He stated before the restart that “this was the best I’ve felt in a long time, especially with his knee”. His best game in the bubble came against the Houston Rockets in the Orlando bubble. Sumner would go on to have 17 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 24 minutes of playing time. This game is a true reminder of what potentially Edmond Sumner can bring to the table.

The playoffs were a different story for Sumner. In Game 1, Nate McMillan used him as part of the rotation, logging 27 minutes. Edmond finished the game with six points and six rebounds and played some decent defense. The rest of the series Sumner would only see the floor for 12 minutes total and racked up a “Did Not Play” in Game 3.

What’s next for Indiana Pacers guard Edmond Sumner?

Edmond does some things really well that you like as a fan of the game. Sumner’s calling card is defense. This is what will ultimately get him minutes on the floor. His ability to get to the rim is another part of his game that pops out to me. The way he uses his athleticism to explode to the basket to either draw a foul or hit the layup is very promising for the 24-year-old guard.

What Sumner has to improve is his shooting ability. Sumner is a career 26 percent three-point shooter and his free throw numbers aren’t much better. If your free throw numbers are low then that’s a sign that the shot doesn’t have much hope. Luckily for Sumner, I don’t think that’s the case. His shot has a nice high release above his head and is decently fluid.

A full offseason of working on his shot and good health will do wonders for him. If Edmond is to find himself in a bigger role next season his shooting has to improve.

I think consistency is another thing that he will have to work on. Yes, injuries played a major part in him not being able to find a rhythm and get minutes on the floor. Luck will have a little bit to do with this so that he can avoid injury, but Edmond needs to play more consistently.

He will show the flashes in some games and then the next game not show up at all. Some can blame this on the coach for not giving him consistent minutes, but once Victor Oladipo returned the minutes weren’t there. This can be completely justified.

Edmond would have a series of games where he would get around 20 minutes of playing time. The numbers are all over the place. Some games he would score zero points and some he would have double digits. Rebounding was the same way.  I’m not asking for a major consistency overhaul but just a solid bump.

The good news is the Pacers are willing to be patient with him and I believe most Pacers fans are too. The young two-guard has fought through a lot of injuries in his young career but keeps grinding away in hopes that he will become a key rotation player. Do I think he has what it takes to get there? Absolutely. Do I think he will crack the rotation next season? Absolutely.

If Sumner can improve upon these two things, shooting and consistency, I think he will be a very important piece heading into next season for the Pacers.