Indiana Pacers: What does the future have in store for Edmond Sumner?

Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

I have been waiting four long years for Edmond Sumner to finally make the jump that he did this season for the Indiana Pacers. I’ve always been a huge Edmond Sumner fan ever since the Pacers traded for him on draft night in 2017.

I loved the athleticism, energy, and explosivity to the rim. Unfortunately for Sumner, it took a while for him to find his feet in the rotation. I would chalk most of this up to the bad run of injuries he has sustained over the years.

Edmond Sumner finally overcame those injuries and had the opportunity at a shot in the rotation and he seized it during the 2020-21 season.

Edmond Sumner’s breakout year for the Indiana Pacers

Sumner’s season stats may not jump off the page at you but what he brought to the court every night is exactly what the Pacers needed from him. Sumner averaged 7.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.9 assists while posting an effective field goal percentage of 58.7. Again these stats are not the most glamorous for a rotational player, but Sumner’s true impact is felt outside the box score.

With the vast amount of injuries the Pacers had to deal with during the season, the Pacers were desperate for some energy off the bench. Edmond Sumner provided just that. He came off the bench as a very capable defender with a high motor that could also intercept passing lanes using his long arms and speed.

In the Pacers’ defensive scheme, these are two attributes that are highly coveted. Edmond gives the freedom for a bigger role player (Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert) to not have to guard the other team’s best perimeter player for spurts in games allowing them to save energy for offense.

Sumner’s biggest improvement this season can be seen on the offensive end. Being able to get to and finish at the rim has been Edmond Sumner’s bread and butter since entering the league. This season was no different as 44 percent of his shots were from zero to three feet from the basket and Sumner made 71 percent of those shots this season. The confidence seemed to be higher this season when he attacked the rim with force.

However, the biggest leap for Edmond this season was his ability to hit the three-point shot. In years past Sumner has really struggled with his shot from the outside. In his first three seasons, Sumner never shot better than 26 percent from three.

This season Edmond finally started hitting the open three-pointers that teams were giving him. Sumner shot nearly 40 percent from three this season on almost two attempts per game. I understand that two attempts per game are not very many shots but the fact that Sumner is starting to hit these shots with confidence is night and day from last season.

What do the Indiana Pacers do from here?

The Pacers have a potentially large offseason played out before them. Indiana will have to figure out if they want to run it back or go in a different direction. Also, two main pieces off the bench are both up for new contracts (Doug McDermott, T.J. McConnell) and both will command a pay raise which the Pacers might not be able to afford.

So where does this leave Edmond Sumner? The Pacers hold a team option on Sumner putting the ball into Kevin Pritchard‘s hands if he wants to bring Sumner back next season. Sumner’s team option is a smidge north of 2.3 million dollars for next season if the Pacers choose to exercise that.

My humble guess is that the Pacers will more than likely bring Sumner back and accept the team option. I believe it’s a no-brainer move for Kevin Pritchard here. Sumner showed some really good things this year and to bring him back at the 2.3 million points is such great value.

I’m not sure you can find someone like that in free agency especially at that price point. The only way I could see the Pacers not exercising the team option is if they swing at the fences for someone and need a tiny bit more cap space to make it happen.

Nothing is set in stone in the NBA and this situation is not exempt. For now, it will be the wait-and-see approach when the offseason finally comes around. I fully expect Edmond Sumner to be an Indiana Pacer at the beginning of next season barring a huge move from the Pacers.

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