Indiana Pacers: Analyzing B/R’s intriguing trade idea around Domantas Sabonis

Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Domantas Sabonis - Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, Lonnie Walker IV
Indiana Pacers, Lonnie Walker IV – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

How does this deal move the needle for the middling Indiana Pacers?

For once, this deal will instantly provide the Indiana Pacers with flexibility, both on the court and with franchise maneuvering. It’s no secret that the team is in a state of flux right now, especially with the coaching and locker room turmoil that brewed in the latter parts of the season as they started crumbling.

Of course, the easy fix to patch up an engine that is not working is to replace old pieces with new ones, and the two players suggested to move to Indy are solid pieces that can help them remain competitive or even improve, as well as build some traction for the future. The two (!) first-round picks further augment the latter, providing the Pacers with loads of leverage to rebuild if their new crop remains stuck in the middle.

San Antonio is a preacher of in-house development to compete, and their storied program has allowed both Walker and Poeltl to become meaningful contributors with a lot of room to grow. Walker is a Spurs favorite who has already shown potential of being an electric three-level scorer in the league.

When DeMar DeRozan has been out this season, he was tasked with being the primary scorer at times. In addition, his perimeter defense has improved a lot and his athleticism is at a superhuman level. Thus, there’s no reason for him to not make a big leap.

Poeltl is perhaps the best rim protector you don’t know. Under Gregg Popovich’s tutelage, his style of defense isn’t flashy, but his positioning is very solid and his timing is impeccable. He is active and knows how to anchor the D, and he is a great offensive rebounder.  Aside from that, while he is a non-factor in scoring away from the paint, he has a quietly impressive court vision and a knack for finding cutters and initiating drive and kick actions.

However, what could compel the Indiana Pacers to pull the trigger here is the two first-rounders. It remains to be seen if the Spurs can get back to their usual contender status, and if they don’t, those picks will hold an even higher value, especially for a team that has a lesser margin of error like the Blue and Gold.