Indiana Pacers mock draft round up prior to the NBA Draft Lottery

NBA Draft, James Bouknight - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Draft, James Bouknight - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers, NBA Draft Lottery
Franz Wagner, Indiana Pacers – Credit: Michelle Pemberton/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports /

CBS selects Franz Wagner for the Indiana Pacers

In an effort to clean up the defense, Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports projects Franz Wagner as the pick for Indiana. Wagner has the size and length to translate to the next level as a strong defender. For the Pacers, cleaning up the wing defense and playing a capable defender at the four would drastically improve the record.

With Myles Turner serving as the only reliable defender last season, Indiana could not survive a tough Eastern Conference. If Turner is traded this offseason, those problems are only going to get worse. The upside of Wagner may not be quite as valuable as some of the other prospects available at this spot but his defensive impact is worth noting.

He brings a wide array of skills to the NBA on both ends. Wagner can score when he wants but consistency will always be key for him. He shot 34 percent from three-point range last season at Michigan which is a respectable mark but it likely needs to be higher as he progresses.

Wagner is also a very good passer for his size and does a good job of creating shots in transition. He is not a high-upside prospect that with a can’t-miss label but if Wagner does what he is expected, he will be a solid NBA player. For the Pacers, he brings help to the bench as a safe player but he may never reach the starting lineup permanently.

Is that a risk worth taking in the lottery? Probably not for a Pacers team that has not hit on draft picks lately.