Indiana Pacers: What position needs to be addressed in the NBA Draft?

Cade Cunningham - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Cade Cunningham - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers
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Which forwards could fit the Indiana Pacers?

Before diving into the Pacers’ potential holes at forward, it’s important to note that there tends to be a lot of overlap between guards and forwards. For this exercise, a forward will be viewed as someone who spends their minutes primarily at the 3 and 4, but many play minutes as an off-ball guard. It’s more of a subjective category than the rest.

Similar to guard, the Pacers roster situation and depth on the wings will rely heavily on impending free agents. Doug McDermott is a solid rotation piece who both started and came off the bench last season and played multiple positions. If McDermott leaves, minutes will free up in both the short-term and long-term.

T.J. Warren is the only real “wing” in the current starting lineup, as LeVert occupies more of a guard’s role on offense and defense and Sabonis and Turner both qualify more as centers than forwards who are stretching to the four-position.

Justin Holiday, McDermott and Oshae Brissett filled a majority of these minutes last season, aside from when injuries called Jeremy Lamb into action as a miscast forward.

The Pacers are full of smaller forwards. Holiday and Lamb are better suited defensively against 2’s and 3’s and Brissett, while encouraging, likely can’t be fully relied on as a defensive stopper against bigger wings.

There’s a need here, both in the short and long-term outlooks, especially if the Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis pairing is broken up. If one is traded this offseason and McDermott isn’t retained, that would likely thrust Brissett into a full-time starting role and leave little depth on the bench.

Even if Turner and Sabonis both remain, the current roster isn’t blocking an opportunity for a promising young wing. A rookie could come in Day 1 and provide something that the Pacers’ don’t currently have – a strong wing defender with good size.

Lottery Forwards: Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Johnson, Scottie Barnes, Corey Kispert, Franz Wagner

2nd Round Forwards: Herbert Jones, Kessler Edwards, Isaiah Livers, RaiQuan Gray, Joe Wieskamp, Ron Harper Jr, Marcus Bagley