The Indiana Pacers wont get Cleveland’s first-round draft pick in 2022

Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers franchise was watching closely Friday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Atlanta Hawks in the last play-in game. The game was a rollercoaster of an experience, but ultimately, the Cavs lost and the Pacers’ pick went with it.

The Indiana Pacers traded Caris LeVert to the Cavs for Ricky Rubio and Cleveland’s first-round pick that was lottery protected.

This meant the Cavs had to make the playoffs for the pick to convey to the Pacers this season. Now the Pacers’ draft situation will be less of a haul than anticipated.

At the time of the trade, the Cavs were third in the Eastern Conference with a 35-22 record in February. However, an unfortunate string of injuries derailed their season in a way that both teams involved in the Caris LeVert trade were not expecting.

What happened?

The first half of last night’s game felt like just about everything was going the Cavs’ way. Their fans were roaring as Lauri Markkanen couldn’t miss and Darius Garland was stealing every pass.

Then the Hawks would rally after a few turnovers by Cleveland and cut what was a comfortable lead in the Cavs’ favor to just seven points with a score of 39-32 in the second quarter.

To add to the rollercoaster, the Hawks lost a starter for what would be the rest of the game in Clint Capela after he appeared to have hyperextended his knee in a mixup with Evan Mobley. The Hawks still had Trae Young.

The third quarter was slow, with long stretches of no scoring, and the Hawks made it a four-point game at 76-72. The fourth was even slower, as It started to sink in that the momentum had shifted in favor of the Hawks.

Cleveland was switching on Young on the defensive end but by the time the Cavs made adjustments, it felt too late. Cleveland lost by six points and Lauri Markkanen led them in scoring after making six of his twelve three-point attempts.

Caris LeVert was 5/13 from the field and had 15 points in the loss.

What happens now?

The Indiana Pacers still have their own lottery pick, so the next most important date for the team would be May. 17th, where they find out where their pick will end up being. They sit at 5th in the inverse standings with a 10.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick.

There are still ways the Pacers can get creative in moving up in this year’s draft, as they did last season to get Isaiah Jackson. They had the 31st pick last year and used it along with Aaron Holiday to move up and they have another 31st pick this year from Houston.

I believe the Pacers are wanting to shake this roster up and had big plans to use the Cavs ‘ pick this season to help reshape the team. So, I wouldn’t be surprised to see draft night trades or others to help get them another first-rounder this season.

If the Cavs’ pick that the Pacers own doesn’t convey next season either (Cleveland misses the playoffs in 2022-23) then it turns into two different second-round selections which are less than ideal for a rebuilding team.

An unfortunate turn of events for two franchises heading in different directions with bad luck throughout their seasons. The Pacers still have ways to move up in this draft and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them be aggressive in doing so to make up for the pick that didn’t convey.

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