Indiana Pacers: Isaiah Jackson is an important piece in this core

Isaiah Jackson - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah Jackson - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers made a trade during last year’s NBA draft that proved to be more substantial as the 2021-22 season progressed. The team traded up in the draft for the pick that ended up being Isaiah Jackson, moving on from former first-rounder Aaron Holiday.

With two picks in the first round in last year’s draft, the Indiana Pacers have started to add key pieces to their new young core.

Isaiah Jackson was an addition I thought interesting once the team made the move to get him. At the time, the Pacers had Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, and Goga Bitadze in the center room. So, bringing in another center/forward was odd at the time but now is proving to be rather useful after seeing the events of this past season.

Jackson’s season was interesting, to say the least. He started the year by avoiding severe injury to his knee, then traveled to Fort Wayne before making a consistent role on this Pacers team. His role really expanded after the NBA trade deadline, as the center spot was wide open after Sabonis left the team and Myles Turner was out with injury.

Jackson unlocked a new part of this offense which was set mainly above the rim. He is a lob threat in every sense and pairing that with a passing phenom like Tyrese Haliburton should only have fans excited for seasons to come.

Chris Duarte even gets into the mix in the same game with a brilliant pass. Jackson makes such a difficult task look effortless and he may be the only Pacer currently rostered capable of such play.

Tyrese Haliburton has given his new teammate high praise since joining the Pacers. The two have also been working out together in Indiana this offseason.

"“Isaiah really flies. I think he has the potential to be one of the biggest lob threats in this league so just keep learning each other and him learning how I like him to set screens. We’re playing against different coverages every night, so just keep learning the game, keep thinking the game the right way where he is getting closer and that’s helping”."

This season is where I see a lot of growth for Jackson who is going into the year with a role on this team and a coach who knows his offensive and defensive potential. There was a seven-game stretch in Feb. and Mar. where Isaiah Jackson averaged 2.9 blocks per game.

Perspective: Myles Turner was averaging 2.8 before getting hurt. He had a total of 20 blocks in those 7 games.

I don’t know if Goga Bitadze will be back on the team next season but it was noteworthy that Jackson was the starting center to finish the year instead of the more experienced Bitadze. I think Carlisle sees Jackson as the backup five and Goga as the third option if they were to be ranked.

If not playing with Haliburton in a starting group, T.J. McConnell is as good as they get when it comes to finding teammates and connecting on the pass. It is hard to foretell what the roster construction will be like before the draft, but the Indiana Pacers’ Front Office is adding the right pieces. They will need to land big with the No. 6 pick in this upcoming draft.

Next. Reports indicate an aggressive Front Office ahead of draft. dark