The 2022 NBA Draft is now a literal flick away, and the Indiana Pacers have a golden chance to make this iteration of the draft their best one yet.
Owning the sixth overall pick, the Blue and Gold will be armed with their highest selection in the draft for more than 30 years. Aside from that, the team also owns picks No. 31 and No. 60 in the second round as things currently stand.
With all those considered, what could the best best-case scenario look like for the Pacers in the draft?
Imagining the best-case scenario for the Indiana Pacers in the 2022 NBA Draft
With draft night tabbed to involve a whirlwind of moves and trades by different teams, a lot of things could transpire before the Indiana Pacers make their pick.
Of course, moving up in the draft is very ideal. Teams in the top three are extremely unlikely to package their picks, but the clubs picking above the Pacers could be more open to negotiate a deal for a swap. In this case, these are the best things that could happen to Indiana:
- The Pacers manage to trade one of their veterans for a low lottery pick.
- Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson, and to a lesser extent, Oshae Brissett, remain untouchable.
- Indiana’s front office uses that pick and consolidates it with their own first-round selection to move up to No. 4 or No. 5 via Sacramento or Detroit.
- Alternatively, the Pacers hold on to their new lower lottery pick and stay put at No. 6.
In the third scenario, the Pacers will also be well-served, especially when the following chips fall on their favor:
- The Kings go for forward Keegan Murray or make a swing pick with Shaedon Sharpe at No. 4.
- The Pistons take a high-risk, massive-reward gamble with Sharpe or make a surprise selection with Bennedict Mathurin at No. 5
- Jaden Ivey becomes available for Indiana at No. 6 and the Pacers go for fit using their “other” lottery pick.
- Alternatively, the Pacers take Murray or another highly-touted and fast-rising prospect in Mathurin, who should be available at that juncture.
Really, the Pacers have a lot of exciting options even if they stay put at No. 6, though moving up is better as long as they get a willing lottery team to take on, say, Malcolm Brogdon. On the trade front, here are ideal scenarios for the team:
- Again, teams like Washington or New York trade for Brogdon, levying their lottery pick in return.
- While less likely, Myles Turner is moved to a lottery team for their own lotto pick as part of a bigger deal, with a young player in return.
- Buddy Hield is not a priority to be moved, but he could be moved as a sweetener in a bigger package to acquire a lottery pick.
Meanwhile, in the second round, Indiana has the following options:
- Hope that one of the projected first-round prospects fall to the second round, where the Pacers will be selecting first at No. 31.
- Alternatively, Indiana packages its No. 31 pick for a lower pick and another future second-round pick, or two lower second-round picks, if their targets are off the board. Teams with multiple second-rounders include Orlando, Sacramento, Minnesota (3), Cleveland, and Portland. Their No. 60 pick could be used to further incentivize teams.
- Also, the Pacers can stay put and make a hard swing pick at No. 60, or a stash pick.
Overall, the Indiana Pacers have a multitude of options to approach the 2022 NBA Draft, though hopefully, the best chips fall for the Blue and Gold as franchise aims to make the most out of this eventful draft.