In the upcoming draft, the Pacers will have three first-round selections, assuming they don’t trade any of their pieces away. Currently the picks are project to be at 11, 28, and 29. This gives the Pacers quite a bit of flexibility in building out their roster for future playoff runs.
The biggest area of need for the Pacers will be at the forward position, and more specifically, a power forward capable of defending larger forwards and stretching a defense. While the Pacers have plenty of power forwards, none are good enough naturally at the position to be a starting caliber player at the position on a contending team.
There just so happens to be a prospect currently in the SEC that may be available at the 11th pick for the Pacers in 2023 that could develop into that power forward of the future.
Gregory Jackson II (a freshman playing for the South Carolina Gamecocks), could be the missing piece in the Pacers starting rotation. While young, Jackson has seemingly all the tools to develop into an offensive powerhouse for the Pacers, and may fit with the run and gun offense Indy is currently running. This season Jackson is averaging:
22-23 stats: 15.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 40% FG, 31% FG3
Attributes: 6′ 9″, 215 lbs
Jackson currently has the size to be a power forward, but may need to bulk up to defend larger forwards. He has shown quite a bit on the offensive end to be able to create his own shot and shoot from both the perimeter and drive the lane.
What Jackson needs to work on is defense primarily, something that can be improved upon with time in the NBA. Just remember, defense can be taught- but size can’t.
A decent comp in the NBA right now would be Bam Adebayo in terms of size and play style. Jackson is able to run the court well and be extremely effective in transition. He would fit nearly seamlessly into an offense featuring players such as Haliburton, Mathurin, and Jackson that love to run the court. Where he differs from Adebayo at the moment is defensive prowess, however this can largely be taught.
Jackson has been climbing draft boards so far this year, so it is entirely possible that he gets higher on the board than the 11th pick that the Pacers currently have. That being said, if he is available the Pacers would be wise to take a shot on a Adebayo-like player that is so young (18) that he could still develop greatly in the coming years.
Would you be excited to see GG Jackson II come to the Pacers? Let us know in the comments below!