Scenario 2: The Realistic Scenario for the Pacers
This is the part where we climb back down to earth a bit. Apologies for getting your hopes up initially, but we all have to be optimistic.
With yesterday’s game against the Knicks in the books, the Pacers currently sit with the 8th best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery, and according to Tankathon, have a 32.9% chance at getting the 8th pick in the draft and a 31.1% chance at getting the 9th pick in the draft. This is a surprising step down from the previous year’s lottery, where Indiana was looking at around the 7th pick but moved up a bit to the 5th pick to select Bennedict Mathurin (Note that the coin flip to decide who has better odds between the Pacers and the Spurs has not happened yet).
I am expecting something similar to happen this year, as the talent around the 8th pick is still pretty intriguing, as you have guys like Cam Whitmore (pictured), Taylor Hendricks, Anthony Black, and maybe even Jarace Walker. Now while none of these guys possess the insane measurables of Victor Wembanyama or the raw talent of Scoot Henderson, it would be a crime to completely negate these players and write them off as just consolation prizes. After all, a lot of people did that for Bennedict Mathurin and he turned out alright, didn’t he?
Keep in mind that the 2023 NBA draft is one of the deepest drafts in a while, and any one of these players would be a great addition to the current Pacers roster. While they might not be guys you could build your team around, they will certainly add to the core and boost a future playoff run and get Indiana some attention for the first time in a while.
Cam Whitmore is probably the most interesting guy among these players to me, which is why he is pictured above. Standing at 6’7″ and weighing about 230 pounds with a 7’0″ wingspan, Whitmore would be perfect to slide right next to Myles Turner at the 4, with his explosiveness and energy fitting very nicely with Myles’ skill set in the frontcourt. Whitmore will also still be 18 years old on Draft Day 2023, which would make him an uncharacteristic young pick for the Pacers and a fresh face in an already very young core.
Whitmore however, is not the be-all and end-all for the Pacers, as guys like Hendricks, Black, and Walker would also be fine picks. Combine these picks with the Pacers making smart moves to keep their roster young and fresh in the off-season and throughout the 2023-24 season, and you might just have a future contender in the works!