NBA Mock Draft: Surprising predictions have Pacers picking “TJ Leaf 2.0”

TJ Leaf, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
TJ Leaf, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images) /

After the lottery odds were set, NBC released their newest mock draft and the results are surprising for the Pacers. The mock draft goes off of the lottery odds, because of course, we don’t know the actual pick order yet. However, it is most likely that the Pacers are going to be picking 7th overall, although this could change up or down a bit.

What the Pacers decide to do with the pick however, is completely waste it in NBC’s view with the following picks order for the top ten:

  1. Pistons: Victor Wembanyama
  2. Rockets: Scoot Henderson
  3. Spurs: Brandon Miller
  4. Hornets: Amen Thompson
  5. Blazers: Ausar Thompson
  6. Magic: Jarace Walker
  7. Pacers: Gradey Dick
  8. Wizards: Anthony Black
  9. Jazz: Nick Smith Jr.
  10. Mavericks: Cam Whitmore

And while some scouts may be high on Gradey, many are not. And if we compare him to the biggest draft bust of the last 10 years for the Pacers (TJ Leaf) the results are actually fairly similar.

TJ Leaf at UCLA: 16 points, eight rebounds, 2 assists, 61% FG, 47% FG3 at the forward position.

Gradey Dick at Kansas: 14 points, five rebounds, 2 assists, 44% FG, 40% FG3 at the forward position.

Actually, Gradey is worse in a lot of statistical categories than Leaf was. And while they are certainly different players, Gradey might be one of the less desirable options at the power forward spot because of his frame as well as his playstyle.

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The Pacers need an enforcer that can battle in the paint at power forward given the amount of shooting they already have.

It would be good for their power forward to be able to shoot well, but they really need someone that can also body up large power forwards like LeBron James. They already have quite a bit of shooting between Haliburton, Hield, and Mathurin. What we need is size. If we pass up on a player like Cam Whitmore for Gradey Dick, we will be kicking ourselves for years to come.

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