The Indiana Pacers have the 7th-best odds at winning the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery, which gives them a 71% chance at picking anywhere from 7th to 11th. A drop in the draft order would be disappointing, but there are quality players throughout this year’s lottery.
Stay at Pick 7 (19.7% odds) – Jarace Walker, F, Houston OR Cam Whitmore, F, Villanova
Jarace Walker is the defensive wing presence the Pacers should be seeking in the offseason. Though his offense is less refined, he has an NBA-ready body and enough feel to finish through contact near the rim. He’s an unproven shooter, but the Pacers should opt for a defensive-minded player that can fix some glaring weaknesses. Walker’s defensive abilities and potential to be a star on that side of the ball will be enough for the Pacers at pick 7.
Cam Whitmore has a considerable amount of offensive potential based off of his athletic ability and 6’7″ frame. He’s explosive and has shown a good understanding of off-ball movement, but it could take a generous amount of development to see a defensive impact from him. Whitmore has a safe offensive floor with potential to develop into a decent defensive player.
Trade Potential: 1/10, Offer would have to Wow Pacers
Player potential defines the value of lottery picks, and there are too many players available at pick 7 that have the potential to be great players for the Pacers. Any offer made for the 7th pick would have to really wow the Pacers in order for a trade to happen.
Drop to 8 (35.6% odds) or 9 (13.8% odds)- Cam Whitmore, F, Villanova; Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF OR Gradey Dick, G/F, Kansas
Cam Whitmore is higher on most big boards than Taylor Hendricks, but Hendricks may have the potential to fill more holes in the Pacers’ roster. Whitmore is a more complete player right now, but Hendricks could develop into a reliable two-way wing. The versatility he offers in the position is a major selling point for a team with few true wings. He has generous offensive upside as well as a good understanding of defensive fundamentals. He’s more of a project than the other players, but he may have a higher ceiling due to the fundamental skills he’s already shown at Central Florida.
Gradey Dick doesn’t address any of the Pacers’ defensive concerns, but his success as a movement shooter at Kansas could make him a solid pick if Whitmore and Hendricks are already off the board. With the likely departure of Buddy Hield in the next year, Gradey Dick could slot into Buddy’s role as a volume shooter.
Trade Potential: 2/10, Don’t call unless you’re offering a wing
Like pick 7, picks 8 and 9 have too much future value to be thrown around in trade discussions. Unless the team on the other end of the phone line is offering a proven wing, the Pacers are probably hanging up.
Pick 10 (1.4% odds) and later (<1% odds for pick 11)- Trade Down or Out
Though falling below pick 9 in the draft order would be heartbreaking, the 10th or 11th pick is still a valuable asset. The players available in this range are talented and have good amounts of potential, but the Pacers may find more value in the trade market. A package of all three of their 2023 first round picks and a young asset could net them a wing player that has already proven his worth in the league. If the pick drops to 10 or 11, the Pacers should trade it rather than forcing a stylistic fit with the players left on the board.
That being said, if any of the previously mentioned players remain on the board at pick 10 or 11, the Pacers should keep the pick and take the player. It’s more likely that the players available at those picks are guards, however.
Trade Potential: 8/10, Guard-heavy room
Good draft strategy is to pick the best player available and worry about fit later, but the Pacers already have a crowded guard room. Throwing another young player into the fray just doesn’t make sense. Development would be limited and the player wouldn’t impact winning in his rookie season, making pick 10 or 11 more valuable on the trade market than in the locker room.
As the NBA Draft Lottery creeps closer, it’s important to remember that the Pacers have the greatest chance at picking 8th (35.6%). In a draft as deep as this one, it shouldn’t be difficult to acquire an impactful player in the mid-lottery range. This is a draft saturated with wing players, and some other promising prospects are projecting to be picked in the later first-round (Julian Strawther, Maxwell Lewis, Kris Murray, etc.). Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s Draft Lottery, the Pacers are good position to add new talent to an already-exciting core of young players.
Odds via Tankathon.