Now, I’ll be the first one to admit that I do not know the most about Taylor Hendricks. However, I have done some research on him recently and he seems like a very good choice for the Pacers to take with the 7th pick. The Ringer has him ranked exactly #7 in their 2023 NBA Draft guide and has compared him to Jerami Grant and Jaden McDaniels while nbadraft.net has him compared to Pascal Siakam, and from what I’ve seen, these comparisons are reasonable enough. In one scouting report, Hendricks has been labeled as “the ideal modern defender”, and this is tough to argue against, with his 6’9″ frame and excellent lateral quickness and athleticism. While not being the bulkiest guy on the floor, with a weight of 210 pounds, Hendricks may not be able to bang with Embiid and Jokic down low, but with his frame and nose for the ball, he can definitely be a good candidate for a small-ball 5, and someone that can either guard the perimeter or serve as a weak side rim protector, with his 1.7 blocks per game as a freshman at UCF. In addition to being a great defender, Hendricks also shot 39% from the 3-point line as a freshman and has some of the best shot mechanics of the top prospects, while also being a good finisher, who presents matchup problems in the pick-and-roll.
However, Hendricks is not perfect, as he does not have much self-creation ability at this point, and relies more on pure athleticism than touch around the rim when finishing. As a result, he probably won’t be a team’s leading scorer out the gate and still has a lot of room to grow in that area, with his ball handling and off-the-dribble game also needing improvement. With this being said, it’s not like the Pacers are dying for a top scorer in this draft, as they already have Tyrese Haliburton, who averaged 20 points per game this season, and Bennedict Mathurin, who was second in rookie points per game, with 16.7. Hendricks will most likely not be asked to be a go-to guy on offense if he were to be drafted by Indiana, and would be seen as more of a spacer and play finisher, as well as a fantastic defender, given he puts it all together. If drafted, I can see Hendricks slotting in right next to Myles Turner and perhaps giving Isaiah Jackson some more time to come off the bench and develop a bit more.