How the Pacers can maximize their draft capital in 2023

Kevin Pritchard, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Pritchard, Indiana Pacers - Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

First and foremost, congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs for winning the 2023 NBA draft lottery. With the first overall pick, they will have the options this year and will be able to speed up what has already been a quick rebuild for the 5-time champs. Let’s hope the Pacers can win someday.

Will they go with the top guard in Scoot Henderson, the top 3&D wing with all the potential in the world in Brandon Miller, or the prospect from France? Hard to tell at this point but thankfully for Pacers fans, our choice will probably require a lot less thinking. (At least at first)

We were awarded with the 7th pick this year and depending on who you talk to there are about 7 or 8 guys who would be good fits on our roster. At this point, it is just a matter of letting the pick come to us and seeing exactly how the 1-6 selections shake out. Is there a question of could the Pacers move up? Sure, but that’s only if the front office truly has a guy in mind they really want.  Guys like Cam Whitmore or Jarace Walker who both have a really good chance of going as high as pick #5 might be way more appealing to upper management than we know.

But is spending future draft capital/ current players on our roster worth moving up a couple of spots? I don’t think pick # 3 is in play for us as the Blazers are looking for a star. 4-5-6 are possible but would likely require future draft picks to be included, as well as our late picks this year. I believe we are still at least a few years away from contention so trading away future assets doesn’t make too much sense just yet.

But is spending future draft capital/ current players on our roster worth moving up a couple of spots?

What’s a bit more interesting is the thought of trading our late 1st round picks and maybe a player for a pick closer to the middle selections. Again, it will depend on who falls out of the lottery and what teams will be wanting in that 15-20 range. The Hawks, Lakers, Warriors, and Heat will (at this point) be looking to contend next season and may want a cheap perimeter defender in Aaron Nesmith (please don’t do this Kevin) or a young rim runner in Isaiah Jackson.

One of those guys plus 26 and 29 could feasibly move us up which might be a smarter move just in terms of how the roster currently sits. Hard to believe we add 3 first-rounders to the team when there are already 12 guys contracted for next season. Not to mention the 2 other second-rounders who will likely be fighting for a two-way contract. (Best player in the league right now was a second-rounder so they need some thought too).

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At the end of the day, the team is just trying to have the best future possible.

We have a couple of franchise cornerstones, several high-value players that might get even better, and a staff that will develop them. Add on a few more GREAT pieces during the next 2 years and we may just have something here. But, we can’t look too far into the future without thinking about the present, and what we do in this year’s draft is the next step in our blueprint for a championship team.

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