The Pacers started the 2023 NBA draft turning some heads by picking a player that was on nobody’s radar for them headed into their seventh pick, only to find out the pick had been traded to the Washington Wizards. They then followed that up by picking one of the best players for them in Jarace Walker.
There were murmurs that the Pacers might try and trade up to have a higher second pick, but nothing like that seemed to materialize. Thus the team was on the clock for their second pick of the night at 26. What were they going to do?
There were a handful of high-end talents left on the board such as Leonard Miller and Nick Smith Jr., so fans were wondering who they might go with. But they wouldn’t have to wait long as the Pacers drafted Ben Sheppard, a name that many fans probably hadn’t heard of. If you look at The Ringers 2023 NBA draft guide, they had him at 34, so it definitely was a reach in the minds of many NBA analysts.
Many in Pacers circles though still feel that it was a solid pick for the Pacers and a player that could really fill in as a rotational piece for the team.
However, he plays the two-guard position, where the Pacers already have too many players.
So what should we take away from the Pacers first-round draft pick selections?
The first pick was a great choice, but one that was expected (after the trading with Washington confusion). The second pick was a bit of a confusing choice as a shooting guard. And while shooting is always valuable, many including myself, figured that the team would try and draft multiple forwards to fill out the wing depth across the team.
This could signal future moves with the team however, so keep an eye to the NBA insiders to see if Indy plans on making some future moves.