Indiana Pacers Post-Draft Grades: The Good, The Bad, and the Guards

Jarace Walker, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Jarace Walker, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Jarace Walker  (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Jarace Walker  (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Jarace Walker (Round 1, Pick 8):

Well, we got our guy, didn’t we?

Indiana clearly had their eye on Walker for a while now and it was no secret that they were interested. As the 7th pick neared, and Walker’s name was not called, it was looking increasingly likely that he would be coming to Indiana. However, mine and probably the entire state of Indiana’s jaws were left on the floor when, seemingly out of nowhere, Indiana selected Bilal Coulibaly of Metropolitans 92 in the French League. Prior to the draft, Indiana showed little to no interest in Bilal, so this obviously came as a shocker to the fans. However, this would end up making much more sense as soon after, it was reported that Indiana was trading the rights to Bilal Coulibaly to the Washington Wizards for the 8th pick in the draft and a pair of future second-round picks, as Woj reported.

This ended up being a huge relief, as it was looking like Indiana managed to not only get their guy but steal a few second-round picks away from Washington while doing so.

Now, I hope Bilal Coulibaly has a great career in the NBA and all, but he is not Jarace Walker. Walker has been on the top of my draft board ever since the lottery, and he has been highly touted by multiple people in the Pacers’ organization. In my post-lottery article where I looked at who the Pacers could be targeting with the 7th overall pick, Jarace Walker was the one that stood out to me the most, as I stated that he was no-doubt selection if he was still on the board come pick 7. The main reason why I did say this is because Walker fits the Pacers’ biggest need, which is a power forward that can start next to Myles Turner and that can complement his skill set well. Walker is no doubt this player, as his physical tools (6’8″ with a 7’2″ wingspan and a 38-inch vertical) along with his defensive ability and surprising finesse around the rim, he is the quintessential power forward/small ball center of today’s NBA. While Walker may not be a stretch 4 exactly, he can still step out and hit the 3 occasionally, as he shot 34.7% on 2.8 attempts a game at Houston. However, with Myles Turner coming off a year averaging 18 points per game on 37% from 3, Walker does not necessarily need to be a marksman for this pairing to work. With this pick, Indiana finally gets the player they’ve been wanting alongside Myles for years now, a true power forward. While Domantas Sabonis was obviously fantastic for Indiana, he was very clearly playing out of position, as he and Myles swapped the center and power forward roles on offense and defense and the offense suffered as a result. However, with Jarace Walker slotting in at the 4 spot, Myles can fully commit to being a true center and Walker can do what he does best, which is a little bit of everything.

If it hasn’t been obvious by now, Jarace Walker was the perfect pick for Indiana at 8, and the fact that the Pacers were able to go one slot lower to take him while getting some extra cash and picks just makes it all the sweeter

Final Grade: A (Best available pick. Pacers got a good one here)