Bennedict Mathurin- Handle, Playmaking, and Defense
Mathurin had a stellar rookie season for the Pacers but there’s still work to be done. If he’s improved his ball handling and playmaking skills, he’ll be much more of a threat on offense. Teams forced him to take too many tough shots inside the paint last season, so adding a playmaking wrinkle to his game would allow him to spray the ball to shooters after he gets two feet in the paint. The same goes for his ball-handling abilities. A tighter handle would allow him to better navigate through traffic when driving to the rim. He’ll likely be asked to do more of these things during Summer League.
Mathurin has all the tools to be an outstanding defender, but he has to apply them. Coach Rick Carlisle often pulled him out of late-game lineups in favor of better defenders. If Mathurin is going to be a cornerstone of this Pacers’ team, he needs to take a step on defense.
Andrew Nembhard- Balanced decision-making as a scorer and facilitator
Nembhard also had a dazzling rookie season. He showed his potential as a true point guard and shocked fans by proving himself as one of the best rookies in the league. There’s speculation that Nembhard may dethrone TJ McConnell as the Pacers’ second-unit point guard, and hope that his decision-making from this lead guard position is balanced. As a capable shot-creator both for himself and others, sometimes it becomes challenging for him to find the middle ground between the two. Nembhard is a leader on this Summer League team, and it provides a great opportunity for him to explore this delicate balance.
Isaiah Jackson- Clean defense
Jackson’s role with the Pacers has been pretty murky in both years of his career. He was drafted as a bit of a project player, but he quickly found himself on a roster with a log jam at his position. He’s playing in Summer League as a veteran leader, but he can use the opportunity to showcase his own development as well.
Jackson had a hard time staying on the court and out of foul trouble last season. Summer League is a pressure-free environment for him to exhibit clean yet physical defensive strategies for the Pacers’ coaching staff. If he shows he can be reliable on defense, he may get a better opportunity for minutes in the rotation this upcoming season.