3. Isaiah Jackson/Jalen Smith
Before the preseason began, GM Chad Buchanan revealed that the Indiana Pacers would be focusing intently on the battler for backup center minutes behind Myles Turner.
After Turner, the Indiana Pacers have three guys who could legitimately earn regular minutes as the primary backup center – Daniel Theis, Isaiah Jackson, and Jalen Smith.
The Pacers already know what they have in Theis. He’s as solid as they come, fresh off a FIBA World Cup victory with Germany, and can contribute on both ends of the floor.
Jackson and Smith are more unknown variables.
Both have been in Indiana for a couple of seasons, but neither has separated himself from the other, and both could ned up fighting for the minutes should the Pacers decide to go young.
Smith has been very impressive during the preseason, churning out efficient performances and hitting the glass better than ever before. As for Jackson, he’s been so-so.
Jackson is the more athletic option, with a higher defender ceiling, but Smith has the better jump shot, which could help the Pacers replicate some of the production Turner gives them on offense.
This last preseason game could be a huge indicator of who will earn the minutes, and both players will have a final chance to prove themselves before the regular season begins.