Indiana Pacers Preseason Grades: Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard

Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Ben Sheppard
Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Ben Sheppard /
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The Indiana Pacers had a very eventful 2023 NBA Draft, and fans have just recently gotten to see those players on an NBA court for the very first time.

Going into the preseason, excitement was at an all-time high for Pacers fans as the team looked brand new, and the direction going into the season was clear: Compete for a playoff spot for the first time since basically 2020.

Part of this excitement was due to the Pacers’ 2023 NBA Draft haul, where they had two first-round selections, some second-rounders, and free-agent signings.

Grade the Pacers Preseason: Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard

Most notably, the Pacers selected Bilal Coulibaly with the seventh pick of the draft and immediately traded him to Washington for pick eight and their targeted player, Houston’s Jarace Walker.

After the initial confusion of the trade wore off, Pacers fans rejoiced at getting the guy they wanted, as Walker was at the top of Indiana Pacers fans’ draft boards since the draft lottery, where it was revealed they got the seventh pick.

In addition to Walker at pick eight, Indiana also selected Belmont’s Ben Sheppard with the 26th pick, rounding out an interesting first round by getting a solid 3-and-D player and filling out their burgeoning wing rotation.

Indiana rounded out their draft by taking Mojave King (who did not play in preseason) and Isaiah Wong in the second round, as well as signing Kentucky star Oscar Tshiebwe in undrafted free agency.

At the end of the night, the Pacers had five new rookies to give minutes to, four of whom appeared in the preseason, and two who received significant minutes to show their stuff.

But for now, let’s focus on the first-rounders and give both Walker and Sheppard grades for their preseason performances.