3 Biggest downsides to Indiana Pacers not playing Jarace Walker

Jarace Walker hasn't gotten many minutes this year, and these are some issues it's causing the Indiana Pacers.

Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Pacers rotation
Indiana Pacers, Jarace Walker, Pacers rotation / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 4
Next

2. Defensive struggles and size

Aaron Nesmith's need to guard bigger players is just a small part of why Indiana's defense is floundering so far. It is no secret how bad the Pacers have been on the defensive end of the floor, routinely ranking among the bottom feeders of the league in defensive stats, which oftentimes hide their remarkable offensive productivity.

An entire book can be written on Indiana's struggles on defense and what the Pacers can do to strengthen up on that end, but in their losses, one glaring issue pops up, that being height.

With Jalen Smith returning to the rotation after injury, the Pacers now have a grand total of four players above 6'9", a glaring problem in this league even to this day. While small ball has become increasingly more popular, the Pacers cannot exactly call themselves a small ball team with three traditional centers in the rotation in Myles Turner, Smith, and Isaiah Jackson.

That said, Indiana needs some height. It seems as if a new forward on the opposing team has a career night against Indiana this season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo's 64-point night still fresh in the minds of fans.

Opposing forwards have had a field day with the Pacers, and that is directly correlated to Indiana's sheer lack of height, with Obi Toppin being the only non-center above 6'8".

This has unfairly landed Myles Turner as the most recent laughing stock of NBA fans, with many placing the blame on him for these forward performances, despite the forward matchups often being given to Bruce Brown and Aaron Nesmith, who are just not tall enough to guard bigger players most of the time, as good of defenders as they may be.

This is where Jarace Walker comes in. Despite being relatively undersized, Walker is a true power forward who has experience guarding bigger players at the collegiate level. Coming into the league, defense was one of his main traits, as he gave opponents fits at Houston with his size and stocky build.

Despite some early struggles, you have to imagine this would translate well to the NBA given some time. Weighing in at 240 points and being extremely physical on defense, Walker may not completely alleviate Indiana's problem with forwards. Still, he would most certainly help, especially with Obi Toppin not being the best defender against most players.

Provided some time and growing into his frame at the NBA level, Jarace could develop into one of the most brutal "linebacker" type players to stick on forwards that Myles Turner is too busy to guard. After all, one of Turner's best fits in the frontcourt was with Thaddeus Young from 2016 to 2018.

Despite also being undersized at the power forward position, Young made up for it with physicality and knowing his role on defense, similar to the type of player Walker could be if he potentially moves into the starting lineup.