Indiana Pacers Post-Draft Grades: the good, the bad, and the Aussie

The Indiana Pacers drafted three players in the 2024 NBA Draft, all in the second round. Let's take a minute to grade these selections.
2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
5 of 5

Final Grade

It's pretty hard grading a draft full of second-round picks as highly as I am about to, but when you look at the value Indiana got and what these guys can provide in the short-term and especially the long-term, it is hard not to give Kevin Pritchard and Chad Buchanan a pat on the back for how they handled this.

Starting with Johnny Furphy, it is always great when you can get a first-round talent for a second-round price, and that is exactly what the Pacers got. Furphy can contribute right away as a better version of Doug McDermott with his standstill shooting, explosiveness, and hustle on the boards. Additionally, Indiana is the perfect place for him to develop shot creation and ball-handling abilities, which will most likely come along slowly.

As for picks 49 and 50, Enrique Freeman and Tristan Newton are definitely seen as projects, despite their advanced ages, but they definitely have futures in the league. Newton was one of the most important players for the back-to-back National Champions and Freeman was the best player, defender, and rebounder in the MAC Conference, ultimately leading Akron to only their sixth NCAA Tournament berth ever. Overall, two winners were selected with Indiana's back-to-back picks and while they might not produce right away, they can certainly have good NBA careers in the near future.

It is not often that I can say this, and I don't even believe this is a homer take. This might be the only time in NBA Draft history, where I can say that the 35th, 49th, and 50th picks can all have lengthy NBA careers. Furphy and Freeman have notable skill sets that give them a niche in the league for long, and Newton is exactly the all-around, jack-of-all-trades leader type of player that teams want coming off the bench and occasionally starting.

Overall, this was a fantastic draft for the Pacers. Despite having no first-round picks, they made the most of their selections and got three gems regardless. It will be interesting to see how these guys progress as Pacers and how they plan to be brought along by Rick Carlisle and the rest of the coaching staff.

One thing is for sure, though, the Pacers came out of the 2024 NBA Draft much richer than how they entered it.


Final Grade: A (Couldn't ask for better value)