Stock fading: Jarace Walker
The Pacers drafted Walker with the eighth overall pick in 2023 and had a void at the four. The 20-year-old entered training camp with a shot to immediately start and play significant minutes, but he lost that role to Obi Toppin.
With Jalen Smith, Myles Turner, and Isaiah Jackson all searching for minutes and coach Carlisle’s desire to play some small ball with one big man on the floor, Walker is not even part of the rotation. He has played in just three of the first 11 games and seen a total of 27 minutes on the floor.
The Pacers rookie is one of two players that were drafted in the top ten not averaging over ten minutes per game. The other eight are all above 16 each night and play key roles. Walker has done little to impress in his limited run and will likely see his most minutes in the G League this season.
Coach Carlisle has a reputation for not playing rookies, but it does not hold up. He had zero issues handing the keys to Luka Doncic in year one on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. Carlisle struggles to play young talent who is not ready to contribute to winning in the NBA, which is where Walker stands.
Pacers fans should not panic. The 20-year-old has years to grow and improve his game. It has been a slow start to his NBA career, but that means little if he keep getting better.