Three young Pacers who solidified their spot on the team after the playoffs

After the playoffs, it is safe to say that these three young Pacers are not going anywhere.
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Isaiah Jackson

Heading into the 2023-24 season, the battle between Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith for who was going to be the Pacers' backup big man was an interesting topic. Smith had a rough 2023 campaign, which jeopardized his spot on the team for the future, but he seemed to pick it up to start the next season. With added muscle, a better jumper, and more aggressiveness down low, Jalen Smith looked to be Indiana's big man of the future.

That was, until around the halfway point of the season. During Smith's absence due to injury, Isaiah Jackson took over as the backup center and put in a very admirable effort filling in. His efficiency inside, ability to block shots, rebound the ball, and hustle hard on every possession was seen as very valuable to a Pacers team that lacked consistent rebounding and hustle all season. His play was so impressive that he was quickly thrust into Indiana's playoff rotation over Smith, despite Smith recovering from his injury by then.

After not playing much in the first-round series against Milwaukee, Jackson was given the premier bench big-man role against New York due to his physicality against centers like Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa.

Averaging around 12 minutes per game through seven games, Jackson made the most of his time on the floor, averaging close to six points on 65% from the field and three rebounds with almost a block and a half per game. These numbers do not seem like much, but they were just enough to offset the physicality of New York's big men and give Indiana the strength advantage they needed in the final two games of the series.

While Jackson was less productive in the Boston series, only averaging 10 minutes per game with 2.3 points on 36% shooting with 3.8 rebounds, the second-round stretch solidified his spot on the team long-term. Myles Turner is fantastic, but he gets criticized quite often for being 'soft' and shying away from contact, which is what makes Jackson the perfect bruising big man to back him up.

Additionally, Jackson is signed on for the next season, while Jalen Smith is not. With Smith only playing seven games through the playoffs and 38 minutes total in addition to having a player option for the following season, it is increasingly more likely that he will either be a trade piece or just walk from the team to pursue a contract elsewhere.