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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Ben Sheppard

When the Indiana Pacers drafted Ben Sheppard with the 26th overall pick last year, they were probably not expecting him to factor into a playoff rotation anytime soon, especially with Rick Carlisle's reputation for not playing rookies heavy minutes.

Surprisingly, Sheppard was a standout performer in Indiana's regular season and slowly worked his way into a playoff rotation going forward. In the first round against Milwaukee, not only did Sheppard play, but he excelled.

Snatching the backup shooting guard spot due to Bennedict Mathurin's injury in the second half of the season, Sheppard averaged close to 18 minutes in the Bucks series and averaged around six points and three rebounds on a scorching-hot 50% from the field and 50% from deep to match. Out of all the young Pacers to get playoff minutes, Sheppard was perhaps the most surprising due to his discipline on defense and ability to shoot the ball whenever needed.

Sheppard continued this hot streak with increased minutes against New York. In seven games against the Knicks, he played around 20 minutes per contest and once again averaged around six points and three rebounds, this time on 48% from the field and 45% from deep, slightly less elite numbers but still very impressive.

Moreover, Sheppard gave the Pacers a few things they were desperately looking for, which was solid defense on Jalen Brunson. Brunson was tearing the Indiana defense apart in the first two games of the series as well as Game 5, but thanks to increased defensive pressure, some from Sheppard, Indiana was able to slow Brunson down just enough to take the series.

Against Boston, Sheppard played by far the most minutes he played all season with about 22 per game, even starting the final two games after Tyrese Haliburton went down with his hamstring injury. Unfortunately, this was where Sheppard's luck ran out as he only averaged three points and three rebounds on 28% from the field and a mere 8% from deep.

Despite Indiana's offense being on fire for most of the series, Sheppard was basically the only Pacer to not get his offense going. However, his defense was still solid as he did everything he could on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, even getting a few key stops down the stretch.


Either way, Sheppard has secured his spot on this team. At just under 23 years old and only making just over $10 million for the next three years provided Indiana accepts his two-year team option at the end of the 2025 season, Sheppard is a cheap 3-and-D addition to the rotation who can slide in and play any role, even with Bennedict Mathurin returning for next season.