The Indiana Pacers went into the 2022 NBA Draft with a total of three picks and ultimately selected Bennedict Mathurin at sixth overall, the Arizona Wildcats star who impressed heavily last season. In the second round, the Pacers also nabbed Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard and Baylor forward Kendall Brown.
This organization is in a rebuild of some sort. Well, if they actually shop Malcolm Brogdon this offseason and possibly even Myles Turner. Acquiring Tyrese Haliburton at the trade deadline in March was huge and he surely profiles to be the potential franchise player of the future for Indiana. They did a nice job of finding some intriguing pieces in the draft who can score and shoot it while loading up at the wing and guard positions.
Here are the grades for each of the Pacers' picks in the 2022 NBA Draft.
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2022 NBA Draft Grades
Bennedict Mathurin, SG, Arizona – 6th overall
The Pacers were hoping to land Purdue standout Jaden Ivey here, but Mathurin is certainly a promising talent to also bring in. The Canadian is an explosive scorer with impressive bounce and athleticism, leading the Wildcats to the Sweet Sixteen in March. At 6'6″, he's strong and lean, showing the ability to consistently get downhill and finish at will. Mathurin thrives most in transition when he has the chance to run and beat opponents with his quickness and that should definitely translate to the NBA level.
The Montreal native averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists on 45% shooting from the field and 36% from downtown in 2020-21. He's got a smooth stroke and should find himself playing a key part for the Pacers next season. Although Mathurin isn't exactly a shot-creator at this point, he does have a very exciting skill set. He is turnover prone at times and needs to improve defensively, but that's almost always the case with most rookies. The Pacers will be delighted with this pick. Mathurin screams All-Star potential.
Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga – 31st overall
The Pacers went full Canadian mode on Thursday, taking another player from North of the border in Gonzaga PG Andrew Nembhard. He was one of the Zags' most consistent players across the last two years and although Nembhard isn't the most explosive athlete, he is a solid playmaker and scorer. He averaged 11.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds last season in Spokane and will now head to Indiana. Nembhard isn't a starting-caliber player, but he gives the Pacers depth at PG behind Haliburton, which is very important.
Nembhard also played a full four years of college ball, playing his first two seasons at Florida before transferring to Gonzaga. He's got experience and should see decent minutes in his rookie campaign. Aside from Haliburton, Indiana doesn't have a ton of playmaking therefore this is a good pickup for them.
Kendall Brown, SF, Baylor – 48th overall
Brown was a five-star recruit coming out of high school but he struggled to be consistent in his freshman year at Baylor. Nevertheless, the forward has impressive length and potential. He isn't an elite shot-maker or creator, however, Brown is quick off the dribble and explosive at 6'6″. The Pacers need more depth at small forward and this kid can come in and get buckets off the bench.
He was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year after putting up 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game while shooting nearly 60% from the field. Brown is a solid cutter and possesses a very good handle for a player of his size. Because of his athleticism, Brown is more than capable of guarding all five positions and he can also cause some matchup nightmares for opponents.
The Pacers did well with this pick because prior to the college season, Brown was projected to be a first-rounder. More wing talent for Indiana as they look to jumpstart their rebuild.