The Indiana Pacers' rebuild is going pretty well with All-Star Tyrese Haliburton and impressive rookie guards Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard highlighting the young core. Armed with plenty of draft ammunition, the 2023 NBA Draft is another place where they could take a big step toward returning to the playoffs.
Since the Pacers have the luxury of three first-round picks, including the seventh overall selection, they are in a position to wheel and deal on draft night. They are reportedly interested in trading up, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.
“The rumbles are rising in volume that Indiana, which holds three first-round picks in the June 22 draft at No. 7, No. 26 and No. 29, will be looking to move higher up the board on draft night,” writes Stein. Looking to go even higher into the top 10 or trying to get closer to the end of the lottery range would both be very helpful.
In addition to those three first-round selections, the Pacers also have two second-round picks (no. 32 and no. 55) to use as they maneuver the draft. The possibilities for trades are endless. Where Indiana could really use help is on defense, where they were one of the worst teams in the league. While the offense needs work, big steps forward from Nembhard and Mathurin can play a big part in that.
It's tough to tell right now which players will be available at the seventh pick, assuming the Pacers hold onto that pick. They could potentially land a super athletic forward in Cam Whitmore or a strong defensive forward with shooting upside in Jarace Walker. Ausar Thompson, another highly-touted athlete that many believe will be a great defensive wing, could fall to them at seven or the Pacers could trade up for him.
The Pacers are fortunate to have multiple first-round picks in a drat with so many wings, a position they could need some help in. Putting more athleticism around Haliburton should help Indiana's high-pace offense. While they should use the seventh pick to draft whoever they believe is the best available — high-end talent is always more important than proper fit — they can use their later picks to go after specific archetypes they want to add.