Trade Up Candidate #2: Indiana Pacers: Picks #7, #26, #29, #32, #55
After drafting Ben Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, while also getting an entire season of play from Tyrese Haliburton, the Indiana Pacers saw a ten-win jump in their record this year. While it didn’t result in an appearance in the play-in, the team should feel confident that they are on the right track to return to the postseason.
The team has a few spots on their roster sewn up, like point guard and center, but there is a massive hole at either forward position for either a premium veteran or a stud young player to fit and take on the starting role. Although they should be able to grab quality players for the forward positions at seven or with one of their later-round picks, they don’t need to wait.
The Pacers were 26th in defensive rating and ranked 24th in rebounds per game last season, which highlights the need for an impact player to put next to Myles Turner. With his pre-draft buzz, it’s likely that Jarace Walker, a player who would be a marvelous fit for the team, will already be gone by pick seven due to his defensive dominance:
The team could package some of their picks to move up to Houston or Detroit’s pick to ensure they can grab Walker, given both teams are in the midst of long rebuilds and may want to consolidate as much talent as they can.
Meanwhile, if the team was feeling extremely bullish about Brandon Miller and felt like he had star potential, the Pacers could push all of their picks into a package to try to move up to trade with the Hornets, who may also be looking for quantity in this draft. Either way, Indiana is uniquely positioned to trade up to fill one of their glaring holes.