After finishing in 13th place in the eastern conference and 26th overall in the league during the regular season, the Indiana Pacers clinched an excellent draft lottery pick. They earned the 6th overall pick in the NBA 2022 draft. Ideally, the goal was to acquire the 1st pick. Realistically, they only had a 10.50% chance of earning it, but the Pacers will have to settle with the 6th. It will be intriguing to see what direction the Pacers decide to go in this year’s draft. Here’s a look at the potential routes that the Indiana Pacers can take with their lottery draft pick.
Jaden Ivey, G Purdue University
The hometown kid, Jaden Ivey residing from south bend, Indiana, would be an excellent pick for the Indiana Pacers. Ivey showed that he has a lot of potential after having a fantastic sophomore season for the Purdue Boilermakers. On the season, he averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 3.1APG. To top his stellar stats from this past season, Ivey also made the 2021-22 All-Big Ten Men’s Basketball first-Team.
How would he fit?
There are plenty of reasons why the Pacers would benefit from drafting the talented guard from Purdue. He is a combo guard with decent size standing at 6’4″ and weighing just under 200 lbs. Ivey’s size will match up well in the backcourt with Malcolm Brogdon or Tyrese Haliburton.
In addition to that, he will provide the Pacers’ offense with another person capable of attacking the rim. In Ivey’s last season at Purdue, he shot roughly a third of his shots at the rim and made 68% of those attempts. Now, Ivey struggles at firing midrange and three-point shots, but he’s improved since his freshman season.
Ivey’s game compares to Anthony Edwards and Donovan Mitchell. These are two NBA players who have continued to show improvement the further their careers go. If the Indiana Pacers do draft the combo guard from Purdue, then it’ll be fascinating to see his potential with the current backcourt of the Pacers.
Keegan Murray, F Iowa University
Keegan Murray from the Iowa Hawkeyes improved in almost every aspect of his game. He most notably tripled the number of points he averaged from last year to the past season. On the season, Murray averaged 23.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG. 1.9 BPG and 1.3 SPG. Murray did all this while leading his team to their third big ten tournament championship title in school history. This instance was the Hawkeyes’ first win since the 2006 season.
To top off, bringing his school another big-ten tournament championship title, he earned himself the 2022 big-ten tournament MVP. These are a few of Murray’s accomplishments, proving he’s worthy of being a lottery draft pick for the Indiana Pacers.
How would he fit?
Keegan Murray stands at 6’8″ and 225 lbs, which would give the Pacers a massive boost for their lineup at the forward position. Murray’s skill set and frame compare to current NBA players Otto Porter Jr. and Michael Porter Jr. Like the players mentioned, Murray can stretch the floor, as he shot 39.8% from behind the arc. His shooting percentage from the three this past season improved from his first year’s shooting percentage, as he shot 29.6%. Lastly, Murray recorded the most points this season by any college player, finishing with 822 points.
Murray would be an exceptional addition to the Pacers, as he would instantly boost the team offensively and defensively. In addition to being a stretch four, Murray has shown that he’s a good defender, as he almost averaged 2 BPG this past season. Assuming that all of his college success translates into the NBA, we could be looking at a future two-way player.
AJ Griffin, SF Duke University
The freshman forward from Duke University, AJ Griffin, will be a significant asset if the Indiana Pacers pick him up. To give an image of his game, he’s been compared to players like Jimmy Butler and Gary Trent Jr. Griffin has the NBA player physique, as he stands at 6’6″ and weighs a little over 220 lbs.
During Griffin’s first year at Duke, he started the season on the bench as he dealt with a right ankle injury. Once Griffin had recovered from his injury, there was no turning back. Everyone around the country saw why he was considered a lottery draft pick. Griffin averaged 10.4 points per game in his only season at Duke while shooting 49.3% from the field and 44.7% behind the arc. Griffin’s remarkable freshman season earned him a selection on the ACC all-rookie team.
How would he fit?
Offensively, there isn’t a thing that Griffin can’t do. Griffin was one of the best three-point shooting forward during college. He ranked in the top 15 out of all the forwards who qualified for this statistic. In addition to that, Griffin is a three-way scorer, meaning he can pull up from the mid-range or take it to the rim for a layup or even shoot beyond the arc.
If the Indiana Pacers decide to select AJ Griffin, it’ll be a tremendous pickup, as he’ll mesh terrifically with the current lineup. Griffin’s size allows him to play multiple positions. He can play the shooting guard and small forward positions, which is beneficial when toying with the lineup.
If the Pacers ever want a shooter’s lineup, they can go with their new addition AJ Griffin, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, & TJ Warren. Griffin would be a fantastic addition to a lineup like this because of his ball penetration when attacking the rim. This instance will free up space for the shooters around him to do what they do best: shoot. Notably, they will also be able to switch everything defensively because of each player’s size. Overall, Griffin’s addition will improve the Pacers’ offense significantly.