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INDIANAPOLIS – In Thursday’s second round, the Pacers took a player they had in their building just a few weeks back.

With pick No. 50, the Pacers selected Missouri State forward Alize Johnson, who stands 6-9 and 212 pounds.

Here are 3 things to know about Johnson:

-Rebounding Machine: A tenacious rebounder is how one would describe the 6-9 Johnson. In his two years at Missouri State, Johnson averaged 10.6 rebounds and then 11.6 boards this past season. Johnson finished 5th in the nation last year in rebounding and was 8th in double-doubles with 20. This is a guy who had 12 games with at least 14 rebounds during his senior season at Missouri State. Johnson came from the junior college ranks before heading to the Missouri Valley Conference, where he was an all-league player. It’s not as if Johnson is some freak athletically snatching every board, but Kevin Pritchard said the 6-9 forward has a special knack for rebounding out of his area.

-No Stretch 4: Johnson is not the stretch 4 the Pacers are seeking. In fact, Johnson’s three-point percentage dipped to 28 percent this past season. He took 43 more 3’s in his senior season, but made just 1 more three, after connecting on 38 percent of his shots from behind the arc in 2016-17. Johnson is unique on the offensive end though in that he’s a bit of a point forward. He can handle the ball, initiate offense and is a solid passer. Pritchard says the Pacers will work on fixing a mechanical flaw in Johnson’s shot as they try to round out his offensive game.

-Insurance For Thad?: With the Thad Young decision still up in the air for his return next season, the Pacers did find another forward in Johnson. Projecting to next season, the Pacers don’t expect Johnson to play many minutes, if any at all. However, Johnson is a guy the Pacers view as someone who can do the dirty work during those regular season lulls that always rise up. If you combined T.J. Leaf and Johnson, you would have quite the 4-man. A player like Johnson was needed for the Pacers as they now have someone who can do the dirty work and create an extra possession or two on his own. Just look at Tristan Thompson’s impact in Game 7 of the Pacers/Cavs series to see how such a player can change a game.

 

Interesting Fact: Johnson has grown 12 inches from the time he enrolled in high school, hence where some of his ball-handling/passing skills come from despite standing 6-9.