The Indiana Pacers have the seventh pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA draft. Who are the best prospects they could draft at that spot?
There have been reports that the Pacers want to trade up to the second overall pick to draft Brandon Miller, but what if they cannot get the Charlotte Hornets to agree to a deal?
There are multiple prospects that should be available at pick number seven that would fill their needs.
It is no secret that the Pacers need a wing. This team has more guards than Shawshank. That is why a big wing like Brandon Miller is enticing at two, but there are a few players who could be available at seven who could fill the same hole.
Here are the three best prospects the Pacers could draft with the seventh pick.
1. Jarace Walker
Jarace Walker is a 6’8 wing out of Houston University. Multiple people have mocked him to the Pacers at seven.
When it comes to big, athletic wings who play defense, Walker is as good as anyone in this draft class. The wingspan at 7’2, combined with the height gives the Pacers that NBA teams across the league are looking for. It is not just the length though. Walker is built like a football player.
That build with athleticism should allow him to defend multiple positions. He has the lateral quickness and motor to defend guards and wings and the strength and length to battle bigs underneath.
The versatility that Walker possesses is one of the biggest draws to drafting him. As an off-ball defender he plays the passing lanes well and rotates quickly to defend the rim.
On the offensive end he could be a good threat in the pick and roll. He was strong and physical with the ball on cuts and dives inside; defenders move out of his way, or he rolls right over them.
He can handle the ball as well, so he can make plays for himself out of the short roll. His strength allows him to finish through contact, but he is also skilled enough to finish acrobatically if he needs to.
He is a good passer as well. He moved the ball well in his one year at Houston. The ball never stuck with him, which bodes well for him in the Pacers offense. It was common last year for him to drop the ball off to a teammate in the dunker’s spot, or to throw a skip pass to the weak side corner.
The biggest weakness in his game currently is his shooting ability. He only shot 35% from three at Houston. He only shot 66% from the free throw line, so he does not project as a player who will greatly improve his shooting ability.
2. Cam Whitmore
Cam Whitmore is a wing out of Villanova who stands at 6’6 with a wingspan of 6’8. If you want an explosive player with a high motor, then this is your guy.
He shows versatility as an on-ball defender. His competitiveness and athleticism could allow him to evolve into a great defender. Off the ball though, he could really pop with his athleticism. He has the tools to be an impactful off-ball defender who can be a disrupter by reaching his arms into passing lanes or flying in from the weak side for blocks.
On the offensive end, he is an explosive athlete who thrives as a straight-line slasher. He is a good cutter who would do well playing with Tyrese Halliburton as a lob threat.
There are some issues offensively though. He can be a ball stopper at times and does not attack off the catch often. He prefers to catch, go into a triple threat, then attack off of a jab step. He will have to get into the habit of moving the ball and attacking quickly off the catch in order to fit into this Haliburton led offense.
3. Taylor Hendricks
This is by far my favorite fit for the Pacers. Taylor Hendricks is a big wing out of the University of Central Florida who stands at 6’8 with a wingspan of 7’1.
Defensively, Hendricks is similar to Walker. He is a good athlete, so he can defend guards and wings on the perimeter. His springy athleticism allows him to play as a small ball center when needed. He will need to add a little bit of weight to really bother bigger offensive players, but he projects as a player who can defend both bigs and smalls.
Offensively is where I love the fit. He is another player who can play in the pick and roll, except his shooting ability allows him to pop as well. He was a 39% three-point shooter in college. His springiness allows him to finish around the rim.
He has a solid face up game as well. He often shoots over smaller defenders off of jab steps or dribble pull-ups. He also possesses the ball handling skills to drive past defenders and get to the rim.
The only concern is that he did not play against top competition in college, so he has not played against the premier athletes that are littered across the NBA.
The NBA Draft is set for Thursday. Any one of these three players would be great fits in the Pacers organization. I cannot wait to see who they select, whether that is at pick number two or seven.
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