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For Pacers rookie Jarace Walker, the expectations going into the NBA Summer League were fairly high. 

Sure, they weren’t as high as they might have been for 1st-overall selection Victor Wembanyama or 2nd-overall pick Brandon Miller, but when a team drafts you in the top-10, there is pressure to perform immediately, even if it is the Summer League. Needless to say, Walker has met those expectations and then some.  

Walker, in his debut, showed exactly why the Pacers coveted him in the draft. He finished the game with 8 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 3 steals. While he did predictably struggle shooting the ball, finishing 4-13, he was a consistent presence on the defensive side of the ball, something the Pacers struggled with mightily last season. 

He also displayed nice touch on several of his assists, neatly threading the ball between defenders to the open man on multiple occasions.  

All around, it was a very solid debut for the Pacers top draft choice. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. The fact that this is Summer League shouldn’t be discounted either; real NBA games are entirely different animals. Walker probably won’t have as easy of a time swatting away shots like he did on Saturday when the real games begin. 

Sill, the Pacers, and their fans, should be very optimistic about what they saw on Saturday. The Pacers already had a young, promising core before Walker was drafted. If he is able to capitalize on the promise he has shown so far, Indiana could be in store for a lot of fun, winning basketball.  

During Monday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, John spoke to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. Dustin is in Vegas to cover the Summer League, and he and John discussed the Pacers first game, as well as the performance of Jarace Walker. Listen to that conversation and more below, and tune into The Ride With JMV from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan!  

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