Pacers Summer League roster taking shape

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After a quiet draft night, the Indiana Pacers will turn to free agency and the Summer League. With the Orlando Summer League starting on July 5th, the Pacers’ roster for the Summer League is beginning to take shape.

No draft pick makes the Summer League less exciting for the Pacers, but Solomon Hill and Donald Sloan are expected to be in Orlando. Joining them will be mostly younger guys, but one invite is reminiscent of Rasual Butler last season. All players reported by Scott Agness.

Before getting to the guys who will be suiting up for Indiana, first someone who won’t be. Orlando Johnson is joining the Golden State Warriors for the summer. The Pacers placed Johnson on waivers in February after acquiring Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Ultimately, Johnson ended up in Sacramento, where he played in seven games.

C Asauhn Dixon-Tatum – 23 years old, 7-foot

Dixon-Tatum spent the last two seasons at Auburn playing for former Tiger head coach Tony Barbee. Dixon-Tatum was never a major offensive threat, as he started 29 games his senior year but averaged just four field goal attempts per game. He averaged six points and six rebounds last year, but also racked up 3.5 fouls per game in 22.5 minutes. He did lead Auburn in field goal percentage (and effective field goal percentage) at 57.5 percent. Plus his offensive rating was second best at 112.2. On defense Dixon-Tatum racked up the blocks with 2.1 per game, and his block percentage was 10.9, second best in the SEC. Auburn was the worst defensive team in the SEC allowing 104.9 points per 100 possessions, but Dixon-Tatum was second on the team in defensive rating.

Roster Potential: With Indiana already paying two defense-first seven footers $16 million next season, it is hard to find a place for Dixon-Tatum. He may be in Orlando just to help replicate the Pacers’ defensive scheme and Roy Hibbert's tumbles.

PG Jake Odum – 23 years old, 6-foot-4

Odum was a four year starter at Indiana State. He averaged at least four assists in every season, and his assist percentage for his collegiate career was 31.7 percent. He made major improvements in the turnover department going from a turnover on 23 percent of his possessions as a sophomore, to 13.5 percent as a senior. He averaged over 13 points per game in each of his last two seasons, but he is not a three-point weapon, as he shot just 32.2 percent for his career. Odum averaged 1.7 three-point attempts per game. Draft Express had ranked him as the 94th best prospect for this year’s draft.

Roster Potential: Odum could outplay Donald Sloan for the third point guard spot on the roster. Sloan’s contract of $948,163 in unguaranteed for next season, per Sham Sports. But if Sloan is better, there is no place for Odum.

PF Tyler Stone – 22 years old, 6-foot-8

Stone originally went to Missouri, but transferred after playing just 11 games his freshman season to Southeast Missouri State where he was three year starter. He led SEMO in scoring last season at 19.3 points per game on 54.4 percent shooting, led by an incredible 79.3 percent at the rim, per hoop-math.com. He also shot 33.8 percent from three, shooting 2.3 shots per game from beyond the arc. He was the most efficient player for SEMO, and the Redhawks outscored opponents by 18.4 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.

Roster Potential: Stone was good around the rim, and has some shot at developing a jumper in the NBA. His best shot would be for the Pacers to release Luis Scola and move Chris Copeland to a permanent wing position.

SF James Nunnally – 23 years old, 6-foot-7

Nunnally went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft after being a three-year starter at UC Santa Barbra. He averaged over 16 points per game in each of his last two years of college. Last season he appeared in 13 NBA games with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 44 points on 46 shots, shooting just 32.6 percent. Nunnally spent most of last year with the Texas Legends and Bakersfield Jam of the D-League. He averaged 18.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 35 games with Texas and Bakersfield last season. He was an excellent three-point shooter knocking down 41.3 percent on 6.7 attempts per game. He’s now shot 410 threes in two D-League seasons, and made over 40 percent both years.

Roster Potential: His D-League three-point stats are enticing for a team short on shooters. If he can continue that shooting, Indiana may look to add him if Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner and Rasual Butler all end up somewhere else, as the Pacers would only have Paul George, Solomon Hill and Chris Copeland as wing players.

PF Kevin Jones – 24 years old, 6-foot-8

Jones was a three-year starter at West Virginia and went undrafted in the 2012 after averaging 19.9 points per game his senior season. He’s played in 32 NBA games, but they all came in the 2012-13 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He scored 95 points on 107 shots in the NBA. He’s played for the Canton Charge the past two seasons. Last year he averaged 16.9 points and eight rebounds in 38 games. He shot 51 percent last season, and was not a threat to space the floor to three-point line, as he attempted just six threes. But Jones terminated his contract early and went to play in the Philippines for the San Miguel Beermen. (Apparently San Miguel is an Asian company that produces one of the top 10 beers in the world. Plus there is another team in the Philippines called the San Miguel Coffee Mixers.) In nine games as a Beerman, Jones scored 26.6 points per game in 42.6 minutes. He also showed an outside shot drilling 40 percent of his threes, while shooting 3.9 per game. (Note: The Philippines Basketball Association uses the FIBA three-point distance, 22.1 feet, not the NBA’s 23.9 feet.)

Roster Potential: Given the small sample size of international play it is hard to judge his shooting ability without seeing him play. He could possibly fit the mold of the pick-and-pop power forward that Indiana has with David West and Scola. In his whopping 14 possessions as a roll man for Cleveland in 2012-13 he mostly rolled to the basket. Like Tyler Stone, his best shot is if Scola is released, and Lavoy Allen is not brought back.

SG Roger Mason Jr. – 33 years old, 6-foot-5

Likely to be the oldest player in Orlando for the Pacers, Mason has 10 years of service in the NBA. He has averaged 6.4 points per game over his career, but the best part for Indiana is his shooting. Mason has made 38.3 percent of his threes in his career, and in the one season he was a regular starter – 2008-09 with San Antonio – he shot 42.1 percent from three while averaging 11.9 points. Last year he played in 25 games for the Miami Heat, making 35 percent of his threes. Two seasons ago he played in 69 games for New Orleans, starting 13; He knocked down 41.5 percent of his threes. He’s already been to the Summer League two different seasons, 2005 with Orlando and 2006 with Washington.

Roster Potential: He could take the Rasual Butler route as a 30-something year old going to Summer League and making the Pacer roster as a shooter. Butler is an unrestricted free agent and two years older than Mason. Butler made just under $900,000 last season. With a need for shooting and potentially for wing players, Mason could easily make the roster, but Butler saw limited playing time last year – 7.6 minutes in 50 games.

PF/C Shayne Whittington – 23 years old, 6-foot-11

Whittington just finished up his collegiate career at Western Michigan. He was ranked as the 77th best prospect by Draft Express. According to Western Michigan’s website, Whittington and the Pacers have agreed in principal to a contract. He scored 16.1 points and grabbed 8.9 rebounds in his final year as a Bronco. Western Michigan was 22.4 points per 100 possessions better with Whittington on the floor. He also showed out at the 2014 Portsmouth Invitational, where he averaged 19.7 points in three games.

Roster Potential: He has a better shot at making the team than Dixon-Tatum. If Scola and Allen are no longer Pacers in the upcoming season, he could fill a void in the front court. He’s got much more offensive potential than Dixon-Tatum, and Whittington was a fringe draft prospect.

All contract data via Sham Sports.

UPDATE:

As pointed out by Ignatius31 Shayne Whittington is recovering from a broken fibula. He sustained the injury on May 9th. His status for the Summer League is unknown.

PG Dee Bost – 24 years old, 6-foot-2

Bost was a four year starter at point guard for Mississippi State; he graduated in 2012 and went undrafted. He went to Summer League with the Portland Trailblazers that season, but then spent the regular season in Montenegro at KK Buducnost VOLI. Bost averaged 8.3 points and 21.5 minutes per game. Last season Bost started 50 games for the Idaho Stampede and averaged 15.2 assists, 8.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds. He shot 34.3 percent from beyond the arc in college, but in the D-League last year he struggled at 29.3 percent. Scott Agness reported Bost will play with Indiana.

PF Willie Reed – 24 years old, 6-foot-9

Real GM has reported that Reed has been placed on waivers by the Sacramento Kings and will play for Indiana in the Summer League (h/t Crean and Crimson in the comments.) Reed spent two years at Saint Louis University before going undrafted in 2011. Reed has not logged any time in an NBA game, but did go to Summer League last year with the Memphis Grizzlies. He spent last year in the D-League with the Springfield Armor and Reno Bighorns where he averaged 14.7 points 9.9 rebounds per game. He shot 59.5 percent from the field.

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