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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Cole Aldrich


Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders, with a little bit more detail.

The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery, but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player.

We have just over a month until the draft, so I'll try to get a profile out every day or two. Here's who we'll be looking at today:

Cole Aldrich - C - 6' 11.25"  236lbs. - University of Kansas


Ten Important Stats - Cole Aldrich

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Stl/40 Blk/40 eFG% FT% FT/40 ORR% DRR%
16.9 14.7 1.3 1.1 5.2 56.0% 67.9 6.3 13.5% 25.7%

Strengths -

  • Measuring out at 6' 11.25 in shoes, with a 7' 4.75" wingspan Aldrich has legitimate size and strength to compete in the paint at the next level. He is also surprisingly mobile for a player his size.
  • Aldrich is a terrific rebounder at bothends of the floor. His 25.7% Defensive ReboundRate is the best of any player available in this year's draft. He uses his strength and length as well as textbooks fundamentals and aggressive box outs to achieve this effectiveness.
  • Aldrich has excellent potential as a defensive prospect. He has consistently been among the best shot blockers during his time in college. He has the bulk to hold his own in the post against traditional back to the basket centers. Aldrich also uses his length, instincts and strong fundamentals to be a surprisingly effective when defending the pick and roll. In today's NBA players of Aldrich's size and athleticism are frequently exploited with the pick and roll, but he looks more than capable of taking this weapon away from opponents.
  • Aldrich is also a very strong offensive pick and roll player. He sets solid screens, and shows good instincts for finding cutting lanes or open space to step back for a jumpshot. His jumper has been inconsistent throughout his college career but has the potential to be an effective weapon in the future. Aldrich has a soft touch near the basket which makes him an excellent finisher. If he plays with a strong lead guard who can get him the ball in good scoring position he can be a significant contributor on the offensive end.

Weaknesses -

  • With his current offensive skill set, he is very dependant on other players to get open shots, whether off the pick and roll or early post ups in transitions. He has decent touch around the basket and gets solid position, but doesn't appear to have the refined moves to be a low-post scoring threat in the NBA. His jump shooting and free throw shooting numbers also regressed significantly this season. He has a very unusual shooting form which is probably too ingrained to be changed much at this point in his career. His true shooting ability is probably somewhere in between his numbers from his sophomore and junior seasons.
  • There are some questions about his perceived passivity and habit of deferring to teammates. After a fairly dominating sophomore season and some Top 5 draft projections, Aldrich returned to Kansas andregressed in many statistical categories. With the emergence of the Morris twins and the addition of Xavier Henry, Aldrich seemed happy to defer to them, taking fewer shots and not demanding the ball in big situations. His lack of development this season was also troubling.
  • While Aldrich has enough athleticism to compete in the half-court, he may be left behind in an up-tempo, full court game.

How he can he help the Pacers -

  • If the Pacers are looking for a strong defensive and rebounding presence, they won't do much better than Aldrich. The problem is that he won't be able to play at the same time as Roy Hibbert. As I mentioned before, all indications are that this is Jeff Foster's last season with the Pacers, leaving a huge hole at the back up center spot. The Pacers could select Aldrich and essentially have that position set for the forseeable future. Aldrich paired with Hibbertwould give the team a variety of offensive options from the center position, as well as a defensive anchor for the second unit. If they team needed to speed up the tempo or go small, then McRoberts could slide over and fill in.
  • Aldrich is definitely not the "sexy" pick at #10. He is a known commodity, with what appears to be limited upside. That being said, the production you can count on from Aldrich is significant. He is a smart, efficient player. He can contribute offensively, and has the potential to make a huge impact defensively and on the glass. He may never be an All-Star, but his bust potential is also very low.
  • Aldrich's draft projections have varied greatly. He may not be available at #10, but if the Pacers passed on him there he certainly wouldn't last much longer to be there if they trade down.

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