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Pacers 1st Round Draft Possiblities: Luke Babbitt

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:

Luke Babbitt - SF/PF - 6' 8.75"  218lbs. - University of Nevada


Ten Important Stats - Luke Babbitt

Pts/40 Reb/40 Ast/40 Stl/40 eFG% 3PT% FT% FT/40 Pts/Pos TO/Pos
23.6 9.6 2.3 1.1 54.0% 41.6% 91.7% 6.9 1.24 0.13


Strengths -

  • Babbitt has excellent size for an NBA small forward, and enough height and bulk to cross over and spend a few minutes a game as a face-up power forward. Although he possesses merely average athleticism, he has excellent body control, and is very adept at maximizing what his natural tools.
  • Babbitt is an extremely versatile and talented offensive player. His offensive attack begins with his terrific shooting stroke. Babbitt reached the vaunted 50/40/90 club with his shooting percentages last season, and is a legitimate threat to knock one down from anywhere on the floor. In addition to spotting up, he is very solid shooting off the dribble or on the move. He also is adept at using his awareness and high skill level to create separation or get to the basket, where he draws fouls at a high rate.
  • Babbitt is an effective passer and is capable of moving the ball to the open man.
  • Babbitt plays with a ton of effort and focus on the defensive end and chasing down rebounds. He is especially effective on the defensive glass using his hustle and mobility to grab out of area rebounds.

Weaknesses -

  • The one offensive area Babbitt struggles with is a post game. He is much more comfortable facing up and making a move then backing a defender down. If he can develop this area of his game it could be a real weapon in the NBA, where he will generally be matched up against smaller wing players.
  • Babbitt struggled with his defensive effectiveness on the college level, a problem which should be magnified at the next level. Defending small forwards at the next level will continue to be a challenge when his average footspeed and fundamentals are taken into account. His lack of lower body strength makes defending the post just as shaky a proposition. His one saving grace is the intense effort he plays with.
  • As the best offensive weapon on his college team forcing a shot was usually a more effective play than moving the ball to a teammate. At the next level Babbitt will need to adjust to a smaller usage role and recognize when to shoot and when to swing the ball.

How he can help the Pacers -

  • Babbitt's value to the Pacers is more of the long-term variety. His primary position in the NBA should be small forward. With Danny Granger established there, Mike Dunleavy coming off the bench, and a loaded power forward rotation there won't be many minutes available for Babbitt next season. However, this may be Dunleavy's last season with the team, and hopefully the power forward rotation will be thinned out as well by the end of next season. In the long term, the Pacers need to add talent and depth, and more specifically some more efficient scoring options to take the pressure off Granger and Hibbert. Babbitt is a player who can work as a primary or secondary offensive option and provide scoring punch in a variety of ways. It's not difficult to imagine him as a potent 6th man down the road.
  • Babbitt has risen up draft boards quickly, and now looks to go before the end of the lottery. If the Pacers want him they won't be able to move too far down from the 10th pick and still have a shot at him.

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