Wednesday’s season finale loss to the Charlotte Hornets was supposed to be a savvy tanking effort for the Indiana Pacers, but it didn’t pay off much as the Pacers will be picking 23rd in the 2018 NBA Draft via random drawing. The Pacers had an opportunity pick as high as 20th, but had the Pacers won, they would have picked no worse than 24th. So it’s safe to say things did not work out too well in that regard. Below is the full (non-lottery) draft order:
Rest of 1st round— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 13, 2018
16. Suns (via Heat)
19. Hawks (via Wolves)
20. Wolves (via Thunder)
22. Bulls (via Pelicans)
25. Lakers (via Cavs)
29. Nets (via Raptors)
30. Hawks (via Rockets)
The Pacers could have were one of four teams to finish 48-34 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, and New Orleans Pelicans. As noted above, both Oklahoma City and New Orleans lose their picks.
The right to draft 23rd is a bit of a shot in the arm as well given the nature of the draft in that area. Talent in the 20-23rd range is incredibly hit or miss, so to lose three opportunities to find a great value fit will be tough to swallow if any of the three teams ahead of the Pacers manage to hit.
It may not be worth losing too much sleep over, however. In the past five years, the 23rd pick has generally been the most successful in that range, with OG Anunoby, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Solomon Hill being taken in addition to upcoming playoff opponents Rodney Hood and Ante Zizic.