Poythress, who averaged only four minutes per contest while appearing in just 14 of Indiana’s last 46 games after the Pacers converted his two-way contract into a guaranteed deal, was sparsely given playing time last season — even in blowouts.
As one of few bright spots in Indiana’s no-show loss to the Detroit Pistons on the night after Christmas last season, the 24-year-old showed flashes of being an aggressive and mobile defender with his ability to hedge and recover with hands high, but his three-point shooting regressed.
On teensy sample size, after knocking down slightly better than 40 percent of his shots from behind the arc during the 2016-17 season, he went a combined 9-of-33 (27 percent) from three in 32 games with the Pacers and their affiliate this season, which casts some doubt as to his ability to complement his tough defense with stretch shooting.
Had Poythress not been waived before July 25, his $1.54 million salary for 2018-19 would’ve become fully guaranteed.
With Thaddeus Young opting to finish his contract with the Pacers and T.J. Leaf expected to contribute next season in addition to reaching agreement with Kyle O’Quinn (the 28-year-old bearded backup would be better suited not playing in tandem with Domantas Sabonis, btw), second-round draft pick Alize Johnson appears to be the next man up to provide emergency depth at the four spot.
“He can play multiple positions,” Summer League head coach Steve Gansey said of the high-motor forward, whose total rebound percentage ranks No. 2 overall in Missouri Valley Conference history. “We can do some things differently with him, defensively. He takes pride in guarding a point guard or a smaller wing on the defensive end.”
The Pacers will have two roster spots available after signing Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, and Kyle O’Quinn as well as a two-way contract.
Johnson and the rest of the Summer League squad, including Alex Poythress, are set to tip off action today at 3:00 PM against the Houston Rockets.