The Pacers begin formal NBA draft prep on Tuesday when they host a pair of workouts with six prospects in each session. The bulk of the players appear to be second-round or free agent options with a few who could slide up to the first round.
The first workout is guard heavy with a couple of forwards, while the second workout has more big men to go along with a couple of guards.
- Brian Bowen II (Australia) - Played in Australia after making a name at Louisville due to his recruitment which led to an FBI investigation. On the court, he is a 6’7 wing player who was a McDonald’s All-American out of high school. After a chaotic couple of years, Bowen remains a developmental project hoping to tap into his talent at the pro level. Likely a team will take him in the second round hoping to do just that, assuming he shows well in draft workouts like the one at the Fieldhouse today.
- Ty Jerome (Virginia) - Doesn’t look the part on the surface, as a 6’5 guard with a 6’4 wingspan. But he showed he’s capable of playing at a high level by playing a big role in Virginia’s championship run. Smart player who can handle and shoot the ball, showed he can be solid in a team defensive system at UVa.
- Jaylen Nowell (Washington) - Another PG possibility who stands 6’4 with a 6’7 wingspan. Nowell has a scorer’s mentality and is a willing defender. Expect him to stay in the draft despite being a likely second round pick.
- Josh Perkins (Gonzaga) - Experienced 6’3 point guard who played five years with the Zags after a freshman injury allowed him to redshirt. Free agent possibility.
- Dylan Windler (Belmont) - A local legend out of Perry Meridian, Windler is a 6’7 small forward who checked in with a 6’10 wingspan at the combine. Led Belmont last season with over 20 points per game and made 100 threes, shooting at a 43% clip from behind the arc. Early projections have him going early in the second round.
- Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra) - As an undersized two-way guard, led Hofstra with 27 points per game and shot 42.5% from behind the arc. Another guard who will have to work his way into getting drafted.
- Nicolas Claxton (Georgia) - A legit big man at 6’11, with a combine wingspan of 7’2.5 is giving the NBA a look after two years at Georgia. Solid rim defender who averaged 2.5 blocks. Not likely to stay in the draft but that’s what the process is all about. He can start finding out today at the Fieldhouse.
- Carsen Edwards (Purdue) - No intro needed after Edwards lit up the NCAA tourney last year for Purdue. The 6’6 wingspan and 5’11 height measurement at the combine should help his stock a bit. Not a good fit for the Pacers right now since he’d essentially be repeat of Aaron Holiday, although Edwards can create his own shot better, Holiday is more of a complete point guard. But Edwards is electric and it should be fun to see how he’s received in these draft workouts.
- C.J. Elleby (Washington State) - A 6’7 wing player giving the NBA a look after his freshman year. He’s considered a strong candidate to return to Wazzu. Didn’t shoot a ton of threes but made around 42% of his attempts.
- Martin Krampelj (Creighton) - A four-year power forward who will likely have to take the free agent route to the NBA. His best bet will be as a spread four option. He made 93 three-balls last season, making over 37% of his shots from behind the arc.
- Derrik Smits (Butler) - The Pacers legacy recently transferred to Butler but is giving the league a look. The former Zionsville star and son of Rik Smits will most likely return to play at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year.
- Lamar Stevens (Penn State) - Stevens was a load for Penn State who played forward and averaged 20 points per game and almost 8 rebounds. Will have to develop more consistent 3-point shot to go along with the rest of his overall game. Will likely be a free agent who could also return for another year at Penn State.
And so it begins, this intriguing offseason for the Pacers which will set the course for the team over the next couple of seasons. Will they actually draft a player or use their picks to sweeten a trade offer? Do any of the players in the workouts today make sense for the Pacers?