The Pacers closed out the Washington Wizards 74-65 on NBA TV during the first slated game of the afternoon. While the game finished within single digits, it was all but close for the majority of the second half as both teams struggled to hit from deep, combining to shoot 13 of 59. That on court ruggedness was present in the turnover battle as well, with the Pacers notching 19 and the Wizards 21. The ball was FLYING all over the court to say the least!
Despite some rough spots, the game was an impressive showcase for the Pacers Summer League roster and numerous players stood out. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include that Isiah Thomas had himself a broadcast.
IT now talking about how he would’ve won a title if he didn’t get fired by Indy and the Malice at the Palace wouldn’t have happened if he were there— Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA) August 16, 2021
This is insane
Isaiah Jackson was undoubtedly the standout of the game and I felt he was the most impactful player on the court for either team.
His game was punctuated by tying the NBA Summer League blocks record, punching 7 in a single game, playing just under 21 minutes. Jackson’s defense was on another level today, showing positive signs in different pick and roll coverages; hedge and recover, drop, and switching onto perimeter players as well.
I had Isaiah Jackson ranked as the 2nd best big in this draft class due in large part to physical tools & defense. That was on display w/ 4 blks in the 1st qtr today. Some of these blocks are just comical. pic.twitter.com/WehC5dj8aL— Draft Dummies (@DraftDummies) August 16, 2021
Jackson’s verticality, timing, and aggression were on display the entire past week and a half, but today was a prime example of his potential as a defensive prospect. He still has a great deal to clean up on that end, as he contests to a fault at times and can get out of position, but he makes his mistakes without hesitation.
One of the more promising plays was on a closeout to the corner late in the second quarter, he forced a drive off the line, slid and cut off the drive, forcing a pass out. Jackson was an absolute force in and out of the box score defensively and I’m excited to see how he continues to develop on that end in the G-League this season.
The Offense was encouraging as well. While he finished just 4 of 14 from the field, he flashed his feel for the game, trying to pull off multiple connective passes and he wasn’t shy from 3 either, taking 4 while making none. To improve on the offensive end, he’s going to need to have bad outings and continue to progress through those rough patches. This was the game where he really showed the most of his perimeter skills, and even though it wasn’t a net positive, the framework and willingness is there, and that’s huge.
Cassius Stanley put together what was easily his best Summer League outing. J Michael of the Indy Star reported recently that the Pacers pulled Stanley's qualifying offer with a potential move for a third point guard on the horizon.
After his past game and a half, I’d personally be on board with Cassius being retained and working with the player development staff in Fort Wayne for another year, and one that will likely be more in line with a regular season and normal G-League schedule.
Stanley’s shot had mostly evaded him, shooting just under 31% from 3 in the four games prior to today, and he had struggled with driving to the rim and generating paint touches, notably struggling to attack Sharife Cooper in the Hawks game. Today, he drove with conviction, hit some solid reads out of drives as well, and finished with craft at the rim.
Included was this monster throwdown out of transition.
Stanley shot 2/4 from deep against the Wizards, didn’t pass out of any open looks, and seemed much more confident in his jumper. He hit a quality trail 3 off of a Keifer Sykes dish early in the third quarter and bombed a deep shot from the right side of the court early in the 4th. He also was more aggressive as a passer which was fantastic to see, with a nice interior pass and a great post-entry feed to Jackson leading to a drawn foul.
Keifer Sykes also closed out his Summer League run with the Pacers in good fashion, finishing with 12 points, 2 assists, and 3 steals.
Sykes was efficient running pick and roll primarily with Isaiah Jackson, finding his partner well, making quality kick outs as he got to the rim, and even taking and making a few pull-up jumpers inside the arc. Although small in stature, Sykes was a contributor on the defensive end today, probing at the point of attack, and playing the passing lanes in an opportunistic manner.
I’ve been consistently impressed with his ability to get to and finish at the rim. His pace of place, throwing in hesitations and stutters on drives, and solid verticality have helped him to show out at the rim and that was no different today. He’s only grown from day one as he went from the bench behind Jordan Bone and Duane Washington Jr., to ahead of both and having arguably the best run of the trio of guards.
If the Pacers do decide to move on from Cassius Stanley and go in a different direction, Sykes may well have played himself into that final roster spot.
Amida Brimah had a nice stint, walling off the rim, and absolutely popped with this corner kick.
Nice corner kick from Amida Brimah, after he gets the pocket pass on the roll, to Terry Taylor who hits the 3. pic.twitter.com/iPl3dQL4Lm— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 16, 2021
The Pacers defense was impressive, but the Wizards also just really struggled to hit shots. Corey Kispert and Isaiah Todd, the two high end prospects from this draft for the Wizards, combined to shoot 5 of 21 from the field with 5 turnovers as well, but Todd had some nice moments overall offensively as a popper.
For now, the Pacers are done for the summer on court, but the season is somehow just around the corner, with the first game of the NBA regular season set to tip off on October 19th; 64 days from now.
Until then, we’ve got you covered with analysis and any news that breaks here at Indy Cornrows.