Indiana Pacers- Grade: B
- Brice Brown
- Ben Sheppard
- Jarace Walker
- Obi Toppin
- Chris Duarte
The draft is the right place to start, as the Pacers were brilliant in the first round, adding the top power forward in the 2023 NBA Draft in Jarace Walker, who has superstar two-way potential, and a big-time shooter in small-schooler Ben Sheppard. I’m not a huge fan of Indiana’s second round, but the team was a draft winner.
As for signing Bruce Brown, in no way should the Pacers have given him a 2-year, $45 million contract. His value as an elite role player is about $16 million, but the odd part is why an elite role player like Bruce Brown would provide his talents to a franchise that will have trouble simply making the playoffs; it’s genuinely confusing.
When it comes to trading for Obi Toppin, that is sneakily one of my favorite moves of the offseason. The Pacers received a forward who was misused for three seasons with the Knicks, and he is a monster athlete who could average some big numbers in Indiana. The Pacers had a mixed, but strong offseason.
- Bruce Brown- Grade: C
- Obi Toppin- Grade: A
Pacers’ 2023 NBA Draft – Grade: B
- No. 8: Jarace Walker, F, Houston
- No. 26: Ben Sheppard, G, Belmont
- No. 47: Mojave King, G, G League
- No. 55: Isaiah Wong, G, Miami
I was legitimately perplexed as to why the Pacers selected Bilal Coulibaly at No. 7 when Jarace Walker was available and perfect for them, but they wisely made a trade with Washington to get Walker, who was taken at No. 8. I love how Indiana got its ideal guy and was able to grab value from that trade.
Ben Sheppard was a fast climber, and as I only recently learned Belmont was an actual academy of learning, I quickly researched him a lot. He’s quite the shooter and scorer and has really nice size. I like that that King was able to work himself into being a second-round selection because of his strong defense, and Wong had a fantastic senior season and is a strong offensive player who can make the team.
I love Walker, really like Sheppard and think King and Wong could make the team. The Pacers had a lot of draft capital and I think they got a potential star.