Can the Indiana Pacers land their next star at No. 6 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft?
If they play their cards right, they will.
Unless the Pacers trade up, they don’t have a realistic shot at getting Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, Jr., or Paolo Banchero – the projected top 3 picks (in no particular order) of many updated NBA draft boards.
Nevertheless, there’s still a wealth of talent in this year’s rookie crop.
On that note, Indiana can get a star in the making when they draft sixth overall.
Let’s delve deeper into the possibilities.
Who’s The Pacers’ Next Star Rookie?
Purdue Boilermakers sensation Jaden Ivey would look good in Pacers Blue and Gold.
Ivey grew up in South Bend, IN and will remain in-state if the Pacers pluck him from the draft pool.
It’s hard to imagine Ivey falling below the fifth overall pick.
If Ivey somehow does, Kevin Pritchard and co. should pounce on that opportunity.
Ivey’s otherworldly athletic abilities remind many pundits of the Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant.
Keegan Murray is another can’t-miss prospect for Indiana.
If the Pacers get Murray at No. 6, it’ll mark the second consecutive year they drafted an “old” rookie.
Indiana selected 24-year-old shooting guard Chris Duarte last year.
Too old for a rookie?
Yeah, but Duarte paid huge dividends for Indiana – he scored 27 points in his NBA debut.
He will become an All-Star in a few years time.
Keegan Murray future Pacer pic.twitter.com/AOn20ikiPS
— Ac Ʊ (@kidfromindy) May 18, 2022
Murray, who will turn 22 years old in August, should also exceed expectations.
Some draft experts argue he’s the most NBA-ready prospect this year.
They expect the versatile Murray to play the 4-spot in the pro ranks.
This guy is a freakish athlete who can score in bunches.
One of his best assets is his ability to defend multiple positions – a huge plus since Indy was one of the league’s worst defensive teams in 2021-22.
Shaedon Sharpe and Bennedict Mathurin also have potential NBA star qualities.
Although Sharpe has no college basketball experience (the Kentucky Wildcats sat him out for the entire season after he joined them in January), draft experts are raving about his athleticism, shooting prowess, and slashing abilities.
For Mathurin’s part, he also has exceptional range.
He’s one of the best medium-range shooters in this year’s rookie crop.
Mathurin can also drive to the basket for the highlight-reel dunk if you dare him.
He’s not the best free-throw shooter (76.4 percent in 2021-22) among rookie guards.
It’s one area of his game he has to improve on.
At this very moment there are two Canadians in the mock draft on @nbadraftnet :@ArizonaMBB G Bennedict Mathurin going to the @Pacers at the 6th spot.@umichbball F Caleb Houstan going to the @memgrizz at the 26th spot.@NphScouting pic.twitter.com/qxtdY0o2kn
— Josh Millican (@Josh_NPH) January 14, 2022
However, his upside is impressive, to say the least.
Don’t act surprised if he becomes one of the best Montreal-born NBA players several years down the road.
Indiana Can Land A Star With The 6th Overall Selection
There’s no question the Pacers can get a star with the sixth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
If Pritchard and co. do their homework, they can make amends for that.
It all starts with selecting the right player in the 2022 NBA Draft.