The 2022 NBA Draft will radically alter the course of Indiana Pacers franchise history.
It’s a pivotal moment for the Blue and Gold, a team that won a paltry 25 games in the 2021-22 NBA campaign.
Expect a major shakeup in the team’s core during the offseason – a key player or two will strut their wares elsewhere.
If Indy plays its cards right, it should establish a solid foundation for the future.
Here are three fearless predictions for the Pacers’ 2022 NBA Draft:
3. Myles Turner Will Stay Put
There have been major rumblings the Pacers will trade center Myles Turner this offseason.
Will Turner play elsewhere in his eighth NBA season?
Fearless forecast: Turner will stay in Indianapolis.
Indy, which allowed 114.9 points per game last season, was the 26th-worst defensive unit in the league.
Turner averaged 2.8 blocks per game prior to sitting out the remaining 40 games of last season due to a left foot injury.
The Pacers need his first-rate rim protection skills during their massive rebuilding efforts.
Working on a deep dive into the top 3 2022 NBA Draft prospects… and my biggest takeaway is this:
Get Jabari Smith to Indy to play alongside Myles Turner and Tyrese Halliburton at all costs.
— Tucker (@SportingLogical) February 22, 2022
Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and co. should complement Turner with defensive stoppers via the draft and free agency.
Forget the rumors of Deandre Ayton becoming a Pacer – Turner will play out the final year of his $72 million contract extension in Indy.
2. Indiana Will Trade Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon’s days with the Blue and Gold will come to an end on draft day.
There are two reasons why the Pacers are better off without Brogdon.
First, he cannot stay healthy – he’s never completed an 82-game season since his rookie year with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016.
The most number of games Brogdon has ever played for the Pacers in a season is 54.
This trend cannot continue.
Second, the Pacers trading Brogdon on draft day will allow Tyrese Haliburton to flourish at the point guard spot.
Sure, the two showed great chemistry during their short time on the court last season.
However, Haliburton is the future of the Pacers.
As for Brogdon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowkski identified the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards as potential destinations on draft day.
A change of scenery will benefit Brogdon and perhaps turn his never-ending injury fortunes around.
1. The Pacers Won’t Trade Up
The Pacers have never traded up in the NBA Draft since they hired Pritchard in 2011.
Expect this trend to continue this year.
Major draft boards have projected Indy snagging Keegan Murray, Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin, or Shaedon Sharpe at the sixth overall spot.
Among those rookie prospects, Murray makes the most sense.
Murray, a power forward, can play both ends of the court.
He could become Indy’s best two-way player since Paul George.
Draft experts also feel Murray is the most NBA-ready prospect in this year’s rookie crop.
Jaden Ivey Quote from yesterday:
“The Pacers [who pick sixth], my mom played with the Indiana Fever. I'm kind of familiar with that organization. If they pick me on draft night it would be an honor. Just being from Indiana and living there my whole life, that would be amazing.” pic.twitter.com/7pyqgApcKp
— The Paceroos Podcast (@thepaceroos) June 16, 2022
What about Jaden Ivey?
Many reports have been linking the former Purdue Boilermakers standout to the Pacers.
However, experts feel he won’t fall to the sixth spot in the draft.
If Pritchard and co. go all out on Ivey, they can execute a sign-and-trade deal for him.
The likeliest party is either the Sacramento Kings or Detroit Pistons, who own the fourth and fifth overall picks, respectively.
Bottom line: the Pacers will snag either Murray or Ivey in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Either of those guys will become a game changer who will help Indy regain playoff contender status in the next few years.