The 2022 NBA draft is now literally a stone’s throw away, and the Indiana Pacers have a golden opportunity to make this iteration of the draft their best yet.
Armed with the sixth overall pick, the Blue and Gold will have the highest pick in the draft in more than 30 years. Aside from that, the team also owns the #31 and #60 second-round picks as of this writing.
With all of this in mind, what might the best-case scenario for the Pacers in the draft look like?
Imagine the best-case scenario for the Indiana Pacers in the 2022 NBA draft
As draft night comes with a whirlwind of moves and trades from various teams, many things could happen before the Indiana Pacers make their pick.
A promotion in the draft is of course very ideal. Teams in the top three are extremely unlikely to make their picks, but clubs picking above the Pacers could be more open to negotiating a deal for a swap. In that case, these are the best things that could happen to Indiana:
- The Pacers manage to trade one of their veterans for a low lottery win.
- Tyrese Haliburton, Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson and, to a lesser extent, Oshae Brissett remain untouchable.
- The Indiana front office uses that pick and consolidates it with their own first-round pick to move up to No. 4 or No. 5 over Sacramento or Detroit.
- Alternatively, the Pacers are sticking with their new lower lottery pick and staying in 6th place.
The Pacers are also well served in the third scenario, especially when the following chips fall in their favor:
- The Kings opt for forward Keegan Murray or make a swing pick with Shaedon Sharpe at number 4.
- The Pistons take a risky gamble with massive rewards in Sharpe or make a surprise pick in 5th place Bennedict Mathurin
- Jaden Ivey becomes available for Indiana at No. 6 and the Pacers are trying to stay fit with their “other” lottery pick.
- Alternatively, the Pacers are taking Murray or another highly acclaimed and fast-rising prospect in Mathurin who should be available by that time.
Really, the Pacers have plenty of exciting options even if they stay in 6th place, although moving up is better as long as they find a willing lottery team to take on, say, Malcolm Brogdon. On the trading front, here are ideal scenarios for the team:
- Here, too, teams like Washington or New York swap for Brogdon and raise their lottery selection in return.
- Although less likely, as part of a larger deal involving a young player, Myles Turner will be transferred to a lottery team in exchange for making his own lottery picks.
- Buddy Hield isn’t a priority to move, but he could be moved as a sweetener in a larger package to acquire a lottery ticket.
Meanwhile, in the second round, Indiana has the following options:
- My hope is that one of the projected first-round candidates will fall in the second round, where the Pacers pick first at No. 31.
- Alternatively, Indiana repackages its #31 pick for a lower pick and one more future second-round pick, or two lower second-round picks if their targets are not on the board. Teams with multiple runners-up include Orlando, Sacramento, Minnesota (3), Cleveland and Portland. Your #60 pick could be used to further motivate teams.
- Also, the Pacers can stay put and hit a hard swing pick on #60 or a stash pick.
Overall, the Indiana Pacers have a variety of options as they approach the 2022 NBA draft, although hopefully the best chips will fall for Blue and Gold as the franchise aims to make the most of this eventful draft.