The Indiana Pacers managed to snag a first-round pick in the trade with Malcolm Brogdon. However, the team has also gained a litany of players including Aaron Nesmith, who is entering his third year in the league.
The 6″5 swingman has yet to make his mark since being drafted 14th overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2020 NBA Draft. With his former team now focused on the title fight, he could seize a golden opportunity with the youthful Pacers to show off his skills and replenish the roster that made him a lottery pick two years ago.
Can Aaron Nesmith have a permanent role with the Indiana Pacers?
Aaron Nesmith has averaged just 12.7 minutes over his two seasons to date, and this season he’s mostly played as a small small forward, although his natural position is shooting guard. That means he’ll have to fight for game time given the Indiana Pacers’ construction with Chris Duarte, Bennedict Mathurin and Buddy Hield.
Realistically, however, Nesmith won’t be ushering any of these players into the rotation any time soon. Rick Carlisle’s penchant for two point guard lineups will also weaken any remaining minutes on the off guard spot.
However, things could change if Hield dons a new uniform via trade, which could be imminent as free agency dwindles into its final stages. Depending on what the Pacers get in exchange for the sniper, Nesmith could be first in line to inherit some of his minutes.
However, to get a consistent role, Nesmith needs to play a lot better. Advertised in college as an over-efficient three-point shooter, he has largely fought his way out of rainbow country, losing just 31.8 percent of his attempts so far. Last season alone, he was one of the worst shooters in the league, converting just 27 percent of his Treys. In non-trash minutes, he shot a staggering 22 percent from downtown.
A silver lining, however, is its defensive advantage. He plays a lot on D, but mostly aims to get the better end of his opponents with 50-50 balls. He is troublesome and persistent as a defender on the ball and is adept at the chases that can often occur given Indiana’s renewed pace at either end.
Aaron Nesmith is a true 3-and-D player at his best, but so far his calling card has failed him. Luckily, he’ll have plenty of chances to regain his shot punch. Combine that with his still-developing defense, and the Indiana Pacers could be looking at a solid roleplayer who could make an immediate contribution if they pull away from their remaining veterans in backcourt.