The Indiana Pacers hold the rights to the 20th selection in this year’s NBA Draft. CBS Sport’s latest mock draft has the team taking North Carolina’s Brice Johnson with their first-round pick.
The Indiana Pacers head into the 2016 season with a couple of new faces, with the chance of bringing in any other new pieces to the team pending the free agency period that starts next month — in which the team will have over $30-million in cap space and can beef up virtually any positional need.
After being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs back in April, the Pacers’ front-office now finds themselves in the top-20 of the draft with the chance to bring in yet another young talent to help take the team towards the next step to getting back into contention.
By drafting Johnson, the Pacers would have a quality player to come off of the bench when Myles Turner is off the floor and resting, and his presence on the team would give the Pacers quality depth at the position.
Here’s what Parrish had to say about the projected pick:
"Johnson was a monster while averaging 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds and leading North Carolina to the national championship game. The quick leaper improved his stock enough to where going in the top 20 of this draft isn’t out of the question. And for the Pacers, he would provide needed frontcourt depth."
The 6’9″ Johnson would not only provide the Pacers with a reliable big who can help defend at the rim, but also a reliable scorer who the team can count on to consistently create offense and win the battles on the glass.
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It may be a stretch, but it is quite possible that if center Ian Mahinmi signs with another team via free agency, then perhaps Myles Turner is moved to the five, and Johnson gets some quality minutes playing the four. While this is mere speculation, it is unlikely as Johnson would have to earn his spot into the starting rotation.
It is simply too early to project what the starting lineup would look like for the Pacers considering that the draft hasn’t even started yet — as well as free agency. Johnson is good enough of a player to where it is a real possibility that he is selected before the Pacers’ pick.
Whatever happens between now and then however, the Pacers will have another opportunity to add a young talent that can make their impact felt on the roster.
Be sure to follow Ink On Indy as we continue our Indiana Pacers draft coverage.