Pacers 2016 NBA Draft Preview: Part 3

Welcome to the iPacers.com Pacers draft preview! This is the third part of a 4-part series, detailing 20 options for the 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. To get my 20 options, I reviewed 31 different mock drafts and found 17 different players that were picked for the Pacers at the 20th spot; I also added three more potential options to make it an even 20 that were often mentioned around the Pacers range.

I’ve noted each players “Mock Draft Range,” which is the highest and lowest the player was picked and “Mock Draft Average,” which is the average spot each player was selected in the mocks. Anytime a player wasn’t selected in a mock draft, I assigned their selection at 35 (Some mock drafts included second rounds, while others did not). If the average pick was over 30, then I put their mock average at 2nd-round.

I’ve included some short analysis on each player with two reasons to draft them and two reasons to pass. For more detailed analysis, you can search on Youtube for videos from Draft Express that detail strengths and weaknesses for each player along with highlight examples for what they’re talking about.

If you missed the first two parts detailing the following prospects click on the one you want to read about: Tyler Ulis, Brice Johnson, Domantas Sabonis, Demetrius Jackson, Wade Baldwin IV, Taurean Prince, Malachi Richardson, Juan Hernangomez, Diamond Stone, and Damian Jones. A link will be here when Part 4 is available.

In this part, we’ll take a look at the following potential choices for the Pacers: Cheick Diallo, Thon Maker, Denzel Valentine, Malik Beasley, and Timothe Luwawu. 

cheick-diallo1

 

Cheick Diallo
Position: Forward
School: Kansas
Statistics: 3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.9 apg
Mock Draft Range: 13 – 2nd Round
Mock Draft Average: 26


Why the Pacers might pick him at 20:

  • Diallo, at 19, is an upside pick. The Pacers would be hoping that he has plenty of room to develop and grow his game after a year mainly spent stuck on the bench at Kansas. Scouts praise his work ethic and non-stop high motor while on the court. He handled his lack of playing time very maturely for a 19-year-old kid. The Pacers may be comfortable giving him time to develop on the bench during his first couple seasons, knowing that he handled that situation well in college.
  • On the court, Diallo strives in a few areas: rebounding, shot blocking, and finishing at the rim. He averaged over 13 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per 40 minutes, which are both very impressive rates for a freshman. The Pacers may see him as an athletic big (6’9″ with a 7’4″ wingspan) that can run the floor and do the dirty work down low.

Why the Pacers might pass on him at 20:

  • The Pacers could see his lack of playing time at Kansas as an issue. While it was in part due to being suspended at the beginning of the season and behind in the playbook after that, it’s harder to judge a player on only 7.5 minutes per game. Diallo will need time to develop, and if the Pacers are looking for an instant contributor they may try elsewhere.
  • Currently, Diallo’s offensive game is limited to solely finishing at the rim and often looks rushed whenever the ball is in his hands. During his limited playing time, he managed only a single assist against 17 turnovers. He doesn’t show a tremendous feel for the game at this point in his career. On the defensive end, he’ll need to add strength (like any 19-year-old) and sometimes he is overly anxious to help for a blocked shot opportunity. He can get himself out of position on that end easily.

thon maker1

 

Thon Maker
Position: Power Forward/Center
Country: Australia
Statistics: 21.3 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 4.2 bpg (High School)
Mock Draft Range: 16 – 2nd round
Mock Draft Average: 29

Why the Pacers might pick him at 20:

  • Maker is very mature, driven, and hungry for a teenager. His interviews during the draft workouts were impressive in that way (similar to Myles Turner last year in that regard). Maker clearly has the desire to be good in this league and the work ethic.
  • Maker has loads of potential. It’ll take some time, but the Sudanese 7’0″ stretch power forward could carve out a nice role in the NBA. He’s got good ball skills for a player of his size and good range. One site noted that he may be able to develop his fadeaway shot into an unblockable move on the post.

Why the Pacers might pass on him at 20:

  • It’s going to take awhile for Maker to be ready to contribute on the court. Maker needs to add a lot of strength and some are concerned that his frame may not allow him to add too much and that it’ll put too much pressure on his thin legs. He’s not used to playing as a big down low and that transition will have it’s growing pains.
  • Don’t buy into the hype of his YouTube videos. Maker is likely not the next superstar in the NBA. It may take 3 years for Maker to become a decent role player in the league and Bird & the Pacers may find that it isn’t worth the wait.

denzel valentine1

 

Denzel Valentine
Position: Small Forward
School: Michigan State
Statistics: 19.2 ppg, 7.8 apg, 7.5 rpg, 1 spg
Mock Draft Range: 8 – 2nd Round
Mock Draft Average: 15

Why the Pacers might pick him at 20:

  • Valentine was the ultimate leader and do-it-all guy for the Spartans. His basketball IQ, court vision, and passing abilities are all off the charts. The only player over 6’5″ since 1988 to average 9 assists before 40 minutes. A rare offensive talent. He also had the highest rebounding rate among guards at the college level, snagging 8.5 boards per 40.
  • Valentine greatly improved his shooting during his senior season. He shot an immaculate 45% on his three-point attempts during his senior season. If he keeps this up, he should be a valuable floor spacer in the NBA.

Why the Pacers might pass on him at 20:

  • The only reason that he might be available when the Pacers pick at 20 is that he has some seriously down-the-line knee injury concerns. His draft stock has plummeted since the news broke. Some are even wondering if he gets picked in the first round now. Two players that his knee issues have been compared to are Danny Granger and Brandon Roy, both of which fell of steep cliffs once they’re knees gave out. However, they both also lasted a good amount of time in the league as high caliber players. The Pacers could do worse than a player who may only last 5-6 years but will contribute to the team in each of those seasons at pick 20 in this draft.
  • Valentine is a terrible defender. He was often played on the opposing team’s least threatening offensive player to limit his exposure on that end of the court. His lack of great athleticism is an issue on this end of the floor. He’s slow-footed and sometimes loses focus while on defense. It’s unclear what positions he’ll be able to guard in the NBA. He’s similar to Evan Turner than he is to Draymond Green.

malikbeasley1

 

Malik Beasley
Position: Guard
School: Florida State
Statistics: 15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg
Mock Draft Range: 11 – 2nd Round
Mock Draft Average: 25

Why the Pacers might pick him at 20:

  • Beasley is a hard-working, athletic 2-guard out of Florida State. He can make some wow plays with his explosiveness and is always giving 100% effort on the court. At 19, he’s got plenty of time to learn and grow.
  • Beasley’s biggest strength is his picture perfect form on his knockdown jump shot. Beasley should be a great floor spacer in the NBA and if he can improve defensively might be a nice 3-and-D type of player.

Why the Pacers might pass on him at 20:

  • Beasley’s offensive game is limited to knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers and finishing in transition. His ball handling needs a lot of work and doesn’t have the ability to beat anyone off the dribble. (Though the Pacers could use a few guys that don’t need the ball to be successful, especially with the addition of Jeff Teague.)
  • He’ll likely need to spend some time in the D-League early in his career as a way of getting him work, especially with ball handling and on defense. It’ll take some time for him to be ready. Another concern is that he has an injury where he needed a rod inserted into his leg. If the Pacers medical staff is concerned, they may look elsewhere.

timotheluwawu1

 

Timothe Luwawu
Position: Forward
Country: France
Statistics: 14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.7 apg
Mock Draft Range: 12 – 2nd Round
Mock Draft Average: 19

Why the Pacers might pick him at 20:

  • He has an impressive physical skillset for a wing. He’s 6’7″ with a 7’0″ wingspan and a good athlete with explosiveness. He plays above the rim and runs the floor very well.
  • He’s an improving shooter. He made 36% of his threes last year after making only 22% the year prior. He has good court vision generally, makes good cuts off the ball, and plays well in transition.

Why the Pacers might pass on him at 20:

  • It’s unlikely that he’ll be there at 20. Most have him gone by 15. If he is, some concerns are that while his potential is obvious, he doesn’t always show full effort on the court at times. This is especially true on the defensive end.
  • Luwawu has plenty of room to improve. He struggles in the pick and roll. He is turnover prone and gets tunnel vision on his drives.
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