The Indiana Pacers finished off their Summer League schedule with a loss to the Washington Wizards and suffered perhaps the worst shooting performance ever seen against the Phoenix Suns. Before the Wizards game, they actually had a shot at playing in the championship if they would have won by at least 15 points but Indiana rested many of their top players including Bennedict Mathurin, Isaiah Jackson, Chris Duarte, and Terry Taylor. Duane Washington Jr. was also inactive after being waived earlier this week so the Pacers could sign Deandre Ayton to an offer sheet. The Summer Pacers finished just 2-3 overall.
With three draft picks and seven players that were on the team’s roster in some capacity last season—plus newcomer Aaron Nesmith—this was a loaded group for the Pacers for Summer League in the first three games. While it’s important not to overreact positively or negatively to anything that happens in Las Vegas, there’s still plenty to learn and takeaway from these exhibition games. Here’s my takeaways from each player:
The number six pick in the 2022 NBA Draft didn’t disappoint in his pseudo-debut for the Pacers as he averaged 19.3 points, 4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in just 22 minutes per game. He finished his three games with shooting splits of 48.8/38.5/76.5. His numbers efficiency-wise compare favorably to any rookie in his class.
The Indiana Pacers looked like Summer League contenders again in a dominant effort against the Detroit Pistons as they won 101-87 behind rookie Bennedict Mathurin’s best performance in Las Vegas so far.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Jaden Ivey in this matchup after he tweaked his ankle in Pistons previous game, but the Pacers starters bounced back from the previous game and made this an entertaining one for fans to watch. Let’s dive right into the grades.
The Indiana Pacers fell to the Sacramento Kings in their second Summer League game 103-96 in a showdown between two top draft picks in Bennedict Mathurin and Keegan Murray.
Chris Duarte sat this one out after he looked too good for these summer exhibitions in game one and the Pacers starting lineup missed him, but some guys that didn’t play in the first game had nice showings today. Without further ado, let’s jump into the grades:
Mathurin’s final line of 15 points (6 of 16), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 turnover sums up an okay performance decently in this one. His numbers easily could have looked better if just a couple more things fell his way: 2 of 5 from the free-throw line, missed all three of his catch-and-shoot 3-point attempts, and couldn’t buy a whistle on a few drives to the rim. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Grades: Starters struggle against Kings→
The Indiana Pacers looked very fun in their first game in Las Vegas Summer League as they beat the Charlotte Hornets 96-84 behind stellar performances from their rookie Bennedict Mathurin and second-year player Chris Duarte.
As always, remember this is Summer League. The results of the games don’t matter but some of the details can tell us a lot about these players, many of which will be on the Pacers roster during the regular season. That being said, the Summer Pacers look like Vegas contenders so let’s add some meaningless grades to these semi-meaningless games.
It was a quiet night for the Indiana Pacers on the opening day of the always entertaining NBA free agent frenzy. The biggest news for circle city squad was the announcement of the Summer League roster (well other than that the Pacers have finally shed Monta Ellis from their cap sheet and that Indiana’s free agent big man [redacted] remains unsigned).
As for the Summer League, the Pacers look like they’ll be putting out their best squad since they started coming to Las Vegas instead of Orlando for their exhibition games. The roster is highlighted by both of last season’s first-round picks in Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson, all three of this year’s picks in Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard, and Kendall Brown, and returning Pacers Terry Taylor and Duane Washington. Not to mention the two players who ended the season on 2-way contracts with the team in mixtape legend Gabe York and Nate Hinton. The head coach will be Butler legend Ronald Nored who seems destined to be the top dog on the sidelines for an NBA franchise at some point. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Preview→
Bennedict Mathurin didn’t hesitate when asked what the Indiana Pacers would be getting from him.
“My heart, man,” the 6th overall pick said on the ESPN broadcast after being selected. “They’re getting everything from me from the jump to the end.”
When watching Mathurin tape from Arizona this past season, his heart was evident. He plays with passion and celebrates with excitement on big plays whether by a teammate or himself. It feels safe to assume he loves the game.
As the highest Pacers draft pick since the late 1980s, that quality to go along with his work ethic and desire to improve are intangibles that added to his appeal as a top selection.
“I think one of the things that made the Pacers interested is that they feel like there’s an inferno burning inside this kid,” said Tommy Lloyd, Arizona’s head basketball coach during Mathurin’s sophomore season. “… He’s a super diligent guy. He really immersed himself in the process of becoming a great basketball player … he’s a self-starter and extremely motivated. I think his best days are ahead of him.” Continue reading His heart and everything else Bennedict Mathurin is bringing to the Indiana Pacers→