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The Indiana Pacers had a 10.5% chance to get the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Tuesday night, but the lottery balls didn’t exactly bounce in their favor.
The Pacers were awarded the No. 6 pick in the draft after finishing the 2021-22 season with a 25-57 record. Regardless, general manager Kevin Pritchard is ready for the selection.
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“We’re excited. We’re going to kick butt. We’re not messing around, now,” Pritchard told reporters after the lottery, via the Indy Star.
Pritchard made clear that one of the boxes a prospect has to check off is a willingness to play in Indianapolis.
“This is important to me: When they come to Indiana, they want to be in Indiana. The player we draft, we want in Indiana (for a pre-draft interview). We want 24 hours. We want the community to embrace him, and we want the player to embrace Indiana,” he added.
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The possibility of trading the pick or veteran players for picks doesn’t appear to be off the table either.
Myles Turner could be one of the players on the block. He has one year left on his contract and could be a prime trade candidate in the thick of the offseason or in the middle of the 2022-23 season. Trade rumors have also been swirling around Malcolm Brogdon, but he has three years left on his deal.
Indiana made a blockbuster trade when they dealt Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a 2023 second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson. Haliburton and Hield could both be around for the start of next season.
Last year, the Pacers selected Chris Duarte with the No. 13 overall pick. Duarte averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
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At No. 6, the Pacers could be looking at Iowa’s Keegan Murray, Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe, Duke’s A.J. Griffin or Memphis’ Jalen Duren, among others, when they go on the clock.