The 2022 NBA Draft Lottery will radically change the future of Indiana pacers.
Indy has not cracked the top 10 of the NBA draft since the 1989 season.
Prior to that year, the most notable drafts among the pacers’ top 10 picks were in 1986 and 1988.
Indiana drafted Chuck “The Rifleman” fourth overall in 1986.
Not only did the individual win the 1987 NBA Rookie of the Year award, but sweet-shooting, trash-talking hot shots also helped pacers become playoff contenders in the early 1990s.
The fortunes of the team also changed significantly in 1988 after 7-foot-4 big man Rick “The Dunking Dutchman” Smiths was drafted from Marist College.
Smiths played 12 seasons at Indy – he anchored between 1988 and 2000 and helped the pacers reach the Eastern Conference finals four times in the 1990s.
On this day 25 years ago, Rick Smith hit the game-winner in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals in a crazy finish that you will never see.
“She hits, she hits, she hits, she hits” pic.twitter.com/YMuJbJmutU
– Indiana pacers (Pacers) May 29, 2020
Smith held his own during their memorable play-off fight against guys like Patrick Ewing and Shakil O’Neill.
Smith’s most memorable moment in pacer uniform was his market-beat against Shake’s Orlando Magic in the 1995 Eastern Conference final.
Long live the “miracle of Memorial Day.”
Smiths was in the middle when the Indy reached the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000.
Sadly, Smiths retired later that year due to chronic leg problems.
The honorable mention goes to Weyman Tisdale, the leftist Oklahoma Sunners forward indie overall who drafted second after Patrick Ewing in 1985.
Tisdale was a formidable force in the low position during the pacers’ battles from the mid-1980s to the late 1980s, well complementing the big man Steve Stepanovic.
The selections of Stepanovich (second overall in 1983) and Clark Kellogg (eighth overall in 1982) also deserve praise.
They were a solid foundation for the bad Indiana team in the 1980s until a knee injury had a major impact on their NBA career.
Conversely, the pacers also missed something while drafting in the first ten picks.
The biggest setback was the removal of George McCloud from the Florida State Seminoles from the 1989 NBA Draft Pool.
McCloud was a spot-up shooter who never did well in a professional position.
The track record of the pacers drafting in the first 10 picks gives a good indication for the future of the team.
In most cases, pacers have a respectable track record of drafting in the first 10 draft selections.
Although Indiana has not had that opportunity since 1989, the team’s first round selection in 2022 – whatever it is – will drastically change the fate of the pacers in the next few years.
Indy has a 10.5 percent chance of snatching the first overall pick – something that has never happened in the history of its NBA franchise.
Can pacers make history on May 17?
The pacers are now 0.5 games ahead of the league’s 4th record.
Speaking of Jaden Ivy staying at home in existence pic.twitter.com/spGllQAidz
– AKRiley (@ AKRileyy5) January 5, 2022
Some local fans are demanding Purdue Boilermakers hotspot Jaden Ive to stay in the state and play for the pacers.
Ivey and Tyrese Haliburton will create a backcourt tandem for Blue and Gold.
The pacers can’t go wrong with forward Jabari Smith Jr. or center-back Holmgren, who will make Goga Betadze costly.
Whatever the first-round pick of the next pacers, the NBA Draft will begin with a lottery on Tuesday night.