Pacers NBA Draft prospect scouting reports
UCLA teammates T.J. Leaf (22) and Bryce Alford have worked out for the Pacers. (Getty Images)
With four weeks until the draft, the Pacers already have had 24 players into Bankers Life Fieldhouse for workouts. The most highly regarded prospects are power forwards and wings, with UCLA's T.J. Leaf and Wake Forest's John Collins both projecting into the middle third of the first round. The Pacers hold the 18th and 47th picks. Here's a brief look at each of those prospects.
PACERS DRAFT WORKOUT SCOUTING REPORTS
POTENTIAL FIRST-ROUND PICKS
>> DWAYNE BACON (6-6, 220, Florida State, Soph.): An explosive athlete and excellent finisher with a solid NBA-ready frame, Bacon averaged 17.2 points for the Seminoles but shot just .333 from the 3-point line. A streaky shooter who’ll need to work on developing more consistency from the perimeter, Bacon also has some holes in his defensive fundamentals. He projects as a bridge pick (late first or early second round).
>> JORDAN BELL (6-9, 225, Oregon, Jr.): A versatile, athletic and energetic big man who stood out at the Combine. A multi-position defender with a nose for protecting the rim, Bell seems well-suited for smaller lineups. Though limited offensively, he doesn’t need the ball to contribute and rarely takes shots he can’t make (.636 last season). He has a lot of the traits the Pacers are looking for but could be a reach in the first round.
>> JOHN COLLINS (6-9, 225, Wake Forest, Soph.): A strong low-post player from either block, Collins might back a solid offensive complement to Myles Turner’s face-up game, but his defense will need work. His defensive fundamentals are poor, as are his instincts. Other than an absence of 3-point range, there aren’t many holes in his offensive game. He is long, explosive, runs well and punishes the offensive glass. He led the nation in offensive efficiency, averaging 19.2 points on 11.4 field goal attempts (hitting 62 percent), adding 9.8 rebounds per game. He’s a solid first-round prospect who has been linked to the Pacers in several mock drafts.
>> WESLEY IWUNDU (6-7, 210, Kansas State, Sr.) : Another four-year collegian, Iwundu has the look of a solid wing defender. An above average athlete, Iwundu has worked to improve his 3-point shooting (.376 last season) but that is hardly a strength. He is a threat off the dribble and in transition but unless he can become a consistent long-range shooter, his value will be limited. He could sneak into the first round with impressive workouts.
>> T.J. LEAF (6-10, 225, UCLA, Fr.): Plays like the son of a coach, which he is. Plays like an international big man, which he is, sort of. Born in Israel while his father was playing professionally, Leaf has developed into a solid all-around offensive player with decent ball skills and the ability to stretch the floor. He averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 blocks as a freshman, shooting .622 overall and .466 from the arc, although he hit just .679 from the line. Like most young big men, he needs to get stronger and polish his defensive fundamentals, but his offensive potential could push him into the late lottery selections.
>> CALEB SWANIGAN (6-8, 257, Purdue, Soph.): Swanigan was a prolific player last season (18.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, .527 overall, .447 from the arc), but is more of an old-school power forward who could get caught in the backwash of the new wave of stretch fours. Although he has improved his jump shot, the greater challenge will be defense, as he isn’t quite big enough to bang with NBA bigs, and lacks the quickness to close out on the perimeter. Unless a team late in the first round becomes enamored, he’ll likely slip into the second round.
>> SINDARIUS THORNWELL (6-5, 210, South Carolina, Sr.): The SEC player of the year made his name in the Gamecocks’ improbable run to the Final Four. A big, strong, long-armed shooting guard who plays with toughness, aggression and passion, Thornwell averaged 21.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, but he isn’t considered to be an explosive athlete and lacks the quickness to succeed in isolation situations. Because of those factors and his age (22), he’s seen as a largely finished product headed for a career as a role-player.
POTENTIAL SECOND-ROUND PICKS
>> BRYCE ALFORD (6-3, 186, UCLA, Sr.): Son of Steve is a borderline draft prospect because of his tweener status. Though he played point guard for a couple of years, he struggled with consistency but with Lonzo Ball’s arrival last season Alford moved to shooting guard and averaged 15.5 points on 43 percent shooting from the arc. Could stick somewhere as a combo guard off the bench.
>> IKE ANIGBOGU (6-9, 252, UCLA, Fr.): An intriguing young big man, a real physical specimen with unusual athleticism and energy. In reserve role, showed the ability to protect the rim and defend the post. Offensive skills are limited but he’s a runner-dunker in transition. Definitely not a stretch-big prospect, his skills would be a nice complement to Myles Turner, provided he’s available in the second round.
>> JABARI BIRD (6-6, 200, California, Sr): A highly-touted recruit out of high school, he never evolved into an elite player, partly due to injuries. He averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, with a .440/.365/.764 shooting line. Not an elite athlete, he showed consistent problems with shot selection and basic decision-making, which is why he may go undrafted.
>> TREVON BLUIETT (6-6, 208, Xavier, Jr.): Opted to return to Xavier for his senior season.
>> DILLON BROOKS (6-6, 220, Oregon, Jr.): Versatility was a major strength in college, where he was able to play both forward spots, but he doesn’t have the size for the four-spot in the NBA -- he’d even be small for a stretch-four. A fierce competitor, Brooks occasionally let that competitive fire burn a little too hot. He’s strong and aggressive but not an elite athlete who could be a ‘tweener. He averaged 16.1 points and shot .401 from the arc but pulled just 3.2 rebounds. He’s a mid-to-late second-round prospect.
>> TROY CAUPAIN (6-4, 200, Cincinnati, Sr.): Because of his size and experience playing some point in college, he has drawn some second-round interest. A relatively well-rounded player and eager defender, Caupain averaged 10.5 points and 4.4 assists as a senior, shooting .453/.325/.687. He could work out as a backup combo guard, but his draft prospects are marginal.
>> VINCENT EDWARDS (6-8, 225, Purdue, Jr.): Opted to return to Purdue for his senior season.
>> JOSH HART (6-5, 204, Villanova, Sr.): Another Naismith finalist, Hart was one of the most accomplished players in college basketball, averaging 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists last season and never shot below 50 percent in a season during his career, a remarkable accomplishment for a guard. As polished as Hart is, he is viewed as a largely finished product who could fill a role right away, but with modest upside, hence his widespread projections as a second-round pick.
>> PETER JOK (6-6, 205, Iowa, Sr.): The Big Ten’s leading scorer (19.9), the long and lean wing showed a streaky 3-point shot while averaging 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Not a strong finisher, Jok also struggles to create off the dribble, relying on his jump shot. Though he hit .380 from the arc, his overall percentage of .426 left much to be desired, but he is a great free throw shooter (.911). He may lack the quickness to defend NBA wings, but his shooting ability could get him into the second round.
>> BEN MOORE (6-7, 205, SMU, Sr.): One of the key figures in SMU’s rise to national relevance, Moore was an undersized power forward who averaged 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, with a reputation as a solid defender. He most certainly was not a 3-point shooter, going 1-of-5 for his career, and without strong workouts may go undrafted.
>> MONTE MORRIS (6-3, 175, Iowa State, Sr.): If you value ball-protection above creativity, this is your go. Morris committed just 165 turnovers in 140 college games and posted a 5.16 assist:turnover ratio. A four-year player who averaged 16.4 points, 6.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds last season, Morris has the look of a solid backup point guard who won’t hurt you, but will have a limited capacity to help. He’s a mid-to-late second-round projection.
>> SEMI OJELEYE (6-6, 240, SMU, Jr.): After transferring from Duke, he had a big year, averaging 19 points and 6.9 rebounds, shooting .487 overall and .424 from the arc. He has an NBA-ready physique and is a good shooter with range, but a ‘tweener needs to be a strong defender, and he hasn’t shown much of a propensity for that end of the floor. Look for him to go in the middle third of the second round.
>> DAVON REED (6-5, 206, Miami, Sr.): Tough player with a strong reputation as a defender. Measured a 7-0 wingspan, which is exceptional. A career 40 percent shooter from the 3-point line, he averaged 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds last season, shooting .433 overall and .397 from the arc. A late second-round prospect.
>> TREVOR THOMPSON (7-0, 250, Ohio State, Jr.): Former Ben Davis standout was pursued by both IU and Purdue when he announced his intention to transfer from Virginia Tech but he chose the Buckeyes instead. Averaged 23 minutes, 10.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks last season, shooting .571 overall and .720 from the line, leading the team in rebounds and blocks. His father is former major league journeyman Ryan Thompson.
>> DERRICK WALTON JR. (6-0, 185, Michigan, Sr.): A solid, well-rounded offensive player who averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds while shooting .456/.422/.876, Walton could shoot his way into the second round with strong workouts. An average athlete who had problems on defense, Walton has the look of a backup point guard.
>> DERRICK WHITE (6-4, 191, Colorado, Sr.): A rare combination of an older prospect (he turns 23 in July) still growing as a player. Lightly recruited out of high school, he started out at UC-Colorado Springs but transferred to Colorado, where he had a big season (18.1 points, 4.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds). If he’s truly a late-bloomer, he could be a second-round steal as a combo guard.
>> MICHAEL YOUNG (6-9, 235, Pittsburgh, Sr.): A solid low-post scorer with decent range (19.6 points, .341 from the arc), Young is built for the NBA but needs to show a greater willingness and ability to defend the position. He could go undrafted.