The Pacers’ history of undrafted players nothing like the Heat

One of the most important storylines for the Miami Heat in their improbable run to the Eastern Conference Finals as a No. 8 seed has been the play of their undrafted players, though their 3-0 lead on the Celtics has disappeared.

While All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have carried much of the load just as they did in Miami’s last Finals trip in the Bubble in 2020, they’ve been supported by the consistent production of guards Gabe Vincent and Max Strus and wings Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin, none of whom were drafted out of college. In Game 3 of this series, they combined for 79 of the Heat’s 128 points.

There has been debate — some of it driven by the always vocal Draymond Green — as to how much mention their draft status should receive now that they’ve each been in the NBA for at least three years. Though some may consider it disrespectful to the players themselves, it certainly speaks to the Heat’s ability to find and develop talent. Even though there are just two rounds each year in the NBA draft and lots of all-conference and even All-American quality players go untaken, it’s still rare for such players to not only make a roster, but impact an NBA team, especially at playoff time.

The Pacers, for instance, have very rarely had success with undrafted players or even players selected in rounds three and beyond before the draft was shortened to two rounds in 1989. There have been success stories, though many of them have come because of undrafted players who had already established a place in the league before arriving in Indiana.

That being said, there have been a few undrafted — or lowly drafted — players who have made an impact in Indy. The following are the five best Pacers players who were either undrafted or drafted after the second round since 1980, before which the Pacers still had players from the ABA years.

Mar 9, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) celebrates a made shot in the first quarter against the Houston Rockets at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The undersized former Arizona point guard wasn’t taken in the 2015 draft after two All-Pac 12 seasons and two Elite…

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Author : IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star

Publish date : 2023-05-29 08:30:29

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