With the fifth pick in the draft, the Indiana Pacers select Purdue sophomore Jaden Ivey.
Ivey is a bit difficult for me to gauge overall, but nevertheless, he’s without a doubt the most electric player in college basketball this season and popped off the screen whenever I’ve had the chance to watch him. He has an eye-popping first step and elite acceleration in general. His absurd twitch athleticism has garnered him comparisons to Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook, perhaps unfairly.
Normally, I would be far more skeptical of a prospect that is having a great shooting year after a relatively poor shooting season in his first year, but his shooting numbers from high school make his efficiency much more convincing.
I think Ivey heading to Indianapolis would be a match made in heaven—he would have an opportunity to return to his home state, where his mother played for the Indiana Fever, and he’d have the opportunity to play next to Tyrese Haliburton. All of a sudden, the Pacers would find themselves having a dynamic, two-way backcourt with plenty of shooting and athleticism to make them feel better about experimenting with the rest of the roster.
Ivey is still very much in the conversation for a top-three pick, so if he were to fall in the Pacers’ laps at 5th overall, I’d find it incredibly difficult to believe that they would opt for another player given what he offers, even after a disappointing performance against St. Peter’s.