The Pacers traded up in the draft to take rookie big man Isaiah Jackson, viewing him as an elite athlete and rim protector, writes Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star. Jackson, 19, has a 7’5″ wingspan and head coach Rick Carlisle believes he will eventually be able to guard every position on the court.
“His defensive versatility is absolutely breathtaking,” Carlisle said. “I just have not seen a guy, move, block shots, change shots, be able to guard in any position the way I’ve seen him be able to do it.”
President of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was effusive in his praise as well, noting that although Jackson had no practice time for Summer League, he had an outsized impact, tying a Summer League record with seven blocks in his final game.
“I’m not trying to compare him to Paul George right now but as a pure athlete he does some things that I’ve not seen in the gym in a long time,” Pritchard said. “He is a fast-twitch athlete. He’s at the rim all the time and I don’t know if it was fair the way we looked at him. I thought he played great this summer, but when you look at how it came to play, I mean it was like no practice — in the games — and I don’t know if we saw the full Isaiah Jackson, but we have really high hopes for him. I think he’s got super talent, he’s a good worker, and I think sky’s the limit for him. We got a diamond in the rough there.”
Here’s more on the Pacers:
- Guard Malcolm Brogdon is focused on developing as a leader entering his third season with the team, writes Brendan Rourke of Pacers.com. Brogdon says that the team’s leadership void was obvious last season, and he’s taking it upon himself to step up. He hosted a team-bonding trip in Los Angeles in August, playing pick-up games and holding team dinners, in order to build team chemistry.
- Back-to-back All-Star Domantas Sabonis is hoping to improve his three-point shot, writes Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com. Hotchkiss notes that Carlisle has implemented more five-out sets in training camp, which were effective in his time in Dallas, and believes that having big men space the floor helps everyone offensively.
- Be sure to check out our Pacers team page for more updates out of Indiana.