Pacers sign rookie point guard Andrew Nembhard to historic deal for 2nd-round pick

IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star
IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star

Andrew Nembhard just made history.

The 6-5 point guard, who was drafted 31st overall by the Pacers last month, signed a four-year deal worth $8.6 million, league sources told IndyStar on Wednesday. ESPN's Jonathan Givony broke the news.

Nembhard's contract guarantees $6.4 million in the first three years, which is the most ever for a collegiate second-round pick, per Givony. ESPN's Bobby Marks added that Nembhard received more guaranteed money than first-round picks 18-30.

Nembhard is the second Pacers draft pick to sign a deal, joining No. 6 pick Bennedict Mathurin. Kendall Brown, the 48th pick, is the lone draftee who hasn't been signed.

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"The word that stands out for me is feel. (Nembhard) has just got an amazing feel for the game,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said during the draft picks' introductory news conference. “I love point guards. I've had the real privilege of working with some great, great point guards. I mean, Jason Kidd, we won a championship (in Dallas) with Jason Kidd, we had J.J. Barea on that team. Jason Terry was a point guard that converted to a scoring guard. I see some of all those qualities in Andrew. Love his size, love playmakers that can control the game, not only with their skill but with their mind.”

Nembhard played four years in college, two at Florida and two at Gonzaga. The 22-year-old commanded the Zags' offense with career-highs of 11.8 points and 5.8 assists while shooting a career-high 38.3% on 3s during the 2021-22 season.

He followed that up by averaging 6.6 points and a team-high 5.0 assists in the Pacers' five Summer League games in Las Vegas.

"The last few years I've been really fortunate to win a lot of games and be a part of a team that has a great culture and knows how to kind of come to work every day and get better," Nembhard said at his introductory news conference. "I think I can just be another piece of the puzzle here that can connect guys and just be myself."

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