Indiana Pacers rumored to be interested in Utah Jazz big man Jarred Vanderbilt
By Chris Phillips,
The Indiana Pacers are quickly approaching the NBA’s trade deadline . And decision time has arrived on their direction for the remainder of the season. Currently, they are the 11th seed and a half-game back of the ninth seed entering the Monday games. And just two games back of the eighth seed.
They are expected to get star point guard Tyrese Haliburton back soon, possibly around the All-Star break. And there’s enough evidence that shows the Pacers are a playoff team with Haliburton playing. However, the team has lost nine of their last 10 games. Their lone victory against division rival Chicago.
And depending on how much longer Haliburton remains out with an injury the team may fall further in the standings. Possibly too far down that they can’t overcome the deficit in time to make the play-in, let alone the playoffs. But, again, with Haliburton back in the fold this team can compete with just about any team in the NBA.
Shoring up the need for a big wing
If they are able to swing a deal to acquire a big wing player they could be very dangerous. Previously, the Indiana Pacers have been linked to John Collins in Atlanta. There are several teams who will also be in pursuit of Collins’ services.
Another player that the Pacers have been linked is Toronto’s OG Anunoby. The former Indiana University player has received one of the loudest cries from the fan base to be brought back to Hoosier country. Recently, it was reported a team offered three first-round draft picks for him and Toronto rebuked the offer. The Raptors have said they are seeking at least two promising players on team-friendly deals and a pick. The Pacers could meet these criteria if they choose to.
Introducing the new guy to the mix
There is a new player that has been linked to the team, Jarred Vanderbilt . Vanderbilt is currently in his fifth season in the NBA. Ironically, it also happens to be his best season too.
The 6-foot-9, 214-pound power forward from the University of Kentucky would greatly fit the biggest weakness of the Pacers, which is a big-wing defender. He’s also just 23 years old so he would fit with the timeline of the team as well.
Coming out of college he drew comparisons to Lamar Odom and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He was thought to be more in the mold of a point forward. However, that aspect hasn’t really materialized in the NBA yet. He was regarded as a high-motor and energy player, with a great passing ability and rebounder.
A major concern with him was his ability to stay healthy as he only played in 14 games in college. However, over the last three seasons, where he’s received legitimate playing time, he’s averaged 62 games played and 46 as a starter. So it’s fair to say the worry about him being able to stay healthy isn’t as big of a concern.
Aspects of his game that are eyebrow-raising
There are two aspects of his game that grab your attention. The first is his three-point shooting. He’s currently shooting 34.5% on 1.1 attempts. However, he’s a career 28.9% shooter. Granted his season high in attempts per game, prior to this year, was 0.2. So the question that needs to be asked is whether this is the high mark or what can be reasonably expected from him.
The other aspect is his passing ability. It appears that Utah may just be tapping into this skillset of him based on his 2.8 assists per game. His career average is 1.5. But if the Pacers are able to acquire him they could possibly see this ability further unlocked, especially with Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard in the lineup.
Vanderbilt’s skillset and playing style should also complement playing alongside Myles Turner, too. His ability to rebound and defend, while also being able to knock down the corner three would be a great fit with this Pacers team. One of the biggest concerns about trading for him, though, is the asking price of Utah. Jazz GM Danny Ainge has been wanting and receiving multiple draft picks for the players he’s trading away.
Would it be worth trading at least two of the three or possibly all three first-round picks the Pacers have to get Vanderbilt? Both of these teams are in similar boats, in that they were expected to be rebuilding but have been better than expected. This similarity could either help a trade materialize or not take shape at all.
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