The Indiana Pacers select Ben Sheppard with the 26th overall pick

The Indiana Pacers 2023 Draft has been capitalistic, with the team was able to make several draft-day trades to better position themselves to come away with their top targets including Ben Sheppard.

With the 8th overall pick, the Indiana Pacers selected Jarace Walker the 6-foot-8 power forward out of Houston. He’s expected to contribute right away for Indiana and should fit well next to Myles Turner. Meanwhile, the Pacers had an additional first-round pick, the 26th overall pick, adding Sheppard to the team.

Related: Meet Indiana Pacers rookie Jarace Walker

Meeting Ben Sheppard

NCAA Basketball: Belmont at Murray State
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Sheppard is a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who played all four years in college. He may not be the player that many fans wanted, but he is a guy that could contribute to the Pacers right away. The first thing that stands out for him that is his shooting, making 41 percent from three as a senior.

Considering Buddy Hield’s contract is up after this year it’s easy to connect the dots that Sheppard is the expected replacement. He can be a fine scorer off the dribble while also being a good playmaker. He does move very well without the ball in his hands. In fact, in watching his tape and this specific aspect of his game it evokes memories of watching Reggie Miller. Sheppard’s shot might need a little refinement in regards to his form but his release is quick. 

Sheppard isn’t an elite athlete and his defense needs work as he enters the NBA. Another issue facing him in his transition, he avoided elite competition by playing at Belmont And since he played at Belmont he did not face a lot of elite competition. However, he shined in NBA Draft combine scrimmages and was viewed as one of the outstanding performers.

Related: Indiana Pacers interested in this starter from NBA contender

Maybe one of the more surprising things about Sheppard is that he is not a good free-throw shooter. He’s a career 69.6% from the charity stripe. This is a bit surprising considering he’s a career 37% 3PT shooter and, as previously mentioned, shot over 41% his final year in college. Missed free throws are something that Indiana basketball fans do not tolerate. 

Sheppard should prove to be a good pick for a team that is in need of shooting and he offers skills that can be playable right away. But considering this team has a lot of depth in the backcourt spots, Chris Duarte, Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, T.J. McConnell, and Andrew Nembhard, Sheppard can also sit, watch, and learn. 

Allowing Sheppard some time to get acclimated to the NBA life and talent might be beneficial to the young player. Sheppard really impressed his new head coach and the team is really high on him, so it’s possible trades this summer open up more minutes for the rookie.

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