The Indiana Pacers’ dream of having two first-round picks in the NBA Draft is over, at least for this year.
The Pacers were set to get a first-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Caris LeVert trade. The pick was lottery-protected, however, meaning the Cavs had to make the playoffs in order for Indiana to get it.
Cleveland didn’t make the postseason after losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA’s Play-In round Friday. Had the Cavs won the game, they would’ve been the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they’ll be part of the NBA Draft Lottery.
The loss meant the Pacers won’t get the lottery-protected pick for this year’s draft. They still have a shot at getting it next year, though. It’s again contingent on a playoff berth from the Cavaliers. If Cleveland makes the playoffs, the Pacers get their first-round pick in 2023.
What happens if the Cavaliers don’t make it to the postseason next year?
Let’s just say the Pacers really want them to reach the playoffs. If Cleveland ends up in the draft lottery again, the pick becomes a second-round selection in 2025 and another second-round selection in 2026 (the latter is a draft pick from the Lakers that currently belongs to the Cavaliers).
The Pacers finished with the fifth-worst record in the NBA (25-57) and will be part of the NBA Draft Lottery. The team has a 10.5% chance of getting the top pick and a 42.1% chance of earning a top-four pick.
They are guaranteed to have a pick in the top nine, regardless of how the May 17 lottery shakes out.
Indiana also has two second-round picks this year: the 31st and 58th overall selections.