INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers exited the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday night having selected one of the best athletes available.
Duke guard Cassius Stanley (6-6, 193 pounds) is the new Pacer, after Indiana selected him with the 54th overall pick in Round Two.
Stanley played just one season at Duke, averaging 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while starting all 29 games. Stanley shot 47.4 percent from the floor and 36 percent behind the arc.
Projecting Stanley at the NBA level has him as a versatile defender with the athleticism to play in the open floor. He showed an ability to knock down an open jumper at Duke, while needing to fine tune his driving ability.
The Pacers are looking to push the pace more under new coach Nate Bjorkgren and have the personnel to better switch on the defensive end of the floor. Stanley should check those boxes.
Pacers GM Chad Buchanan met the media after the selection of Stanley. Buchanan said Stanley immediately brings a different level athlete to the Pacers roster, which is something they were seeking to complement a group that is filled with more skilled/high basketball IQ guys already.
Indiana believes Stanley can defend the 1-3 positions early in his NBA career, while his skill in the shooting and decision making departments develop.
Stanley made the ACC All-Freshman team in his lone season in Durham. He did break Zion Williamson’s school record for max vertical leap, jumping higher than 45 inches before the start of the 2019-20 season.
As a bouncy athlete, Stanley should provide some depth at the guard spots early in his NBA career. The Pacers have some uncertainty there with Jeremy Lamb coming back from a serious knee injury and Justin Holiday being a free agent.
Here’s a look at the last 5 drafts for the Pacers:
2020: G-Cassius Stanley (Round 2-54)
2019: C-Goga Bitadze (Round 1-18), F-Jarell Brantley (Round 2-50, traded to Utah)
2018: G-Aaron Holiday (Round 1-23), F-Alize Johnson (Round 2-50)
2017: F-T.J. Leaf (Round 1-18), C-Ike Anigbogu (Round 2-47)
2016: G/F-Caris LeVert (Round 1-20, traded to Brooklyn), F-Georges Niang (Round 2-50)
— Cassius Stanley (@cassius_stanley) November 19, 2020