The Indiana Pacers are very optimistic about this season because Victor Oladipo, their leading scorer, will be back after missing most of last season with an injury. Although Oladipo suffered a season-ending surgery, the Pacers still qualified for the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs when they were expected to crater out by the naysayers. Plus, the Pacers will also be able to use the NBA Draft to bolster their roster. Let’s take a look at who Indiana picked in the draft.
#18 Goga Bitadze – C – Buducnost. 6’11”, 254 lbs (12.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.3 bpg). Bitadze will add frontcourt depth off of the bench. Normally, the potential of a European professional player in the NBA is calculated by multiplying the player’s stats by two due to the minutes rotation in European professional basketball.
Looking at Bitadze’s statistics, it is surprising that he did not go in the top ten picks of the draft. Goga has the potential of becoming a 20-10 guy in the NBA. The problem with NBA organizations is that they tend to copy the newest fad instead of scouting fundamentally. Every team is seeking to find guards, wing players, and stretch-four power forwards. However, Bitadze’s main method of scoring is in the post. Nevertheless, he is still able to shoot 3’s as well (31% 3-pt%).
His adjustment to the NBA will be critical to Indiana’s success because if he is able to play this season at backup center, then Domantas Sabonis can play the entire game at power forward, his natural position. His adjustment will ensure that the frontcourt will be solid every minute of the game.
Grade: I give the Pacers an A on this one. To be able to compete with Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Toronto, the frontcourt must be able to contend with their frontcourts. Bitadze could possibly be one of this season’s sleepers from this draft.