2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks go defense, Pistons surprise at 5

2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama
2023 NBA Draft, Victor Wembanyama / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages
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7. Indiana Pacers choose Jarace Walker

Walker is arguably the best defender in this class. He has an NBA-ready body at 6’7 and 240 pounds with a 7’2 wingspan. He can guard all five players on the floor along with bringing energy and toughness. He will likely slot in at the four, but Walker is truly a position-less option that will thrive in a switch-heavy defense.

Can he make enough 3-pointers to be a coveted 3-and-D wing in the NBA? He shot 34.7 percent from long range at the shorter college line on 101 attempts. Walker has some passing and playmaking chops for a forward, but can he space the floor and become a two-way weapon at the next level?

Rick Carlisle is an outstanding offensive coach, but the Pacers desperately need help on the defensive end of the floor. They finished 26th in defensive rating last season. Indiana has Myles Turner to protect the rim, but one player cannot make a defense.

Jarace Walker is the perfect fit here. Carlisle has had success improving jumpers back to his days with the Dallas Mavericks, and the 19-year-old is the switchable defender the Pacers need at the four. Indiana is just hoping that the University of Houston product falls to pick seven.