2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks land defensive stopper, Warriors add another shooter

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26. Indiana Pacers draft James Nnaji

After electing to draft Ausar Thompson with the seventh overall pick, the Pacers have two picks in the final five selections of the draft.

With the 26th overall pick in the draft, I have the Indiana Pacers selecting James Nnaji. The 6'10 center is one of the best bigs in the draft and is a safe pick for the Pacers as Myles Turner is constantly involved in trade rumors. This pick gives them a solid backup big that could step in when Turner's contract ended or is traded.

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Nnaji is a great finisher around the bucket and sets good screens. He would fit well with Tyrese Halliburton as he can be a lob threat and a dump-off option for the young point guard. Nnaji loves to roll to the bucket, and Halliburton could reward him on offense due to his fierce defense.

On defense, Nnaji is a monster. He would anchor the Pacers' defense when he is in the game and is a great, instinctual shot blocker. Nnaji can also switch when needed and isn't a liability on the perimeter.

This pick would be a project for Indiana, and he may take some time to fully pan out, but has good value this late in the first round. He'll be a good rim protector immediately and would be a good addition to their core.