According to a source, the Mojave King, the 47th pick in the second round of the NBA Draft, will be a draft-and-stash for the Indiana Pacers.
You might be asking yourself, “What exactly does this mean? Have the Pacers done this before?” Good questions, hypothetical reader.
Essentially, King, a New Zealand native, will continue to develop and play overseas, perhaps back in the NBL in Australia, after spending a season with the G-League Ignite along with fellow 2023 draftees Scoot Henderson, Leonard Miller and Sidy Cissoko, while the Pacers retain their draft rights.
With the Pacers limited in both open and 2-way slots, this gives them the flexibility to prospect King without him being in the organization this season and using up their roster space.
If in the future the Pacers feel he is ready to contribute to their NBA roster and have room for him, they will be able to sign King at that time. Depending on his contract with his overseas team, he can even come over mid-season if his deal has an out clause. There are also sometimes buyout clauses with draft-and-stash players, which would involve the Pacers paying the overseas organization a fixed amount to end his contract with that team early so he could get to the NBA. They can also trade his draft rights at any time in the future.
After the team reportedly agreed to terms with Oscar Tshiebwe, the rebounding machine, on a 2-way contract, it was clear that one of the second-round picks of the last two seasons (Kendall Brown, Isaiah Wong and King) was going to be the odd man out out with the team having three 2-way slots available with the new CBA. With King saved, Brown and Wong could slide right into the final 2-way slots.
The Pacers plan with King makes their second round pick make a lot more sense than it currently did from a roster construction standpoint, as it felt like they added too much to their collection of guards and wings who are 6′ 5″ and under. Wong will now likely serve in the backup role that saw Trevelin Queen make occasional appearances with the Pacers last season when needed, but he spent the vast majority of his time with the G-League team.
While Indiana still needs forwards even after signing Jarace Walker and keeping the athletic Brown at 2-way, having room to address that hole in free agency or on the trade market leaves them with a cap space.
Indiana historically hasn’t made this type of move often. While they have traded away or sold picks to other teams who then used them on players stashed overseas several times in recent history, they haven’t done so themselves since 2007 when they took Stanko Barác in the second round. He never made it to the NBA, and the Pacers included his draft rights in a trade to the Dallas Mavericks in 2016, where the Pacers acquired Jeremy Evans and the rights to another stash player in Emir Preldzic.
In 2006, the Pacers drafted Erazem Lorbek as a draft and save. He never made it to the NBA and his draft rights were traded along with Kawhi Leonard’s draft rights to the Spurs in 2011 for George Hill. The Spurs had him join their Summer League team in 2016, 11 years after he was drafted. Lorbek was a very skilled player in Europe.
The latest player the Pacers have kept who eventually made the team is Primož Brezec. Indiana drafted him 27th overall in 2000, then joined the team a year later in 2001. He spent three years with the Pacers, but never got a handle on the rotation. He had a couple of solid seasons as a starter for the Charlotte Bobcats, who took him in the 2004 expansion draft and played in the NBA for eight seasons in total.
Going back further, the Pacers’ top stash pick was Antonio Davis, who was drafted in 1990 but played in Europe for three years before signing with the team. He had become a key member of those 90’s Pacers teams and played with the team for six years.
We can only wait and see how things turn out this time. The Pacers should get their first look at King and their other draftees during the Summer League in Las Vegas, with the first game coming July 8.