Jalen Smith’s Re-Signing Bodes Well For The Pacers

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Jalen Smith #25 of the Indiana Pacers grabs a rebound against Lou Williams #6 and Onyeka Okongwu #17 of the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena on March 13, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

After months of keeping the Indiana Pacers in suspense, Jalen Smith will suit up for the Blue and Gold for the next two seasons.

Smith signed a two-year, $9.66 million contract extension with Indy on July 2.

His deal comes on the heels of Malcolm Brogdon‘s trade to the Boston Celtics.

With that in mind, the Pacers will have a revitalized core for the 2022-23 NBA season.

The bespectacled Smith figures to be a huge part of that, for sure.

 

Smith Will Help The Pacers Make Strides in 2022-23

Smith’s trade to Indy has been the major turning point of his young career.

He has more than doubled his previous 6.0 points per game scoring average with the Phoenix Suns after the Pacers acquired him in a trade for Torrey Craig last season.

Certainly, nobody saw Smith averaging 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds with Indy in 2021-22.

The 22-year-old Smith was active around the basket – he made timely cuts to the rim that allowed Tyrese Haliburton and Dwayne Washington Jr. to find him for the uncontested layup or dunk.

Smith was also lethal on the fastbreak – he knew how to set himself up for the alley-oop dunk from the wing.

Smith wasn’t just about offense – his active hands allowed him to block shots and deflect passes time and again.

Expect these trends to continue in the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season.

Smith solidifies a Pacers frontcourt that currently includes Myles Turner, Daniel Theis, Isaiah Jackson, and Goga Bitadze.

The trio of Smith, Turner, and Jackson will present major problems for opponents next season.

Unfortunately, those three couldn’t establish a rhythm because Turner missed a significant chunk of last season due to a nagging left foot injury.

Turner and Smith give the Pacers two stretch-5s who will make defenses honest when they’re together on the court.

They also give Indy an imposing shot-blocking duo reminiscent of the Davis Boys, Dale and Antonio.

The Jackson-Smith frontcourt tandem isn’t too shabby, either – those two athletic bigs complement each other beautifully.

Smith is the more finesse player while Jackson is the bruiser who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work down low.

The Pacers haven’t had someone of Smith’s caliber in a long time – he’s like a modern Detlef Schrempf who’s more active on the defensive end.

It would’ve been a major shame had Smith signed somewhere else.

Fortunately, he saw something in Indy other free agents didn’t.

On that note, it’s only fitting Smith should become an integral part of the Pacers’ postseason aspirations well after his two-year contract expires.

Before long it wouldn’t come as a shock when Smith becomes the next big name in Pacers basketball.

It’s only a matter of time before that happens in Indy.





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