Goga Bitadze: "It's a Dream Come True Moment"

June 20, 2019 - Goga Bitadze reacts to being drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

2019 Draft Night

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Goga Bitadze: "It's a Dream Come True Moment"

June 20, 2019 - Goga Bitadze reacts to being drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Jun 20, 2019  |  02:10

Kevin Pritchard on Bitadze, 2019 Draft Night

June 20, 2019 - Pacers President of Basketball Operations reflects on the 2019 NBA Draft, where the Pacers took center Goga Bitadze with the 18th overall pick.
Jun 21, 2019  |  15:24

Nate McMillan on Pacers Drafting Goga Bitadze

June 20, 2019 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media after Indiana selected Georgian center Goga Bitadze with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Jun 20, 2019  |  05:40

The Pacers Select Goga Bitadze

June 20, 2019 - The Pacers draft Goga Bitadze from Sagarejo, Georgia with the 18th pick in the first round.
Jun 20, 2019  |  00:00

Goga Shakes Hands with Silver

June 20, 2019 - Pacers center Goga Bitadze meets NBA commissioner Adam Silver on stage after hearing his name called as the 18th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Jun 20, 2019  |  00:00

Goga Bitadze's ESPN Interview

June 20, 2019 - Goga Bitazde speaks to ESPN's Maria Taylor about his excitement to be drafted into the NBA and his Georgian heritage.
Jun 20, 2019  |  00:00

Pacers Draft Goga Bitadze with 18th Overall Pick

#GoldOnTheClock: 2019 Pacers Draft Night Running Blog
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

Editor's Note: As the 2019 NBA Draft unfolds, Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss is keeping a running blog on this page with updates throughout the night. Check back often for the latest news, videos, and more.

  • 1:55 AM

    Mark Montieth's story is posted now on Pacers.com/Draft. Bitadze is scheduled to meet have an introductory press conference in Indianapolis at 1:00 PM tomorrow (or I guess I should say today).

    We'll have a live stream of that press conference on our Facebook page, along with hopefully some more fun content. Thanks for following along with us tonight. Good night, Pacers fans!

  • 12:55 AM

    Missed this quote on Bitadze earlier from veteran NBA center Zaza Pachulia, another native of Georgia and Bitadze's basketball idol:

    "He's really a rising star. His future is bright if he continues to work hard."

    Pachulia also tweeted this:

  • 12:30 AM

    Here's one big fan of the Pacers' draft pick, IU alum and ESPN SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele:

  • 12:15 AM

    That's it for media availability tonight, but we're still working hard in the St. Vincent Center. We'll have Pritchard's full press conference posted shortly and Mark Montieth will be writing on the addition of Bitadze as well.

  • 12:08 AM

    Pritchard's goal entering the draft? "I wanted to get one player that could really help us next year." Thinks he found that in Bitadze.

    "We had Goga in our top 10," Pritchard said. "I know for a fact one team ahead of us was going to take him, but something happened and it created a butterfly effect."

  • 12:05 AM

    Pritchard is now taking questions about free agency. He says "we're going to do our best to keep" Bojan Bogdanovic, but expects "a high level of competition" for the Croatian sharpshooter after his breakout season.

    Pritchard also not closing the door on bringing back any of Thaddeus Young, Darren Collison, or Cory Joseph, but says it is hard to forecast how free agency might go right now.

  • 12:00 AM

    Pritchard says Bitadze is "more polished" and "ready to play right away" than other players they have drafted in recent years.

  • 11:55 PM

    Pritchard says Indiana has traded the 50th overall pick to Utah for a future second-round pick. Bitadze is the Pacers' only draft selection tonight.

  • 11:53 PM

    Pacers President of Basketball Operations speaking to the media now. Says he was stunned Bitadze fell to 18. Pritchard knows there is skepticism about taking another center, but thinks both Sabonis and Turner can play at power forward.

    Pritchard loves Bitadze's shot-blocking and ability to protect the rim.

  • 11:35 PM

    You can watch Goga Bitadze's interview with Pacers.com in the video player above.

  • 11:16 PM

    Another Indiana college star is off the board, as Purdue All-American Carsen Edwards is selected with the 33rd overall pick.

  • 11:08 PM

    Seems like a good time for another reminder that we can't comment on reported trades until they are officially announced by the league. Phoenix just took Stanford's KZ Okpala with the 32nd pick. Officially, Indiana is not on the clock until pick 50.

  • 10:58 PM

    Bitadze told the media in New York he was "shaking, literally" when his name was called and he went up to shake Commissioner Adam Silver's hand:

    "This is for my family definitely back in Georgia right now. They're watching. This is for them. They came to my mind, the whole process. I was doing it for them."

  • 10:55 PM

    Just got some quotes from Bitadze's press conference in Brooklyn. Here's what he had to say about his knowledge of the Pacers and how he might fit in Indiana

    "I know a lot about them. I watched them in the playoffs, too. I really like Victor Oladipo.

    "I think I can bring a lot of stuff into their game. Stretch the floor. Help them do a lot of good stuff for the team offensively, defensively. Be competitive, bring a lot of positive energy and be productive on both ends of the floor."

  • 10:45 PM

    We've also got an in-person interview with Bitadze uploading to Pacers.com now. Stay tuned for more content with the newest member of the Pacers.

  • 10:35 PM

    Our man on the ground in Brooklyn, Greg Rappaport, got this video with Goga Bitadze at the draft:

  • 10:33 PM

    We're talking to Goga right now on a conference call.

    He said he had no idea the Pacers were interested in him and did not meet with them prior to the draft. "I was really happy and excited," he said about getting picked by Indiana.

    He worked out for Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, and San Antonio prior to the draft.

  • 10:25 PM

    You can now watch Nate McMillan's complete press conference in the video player above. Check it out while you're killing time before the Pacers pick again!

  • 10:20 PM

    Virginia point guard Ty Jerome is off the board with the 24th pick. Jerome is the third player the Pacers had in for a pre-draft workout to be drafted, but for the second straight year, Indiana selected a player it did not workout with its first-round pick. Aaron Holiday went 23rd overall to the Blue & Gold in 2018 despite not visiting Indiana for a workout (he did interview with team executives at the NBA Draft Combine).

  • 10:07 PM

    Bitadze went somewhat viral yesterday in a photo from pre-draft media availability. Despite being considered a likely lottery pick, he was seated next to Zion Williamson. A photo captured a swarm of media around Zion while no one was approaching the future Pacers' pick:

    NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green weighed in on the photo, saying it should fuel Bitadze to show why the media was wrong for overlooking him.

  • 9:57 PM

    Fellow international scout Aleksandar Pajovic estimates he saw Bitadze play in person at least 25 times. Pajovic thinks very highly of the 19-year-old big man and reiterated the opinion McMillan shared earlier that Bitadze is ready to be a rotation player right away.

  • 9:52 PM

    International scout Jose Galilea talking to the media right now and compares Bitadze to another current Pacers big man: "He's a great rim protector. He can shoot from outside. He can really run the court for his size. I would say he's really similar to Myles (Turner)."

  • 9:45 PM

    McMillan said he thinks Bitadze is similar to Sabonis in his skill set. He doesn't sound overly concerned about finding playing time for three centers at the moment.

  • 9:40 PM

    McMillan said the Pacers were "ecstatic" when Bitadze was available at 18. They had him going in the late lottery and were very surprised he fell to 18. McMillan said he is highly skilled, can handle the ball and shoot from outside.

    McMillan said he has not seen Bitadze play, but scouts tell him "he is ready to play now." Even though the Pacers have two talented young centers in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, they think Bitadze can and will contribute next season.

  • 9:33 PM

    The Pacers did not work out Bitadze and admittedly I didn't see much EuroLeague basketball last season. Pacers coach Nate McMillan is expected to address the media soon and we will find out more about why Bitadze appealed to the Blue & Gold.

  • 9:30 PM

    The Pacers have drafted Goga Bitadze, a 6-11 center from the Republic of Georgia. Bitadze is a 19-year-old who played for Montenegrin club Budućnost last season and was named a EuroLeague Rising Star and Adriatic League MVP last season.

    He averaged 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks over 13 games in EuroLeague competition. Bitadze's strengths are his mobility and his ability to bang bodies in the post. He has the potential to stretch the floor with a developing 3-point shot.

  • 9:26 PM

    Sekou Doumbouya, Chuma Okeke, and Nickeil Alexander come off the board. The Indiana Pacers are officially on the clock.

    Alexander-Walker was a popular projection for the Pacers, but even with him off the board, there are LOTS of intriguing options available here...

  • 9:07 PM

    That sound you hear is the collective sigh of IU fans across the state, as the Celtics take Romeo Langford with the 14th overall pick. The New Albany native will play for Brad Stevens and alongside Gordon Hayward in Boston.

  • 9:00 PM

    The Miami Heat take Kentucky guard Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick. Herro is the first player drafted tonight who worked out for the Pacers. Read About Herro's Workout »

  • 8:52 PM

    After a run on Cams with Duke's Cam Reddish and UNC's Cameron Johnson going back-to-back, the Hornets take Kentucky forward PJ Washington with the 12th pick. Washington was another player some mocks had going to Indiana. Five more picks and then the Pacers are on the clock...

  • 8:32 PM

    After Coby White and Jaxson Hayes come off the board, the Wizards take Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the ninth overall pick. The first Japanese born player ever drafted, Hachimura was projected to go to the Pacers in some preliminary mock drafts, but his stock has clearly risen over the past few weeks.

  • 8:15 PM

    Virginia's De'Andre Hunter, Vanderbilt's Darius Garland, and Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver go 4-5-6. We're a third of the way to Indiana's selection at #18.

  • 7:50 PM

    Ja Morant goes to Memphis at #2 and the Knicks take RJ Barrett at #3. The first three picks follow the exact order everyone has assumed they would for the last month. Now things will start to get interesting.

  • 7:40 PM

    It's official. Zion Williamson is headed for Bourbon Street. 16 more picks and then the Pacers will be on the clock.

  • 7:35 PM

    The New Orleans Pelicans are officially on the clock with the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. I wonder who they'll take?

  • 7:00 PM

    ESPN's draft telecast has started, but the draft won't officially be underway for another half hour. We've got you covered both from the draft itself in Brooklyn and outside the team's draft room at St. Vincent Center.

    Also, Season Ticket Holders are holding a draft party, where Pacers forward Alize Johnson stopped by earlier tonight:

  • 6:45 PM

    We're 45 minutes away from the start of the draft. The Pacers have had the 18th pick twice in team history. They took Vern Fleming with that selection in 1984 and TJ Leaf in 2017. Other notable 18th picks include former Pacers Mark Jackson and David West.

  • 5:45 PM

    As trade rumors swirl, a reminder that as an official team outlet we cannot comment on any reported trades until they are made official by the league. Some reported trades cannot be made official until after the free agent moratorium, which runs until July 6.

  • 3:30 PM

    If you want to see our new draft picks in action, now is the PERFECT time to sign up for a 2019-20 season ticket package. Choose between a Full or Half Season Plan and get other perks, like ticket discounts and saving on Pacers gear. Reserve your seats at Pacers.com/Tickets.

  • 2:30 PM

    Hungry for some pre-draft content? We had 49 prospects visit St. Vincent Center over the past month. We did one-on-one interviews with each prospect and touched on all of them across 16 written stories. Check out all of that great content at Pacers.com/Draft.

  • 12:00 PM

    Happy Draft Day, Pacers fans! We're just hours away from the 2019 NBA Draft, where the Pacers own the 18th and 50th overall selections.

    You never know how Draft Night will unfold, so we'll be updating this page with Pacers-centric draft coverage throughout the night. Check back frequently for photos, videos, quotes, and insight as we learn which players will become the newest members of your Indiana Pacers.

    I'll be updating this page as much as possible, so be sure to save a tab in your browser for us while you're watching the Draft telecast and frantically refreshing your Twitter feed. Stay tuned!

2019 Draft Night Press Conferences
Hear from Pacers executives and/or coaches after the Pacers make their picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.

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