2019 Draft Workouts: Juwan Morgan

June 5, 2019 - Indiana forward Juwan Morgan speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.

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2019 Draft Workouts: Juwan Morgan

June 5, 2019 - Indiana forward Juwan Morgan speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 5, 2019  |  01:43

2019 Draft Workouts: Tacko Fall

June 5, 2019 - UCF center Tacko Fall speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 5, 2019  |  02:32

2019 Draft Workouts: Mfiondu Kabengele

June 5, 2019 - Florida State forward Mfiondu Kabengele talked about his development as a player and where he thinks he would fit best in the NBA.
Jun 5, 2019  |  01:47

2019 Draft Workouts: Ky Bowman

June 5, 2019 - Boston College guard Ky Bowman speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 5, 2019  |  01:33

2019 Draft Workouts: Shizz Alston

June 5, 2019 - Temple guard Shizz Alston, coming off of a career year, talked about what skills he believes he can bring to an NBA roster.
Jun 5, 2019  |  01:29

2019 Draft Workouts: Elijah Thomas

June 5, 2019 - Clemson forward Elijah Thomas talked about the experience he gained from playing in the ACC and what parts of his game he thinks will translate to the NBA.
Jun 5, 2019  |  02:09

Morgan Hoping to Impress with Maturity, Versatility

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Juwan Morgan's NBA dream could hinge on his ability to knock down 3-point shots with something resembling regularity. Which isn't the worst thing in the world for a draft prospect.

Imagine if he wasn't athletic enough. Or experienced enough. Or mature enough. Or versatile enough. Or almost anything else enough.

"I think I'm in a pretty good place when the only thing they can question is can you get better at shooting the three, because you can always get better at shooting," Morgan said Tuesday after his workout with the Pacers at St. Vincent Center.

Morgan has been working on his perimeter shooting in his personal workouts with Zionsville trainer Joey Burton since his senior season at IU ended. He's had six workouts and has six more scheduled, and it seems to be the focus of every team. He says he's shooting it well, but making unguarded shots in a gym is an entirely different issue than making them in a game. And Morgan didn't make enough in college to impress scouts.

After hitting 5-of-11 3-pointers as a freshman, he struggled mightily with the shot the rest of his college career. He made just 26-of-88 as a senior (.295 percent), which was a little better than he shot it as a sophomore but a little worse than he shot as a junior.

That won't do in today's NBA for a 6-foot-8 player unless he does just about everything else well. And Morgan might fit into that category, which could buy him some time. He cites P.J. Tucker, Jae Crowder, and Paul Millsap as role models for his skill-set, and those comparisons appear valid. Also, encouraging.

2019 DRAFT CENTRAL: Complete Coverage at Pacers.com/Draft »

Tucker, at 6-foot-6, was the 35th pick of the 2006 draft. He didn't dare attempt a 3-pointer as a 21-year-old rookie, and hit just 31 percent when he returned to the NBA for his second season at 27 after a five-season hiatus overseas. He started all 82 games for Houston last season and on Tuesday was revealed as a participant in the Team USA training camp this summer. He has two years remaining on a contract that will pay about $8 million per season.

Crowder, also 6-foot-6, was the 34th pick of the 2012 draft. He's shot better than 35 percent from 3-point range in just one of his seven NBA seasons, but has another year on a contract with Utah that will pay $7.8 million next season.

Millsap would be the poster-sized vision for Morgan. The 6-foot-8 forward was the 47th pick in the 2006 draft. He made just 2-of-20 3-pointers over his first four NBA seasons, but hit 36.5 percent last season with Denver. A four-time All-Star, he'll be paid $30.5 million next season.

Tucker, Crowder, and Millsap have gotten by, thrived even, because of their defense, physicality, and general maturity. Morgan can legitimately claim those qualities. He knows his place in the game. At 22 he lacks the argument for upside that younger draft candidates possess — he's 13 days older than TJ Leaf, who has played two seasons for the Pacers — but believes his plug-and-play status is an equally valuable asset.

"Young guys don't know who they are as a player and they want to be the man, still," he said.

And Morgan knows he's not "the man" type.

"Defense is the best way to get on the floor when you know you're not going to come in and be a dominant scorer," he said.

Morgan didn't earn All-Defensive team honors at IU, but qualified as solid in that department. He more than qualified as efficient and productive in an under-the-radar sort of way. He averaged 15.5 points as a senior on 56 percent shooting, along with 8.2 rebounds, but also flashed winning intangibles. He had the best Player Efficiency Ratio in the Big Ten as a junior and second-best as a senior.

He's a facilitator as much as anything, the kind of player who tends to shine in the plus-minus category. As a college graduate with a degree in Sports Communications, he's also a leader. He comes by that naturally. Raised in a military family, he learned to adapt at an early age. Born in Germany, he also lived in Texas, Korea, and Missouri before enrolling at IU.

Growing up that way, one learns to mesh — another handy quality for a draft prospect.

"Just being able to fit into any system with any players on the court and being able to thrive in each one of those situations," he said.

Still, it wouldn't hurt to keep working on that 3-point shot.


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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