Georges Niang
Iowa State forward Georges Niang was among the players who took part in the Pacers' seventh and final pre-draft workout.
Ashley Holsclaw - Pacers.com

Pacers Pick Up Playmaker in Niang

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Playmakers are in vogue in the NBA these days. The one-dimensional specialists are giving way to the more versatile talents who can thrive both offensively and defensively in a game increasingly dominated by pick and rolls.

With that in mind, the Pacers drafted Iowa State's Georges Niang with the 50th overall selection in Thursday's NBA draft, adding a 6-foot-9 four-year collegian who they hope can step into the rotation immediately and bypass the detour to their Development League affiliate in Fort Wayne.

RELATED: Georges Niang Bio + Video Interview »   Photo Gallery »

Niang stood out in the final group workout against the likes of potential first-rounders Brice Johnson and Cheick Diallo, which went a long way toward convincing the Pacers to invest in a player they didn't expect to be available to them.

"You look at some of the teams and how they're playing that are going deep into the playoffs," general manager Kevin Pritchard said. "The spread four is really important. And then the other thing is you have to have four guys who can make plays. We thought Niang is really one of the best playmakers in college basketball.

The pick-and-roll game is (big). If your four man can dive but also pick and pop and shoot the ball, drive the ball and make quick decision plays, that's what we saw in that workout. Against bigger guys. Believe it or not that workout was really important to us. I don't know if it was 20 percent of it or 30 percent of it but it was an important workout."

RELATED: Story from Niang's Pre-Draft Workout »

Niang earned second- and third-team All-American honors last season at Iowa State, along with the Karl Malone Award as the nation's best power forward. He averaged 20.5 points on 55 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists. He was a college 3-point threat, hitting 39 percent of 4.1 attempts per game.

He was widely regarded as a borderline draft pick because of his lack of athleticism, but the Pacers believe his skills and IQ will make up for that.

"The game is athletic, but I think he's always gotten by and been successful because he's super crafty," Pritchard said. "My boss (Larry Bird) is pretty crafty, too...He knows how to use his body, he's got the spin moves, he does all that and he knows how to be in the right position on defense, too.

"We needed that. At the end of the year we said we really need to improve our overall team IQ."

Pritchard added that the Pacers made some attempts to obtain a late first-round draft pick after the draft began, but were unable to work a suitable trade. He said one early selection changed the entire draft, but declined to identify it.

"It was a very unique draft this year," he said.


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Kevin Pritchard Post-Draft Press Conference

June 24, 2016 - Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard addresses the media after the conclusion of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Pacers drafted Iowa State forward Georges Niang with the 50th overall pick.

Draft Night 2016

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Kevin Pritchard Post-Draft Press Conference

June 24, 2016 - Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard addresses the media after the conclusion of the 2016 NBA Draft. The Pacers drafted Iowa State forward Georges Niang with the 50th overall pick.
Jun 24, 2016  |  10:34

Kevin Pritchard on Georges Niang

June 24, 2016 - After the 2016 NBA Draft, Pacers General Manager Kevin Pritchard met with the media to discuss the team's selection of Iowa State's Georges Niang. Indiana took Niang with the 50th overall pick.
Jun 24, 2016  |  03:48

Draft Workouts: Georges Niang

June 17, 2016 - Iowa State product Georges Niang worked out with the Pacers on Friday afternoon and spoke to Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss about his mindset as the 2016 NBA Draft rapidly approaches.
Jun 17, 2016  |  02:34

Pritchard on Impact of Niang's Pre-Draft Workout

June 23, 2016 - At the Pacers post-draft press conference on Thursday night, General Manager Kevin Pritchard discussed the importance of draft selection Georges Niang's recent pre-draft workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Jun 24, 2016  |  00:48
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