Years Pro: 1
Status: Has a partially guaranteed contract for next season.
Key Stats: Played in 11 games for the Pacers, totaling 13 points and nine rebounds in 2.7 minutes per game. Played 20 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the G League, averaging 8.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 24.6 minutes per game.
One way or another, Thaddeus Young will have a major influence on the Pacers' future this summer.
It's not about what Ike Anigbogu was this past season, and it's not about what he will be next season. It's about what he might be down the road, when he reaches a ripe old NBA age of, say, 23.
Anigbogu was the youngest player on an NBA roster last season as a raw 19-year-old with just one season of college basketball on his resume — one season as a backup who averaged just 13 minutes per game at UCLA. The inexperience shows in his unrefined skill set, but he has a body beyond his years for the NBA game. He's 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds with raw strength in his upper and lower body, long arms, and uncommon agility and explosion for his size and age.
PHOTO GALLERY: Ike Anigbogu's 2017-18 Season in Photos »
That's why he was projected as a first-round pick in some mock drafts last year despite his meager college accomplishments. Sports Illustrated for example, had him going 27th in its final mock. CBS Sports had him going 19th and referred to him as a "remarkable raw talent." A knee injury that was aggravated in pre-draft workouts raised too many doubts, however, and the Pacers were happy to take him with the 47th overall selection.
He didn't get enough game action last season to provide a reliable evaluation of his current status, but he still oozes intrigue. He's well-traveled, too, having seven trips up I-69 to Fort Wayne to play for the Mad Ants in 20 G League games. His averages weren't above average — 8.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 24.6 minutes — but his overriding stat remains time on the planet. He doesn't turn 20 until October.
His best G League game came against Delaware when he showed an impressive array of moves around the basket on his way to 20 points.
His best game with the Pacers came against Minnesota on New Year's Eve, when, playing the final 3 minutes, 47 seconds of a blowout loss, he scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds. His longest appearance came in a blowout victory at Phoenix, when he played the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds.
Those garbage time appearances were better than nothing, but hardly enough to provide a clear glimpse into his future. That process will begin in earnest in the offseason when he'll be healthy enough to participate in Summer League games and full-blown workouts.
He was a second-round gamble worth taking. Whether he becomes a steal remains to be seen.
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