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Ridiculous Upside Q&A: Thoughts On How The Pacers Have Utilized The Mad Ants

In the latest Ridiculous Upside Q&A, Dakota Schmidt answers various questions from Twitter followers

2020-21 Indiana Pacers Content Day Photo by Allen Petersime/NBAE via Getty Images

Definitely think it’s going to be more of a mini-season, as that wording has been utilized in the reports from Marc Stein of the New York Times. I’ve been hearing the same thing from the sources that I’ve been talking to about what will be happening in the G League.Honestly, the only discussions surrounding a tournament came back in September in a tweet from the Athletic’s Shams Charania.

While I was disappointed in how Brown struggled from beyond the arc as a rookie, as he only shot 26% from deep on 4.6 attempts per game, he made up for it by being able to really finish around the rim and really impress on the defensive end as a 6’7 wing that can defend multiple positions. So to answer your question, I’m a fan of his game and am excited to see how he can further develop during his second year as a pro.

I think the Pacers have done a great job with utilizing the G League and the Mad Ants. IN terms of developing prospects, they were the first one to be able to be creative with their two-ways, as they signed Edmond Sumner to a two-year deal back in 2017 when he was recovering from a knee injury.

After using that first year to continue to rehab and remove some rust, the Xavier alum really shined during the 2018-19 season by putting up 22.1 points, 4.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game with a 57% True Shooting Percentage. That type of performance and Indiana being creative and patient with the young prospect ultimately led to him receiving a guaranteed deal, which isn’t common for two-way prospects.

Another creative way that the Pacers have utilized the G League is with allowing All-Star guard Victor Oladipo to get practice reps in with the Mad Ants back in November and December while recovering from a brutal knee injury.

The Pacers using the Mad Ants in those ways has made me impressed with their utilization, even if they haven’t maybe developed prospects at the level of the Raptors and 905.

In regards to Bohannon, I’m going to take a wait and see approach as he’s struggled in the first few games of this season. That isn’t surprising considering that he’s coming off a right hip injury that led to him receiving a redshirt last year. If he’s able to overcome that and get back at the level that he was as a sophomore, I think Jordan could possibly get a two-way deal as a sharp-shooting point guard that can also be an efficient playmaker.

Although it’s obviously a different case with Garza, I’m going to take a wait and see approach to see how he performs in games against high-quality Big Team teams. Because while the eye-popping numbers he’s put up are obviously impressive, it will be more significant if he can put up 25-30 points with good efficiency. So while I’m definitely intrigued in Garza given the fact that he’s a 7’2, 260 pound big that can move quickly around the court, make catch-and-shoot 3’s, and use his size inside the rim.

Given the fact that the proposed G League season is probably going to last a few weeks, where more than a handful of teams won’t participate, I’m 99.5% sure the draft won’t happen.

I definitely feel like it’s going to be a loss for the prospects as they won’t get the reps to work on their games that they would’ve received if their team decided to go to the bubble. Also, there’s definitely something different about working on your game in a competitive environment, which the G League is, compared to practices or even scrimmages.