Sources: Pacers' first-round picks to play in 2023 G League Showcase
Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard will help lead the top-seeded Indiana Mad Ants at the G League Showcase this week in Orlando.
Indiana Pacers first-round picks Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard have joined the Indiana Mad Ants this week in Florida for the G League Showcase, league sources told Fieldhouse Files.
This winter, it’s being held in Orlando, Fla. rather than in Las Vegas. Games will be played inside the Orange County Convention Center from Dec. 19-22.
This is the G League’s marquee event that brings all 31 teams together and allows for executives across the NBA to evaluate all in one place. Eight of the teams will be competing in the Showcase Cup. (All other teams will play two games each.)
The Mad Ants are 13-1, winners of 12 in a row and the No. 1 seed in the Showcase Cup. All three two-way players (Kendall Brown, Isaiah Wong and Oscar Tshiebwe) will also be participating.
The Mad Ants will face Capital City Go-Go on Tuesday at noon ET on ESPN2. It is a single-elimination tournament with $100,000 on the line for the winning team.
If Indiana wins, it will advance to play the winner of the Ontario Clippers and the College Park Skyhawks at 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday (ESPN2). The Showcase Cup Finals is set for 7 pm. on Friday (ESPN2).
The Pacers have four games this week, beginning Monday against the Clippers.
So that means the rookies could potentially miss three Pacers games this week: v Clippers, v Hornets and at Memphis.
Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan attended the Mad Ants’ win on Friday, then visited with the team after the game.
“All you young guys, you're all developing, you're all growing,” he told them. “The coaches are doing a great job with you. I see the progress all of you are making and it shows out there.
“When you go to the showcase, the temptation is gonna be to wanna make it about yourself; don’t do that. Show the league why you guys are where we’re at. Play the way you’ve played the whole time. Don’t change the way you play just because you got all these people down there at the showcase.”
The team’s top two draft picks from last June have sparingly played for the Pacers through the first 24 games. However, they are coming off playing a career high in minutes in Saturday’s loss at Minnesota.
Walker: 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in 24 minutes.
Sheppard: 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals in 17 minutes.
Both guard Andrew Nembhard and center Jalen Smith have been ruled out for Monday’s Pacers game against the LA Clippers, who have won seven straight games. However, a return is nearing for both players. (Tyrese Haliburton is listed as questionable.)
In the video below, you can see Walker working with coach Lloyd Pierce and Sheppard with Jannero Pargo during individual warmups in Las Vegas during the in-season tournament.