Lucky No. 13 For Pacers? It's Happened Three Times Before

The Indiana Pacers will pick No. 13 in next month's draft, and they've done that only three before in their history, with one common thread. All three times, they took a player from the ACC.
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The NBA draft lottery played out Tuesday night and nothing good happened for he Indiana Pacers. Their long shot of moving up didn't happen and, barring trades, they'll pick No. 13 during the 2021 NBA Draft, which will take place on Thursday, July 29.

The Pacers have picked No. 13 three times before, with one common thread. All three times they picked a player from the ACC, twice with North Carolina players and once with a Clemson star who became a Pacers favorite.

The first No. 13 pick was made in 1979, when they picked Tar Hell Dudley Bradley in the first round. He played two years with the Pacers, who were one of seven NBA teams that he played for during his average-at-best pro career. He set a rookie steals record (2.57 per game) during his first season with the Pacers.

The second one came in 1991, when the Pacers selected forward Dale Davis out of Clemson. He became a standout player for the Pacers, and was a key part of those great Indiana teams in the late 1990s. He played 10 years with the Pacers, from 1991 to 2000. 

The third time, in 2009, the Pacers took former Tar Heel legend Tyler Hansbrough after his brilliant four-year college career. He had some nice moments with the Pacers, playing five years in Indianapolis. He also played with Toronto and Charlotte afterward.

Since the Hansbrough pick 12 years ago, the Pacers have drafted higher than No. 13 only twice. The following year, in 2010, Indiana had the 10th overall pick and took Paul George out of Fresno State. The pick was panned a bit at the time, but George turned into an All-Star with the Pacers.

In 2015, the Pacers had the No. 11 overall pick and took center Myles Turner, who's still manning the post and has a solid NBA career thus far.

It's amazing how seldom the Pacers have a single-digit pick in the first round. You have to go all the way back to 1989 – a whopping 32 years ago – when they took George McCloud out of Florida State. That didn't work out so well.

The year prior was much better, when they took Rik Smits with the No. 2 overall pick. Danny Manning went first that year. 

Could their be another ACC player in their future at No. 13 this year? According to the various mock drafts out there, it's unlikely. Michigan's Franz Wagner seems to be the favorite, since the Pacers need shooters so bad, but he could easily be gone by No. 13.

Some ACC options with a mid-round pick this year include Jalen Johnson of Duke and Trey Murphy of Virginia.

The Pacers also have a second-round pick, which is No. 54 over. Sports Illustrated's two-round mock draft has the Pacers taking Pepperdine forward Kessler Edwards.

Related stories on the Pacers

  • HANSBROUGH LOOKS BACK: Former Pacer Tyler Hansbrough sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with AllPacers' writer Ben Stinar in April and talked about his career, which he says isn't over yet. CLICK HERE
  • NBA LOTTERY: The odds were very long anyway, and nothing good happened for the Indiana Pacers during the 2021 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. The Pacers will still pick No. 13. CLICK HERE
  • SI MOCK DRAFT: Sports Illustrated released its first mock draft following the lottery, and they have the Pacers going Down Under for a pick. CLICK HERE