Rakeem Christmas has been traded two times since being drafted 36th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves on June 25. On draft night he was dealt by the Timberwolves to the Cavaliers for the rights to Tyus Jones, and yesterday the Cavs traded Christmas to the Pacers for a 2019 second round pick. If this is where Christmas starts the season, how will he fit in with Frank Vogel’s team?
Christmas will have a lot to go through if he wants to get substantial playing time this season. Jordan Hill and Ian Mahinmi both have more experience, but at this point nobody knows who will lead the frontcourt in Indianapolis. The Pacers lost Roy Hibbert, David West and Luis Scola in the offseason, and no other post player averaged more than 20 minutes per game for Indiana. Christmas will start the season at the bottom of a depth chart which has six bigs on it, but he’ll have a better chance to earn playing time than he would have in Minnesota or Cleveland.
Frank Vogel has had some success with coaching bigs, most notably Hibbert. As a defensive-minded post player with solid fundamentals offensively, Christmas could fit into the same mold Hibbert left behind. Vogel will be on the sidelines, but let’s not forget that Christmas will have Larry Bird watching from the stands. Bird said in a press release yesterday, “We really liked Rakeem when he came in for pre-draft workouts. He is a solid player who was a contributor all four years at Syracuse and we look forward to having him on our team.”
If Larry likes him, I’d be willing to bet Christmas gets a chance to prove himself.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson