Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

Romeo Langford a Pacer? It Could Happen.

Just over a year ago on April 30, 2018, Romeo Langford announced that he was going to stay home and play his college basketball in the state of Indiana.

Could there be a Langford homecoming 2.0 in the near future?

At least some NBA Draft analysts believe that may happen.

As it stands right now, Langford can generally be found somewhere in the No. 8 to No. 20 range in most mock NBA Drafts.

Lately the 6-foot-6 shooting guard has been found more towards the tail end of that range, which is right in the neighborhood of the Indiana Pacers, who own the No. 18 pick in the 2019 draft.

While the more common predicted selection for the Pacers in that spot is USC’s Kevin Porter, at least one mock draft sees the Pacers keeping Langford in the Hoosier state.

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone wrote this about why the Pacers should select the New Albany native in the first round:

While few doubt that Langford will ultimately become at least a solid contributor in the league, the question as it relates to the Pacers is whether his current shortcomings are at odds with the home state team’s current needs.

Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, a Bloomington native, said this to reporters earlier in the week about the team’s greatest areas of improvement going into next season —

“So, I think we’ve got to look at the offensive side of the ball,” Pritchard said. “We’ve got to bring players that do one of two things, or both. We need some creation. We need a guy who can break down a defense. And shot-making is always going to be paramount, but it’s more paramount than it’s ever been before. When you have four or five guys out there with one or two who can create and other guys who can really shoot, it’s almost impossible to stop a team.”

Langford is viewed as an elite scorer and finisher at the rim, which would seem to check the “creation” box.  There are, however, legitimate questions about his current ability to go left off the dribble.  Moreover, perhaps the biggest question looming over Langford’s game right now is his perimeter shot.

With Pritchard’s emphasis on shot-making, Langford’s needed development in that area could give the Pacers pause.

Of course on a team that already has former IU star Victor Oladipo, there is one more factor to consider when it comes to drafting Langford.  Would the team take on too much of a Hoosier flavor in the eyes of fans of Purdue, Butler and others?

Of course all of this is speculation still at this point.  Langford has not formally announced that he will stay in the 2019 NBA Draft.  That leaves the door open, however remote the chances may be, for a return to IU for his sophomore season.

There have been some rumors that if Langford is not comfortable that he will be a NBA Draft lottery selection (i.e. a top 14 pick), then he would at that point consider a return to IU for his sophomore season.  While there is probably a projected point in the draft at which Langford would indeed consider a return, we believe it is much higher than No. 15, and also highly unlikely to materialize.

Langford was the highest scoring freshman in the Big Ten for the 2018-19 season.  He averaged 16.5 points per game and added 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 44.8% from the field overall and 27.2% from three-point range.

The deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to college is May 29.

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