Rice is obviously a talented prospect who proved his value during his stormy career at Georgia Tech where he was suspended various times for team violations and dismissed from the team at the end of the 2011-12 season for incidents involving driving under the influence and discharging a firearm while under the influence.
Rice took a gamble by skipping a transfer to another college and going into the NBA Developmental League where the Rio Grande Valley Vipers drafted him. He averaged 25 points. 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game during the D-League playoffs
Rice did enough to put himself in a position to get drafted in the first round. It’s considered that he could be an immediate contributor to various teams and the Pacers would be one of them. He would not crack the starting lineup for Indiana but he would give the Pacers a better bench. It’s considered that the team lost to the Miami Heat 4-3 in the NBA East Finals because of Miami’s superiority in bench strength. The big question is if Rice is truly a team player and will not have any off-the-court problems that would distract from the team’s goals of going for an NBA title. Having a player who gets into constant trouble is the last thing the Pacers and most NBA teams would prefer not enduring.
Rice has entered the draft in an unusual way. But if he’s finally learned to behave himself, he’s going to be a bargain for his new team.