The Indiana Pacers introduced Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Darren Collison yseterday as the Pacers post Paul George era began. Here’s some quotes and what we can takeaway from the press conference.
If you missed the press conference, you can watch it in its entirety here.
Kevin Pritchard on Paul George:
Pritchard began with nothing but praises for what George meant to the organization. We wish him (Paul George) the best. Some great plays over the last seven years. It’s tough, but we have to move on.”
Pritchard says he spoke with George on multiple occasions. It was a private conversation. He said PG wishes the Pacers well and wishes it didn’t go the way it did. “Paul is a very caring person. I think he wishes this would have been a little different.”
Pritchard on Oladipo and Sabonis:
“Both are winners. That’s why both were lottery picks, that’s why we sought them out to be part of this deal.”
Pritchard said he wants tough, togetherness, smarts, fliers, and young players going forward who compete night in and night out. New guys have the balance between rookies and experience. He made it clear that he sought these players out instead of only having teams making offers.
On trade rumors:
Pritchard: Less than 5% of rumors were true. Put out to the media for a reason. Probably not going to happen or wasn’t real. Boston offered the rights to Larry Bird even (joke).
On the team in general:
Pritchard: “I want to build this organization & have five guys that play together. We feel these guys are top-level talent.”
Pritchard: “This is a rebirth. We’re excited about the future. We wanted tough kids & guys who play together…We didn’t want to go down to the bottom. We want to be a competitive team. Everybody’s saying we have to go to the bottom; that’s not true. The Pacers don’t start at the bottom. We want to compete next year.”
Pritchard: Lots of models on really bad, competitive, or cap out. Our focus is on growth in front, with good kids all about the team and a surprise to the upside.
On making the Playoffs:
Pritchard: Until we know what the team is, no limit or ceiling on this team. Not sure what ‘team’ goals are yet. (Vague, but in the east, playoffs aren’t that far off)
More Changes to come?
McMillan: Pritchard isn’t finished building the team.
Pritchard: There are free agents and trades that we’re still looking at. “Shooting is something I’d really like to add to this roster … Shooting is of imperative importance.” (literally an hour later, Bojan Bogdanovic is signed)
On Darren Collison:
McMillan: “He will be looked upon to lead us. Darren will be an old vet to lead this roster.”
Collison on how he’s changed since he was a Pacer the first time: I can definitely shoot better than last time in Indiana and more comfortable as a leader. Time in Sacramento wasn’t ideal.
Welcome back to Indiana Oladipo:
Oladipo: “To come home, there’s no feeling like it. To get off that plane the other day and realize I know where I’m at, there’s no feeling like it. This is where it all started. I’m a Hoosier.” (while wearing a ‘feathery’ cap, hope his jumper this year is feathery)
Did the IU connection influence Oladipo the signing?
Pritchard: Not at all.
Oladipo: IU fans are already there anyway.
Oladipo on if he there’s anything to his game we haven’t been able to see yet: “Just wait and see. (Smirk) Love the opportunity. Nothing like playing for the home team.”
Welcome Domantas Sabonis:
Sabonis: “At first I was in shock, but I’m excited for the opportunity. Ready for the season.”
Pritchard: Sabonis is a “great screen setter” and “underrated passer.” He can be one of five guys on a floor who can make plays.