Preseason Takeaways: Pacers look ready for the regular season against Cavaliers

The Indiana Pacers won their third preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-102. As said previously, the results don’t really matter but not everything from these preseason games is without value.

This game was an entertaining one from the start. Here are some takeaways that we can look for when the regular season starts in just 9 days.

Victor Oladipo looks poised for a fast start

Victor Oladipo was playing this game in the first half like it was Game 8 in the first round of the playoffs. He scored 10 points within the game’s first five minutes including a pair of pull-up 3-pointers and this ludicrous one-foot step back from the foul line seen early in the video below.

Oladipo only knows one speed and hasn’t been slowing it down for preseason. He’s ready to show how much he’s improved over the offseason once again. It should be a fun start to the season for the Pacers All-Star. He finished with 23 points on only 10 shot attempts in 28 minutes.

Myles Turner’s defensive positioning may be much improved

Myles Turner in his first few seasons has always shown phenomenal rim protection and shot-blocking skills but struggled with constantly being ready in the right position on the defensive end. Instead often using his length to try and make up for his poor positioning. Last night, he was always in the right position to help or protect the rim.

Turner blocked 3 shots including a pair of beautiful rejections of dunk attempts by Sam Dekker, but he altered many more and deterred opposing players away from the rim to prevent a shot attempt often, especially in the third quarter. He also played well anytime he was forced to guard a smaller player on the perimeter.

If Turner makes a leap on that end, this could be a very good Indiana Pacers defense this season.

He struggled to hit his jump shots tonight and finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds but still showed some new skills on the offensive end as well.

The Pacers played Turner alongside Domas Sabonis for only two minutes in this one. Sabonis and Kyle O’Quinn played a lot together in the second quarter but strange that the pairing that has been so heavily discussed has barely seen the court to this point.

Edmond Sumner should spend zero time in Fort Wayne this season

Edmond Sumner looks like the first-round pick talent that some had him rated before his injury at Xavier. He continued his solid preseason play by scoring 11 points in the first half while making all four of his shot attempts.

There looks like there’s not much reason for him to spend time in Fort Wayne this year. He looks like he should not only be on the NBA roster but have a spot in the rotation. Finding minutes for him may be difficult but he’s playing so well he may force Nate McMillan’s hand.

With no Cory Joseph tonight, it was Sumner who came in over rookie Aaron Holiday as the backup point guard and he was the replacement for Tyreke Evans when he missed a game, so it may just take one injury at one of the guard or small forward positions for Sumner to find himself in the rotation.

His passing and control of the offense was especially impressive in this one as he directed traffic and often got good looks for others with nice passes out of the pick and roll. He also made two 3-pointers which if consistent would make him a lock for a real NBA player. Prepare to board the Hype Train before it leaves the station.

Domantas Sabonis is going to get a lot of easy looks

The Domas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans pick and rolls have already been fun to see and Sabonis should reap plenty of benefits from the pairing.

He has also showed continued use of his right-hand in the post. This time making a right-hand hook. His nickname of Reverse Zoolander (can’t turn right) may have to be thrown out this season.

After taking 18 shots in 21 minutes in the last game, he took 15 in 22 minutes in this one with so many of those attempts being set up by Evans out of the pick and roll. You’d like to see Sabonis hit more of his shots (7 for 18, 7 for 15 in last two games) but he’s got an easy double double in every preseason game while playing just a little over 20 minutes each night.

Seeing how this develops into the regular season will be interesting to see.

No additional injuries added to this list

The Pacers have been dealing with a lot of minor injuries among rotation players during the preseason and seemed to avoid any additions to that list and had no major injuries once again. Tony East of 8 points, 9 seconds reported that Thad Young will be back for the regular season opener but held out in the final preseason game so hopefully the Pacers will be at full strength when the season starts.

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