Takeaways from Pacers Summer League in an ugly opener

The Indiana Pacers were blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies in their first Summer League game by a final of 101-75.

For the Pacers, this game featured a lot of the bad that can come with Summer League. They looked like a team that was unfamiliar with each other. Guys hunted their own looks as ball movement was at a minimum. Sloppy turnovers occurred throughout. It was an ugly game to watch.

There were some positives to takeaway from tonight but it certainly wasn’t Game 82 from last year (which featured a few of these Summer Pacers) on repeat like you’d have hoped. No Goga Bitadze in this one and at least the next one most likely as he continues to try and get his visa issues sorted.

As always, it’s important not to over value anything that happens in Summer League, good or bad, but here’s what was observed in this one:

Aaron Holiday:

Holiday was one of few positives in this one as a scoring machine. He had 24 points and showed off his ability to create his own shot but ended the night shooting an inefficient 8 for 22.

Holiday hit his first four 3-point attempts before missing his next four. He forced up some tough looks inside that would have been better off passing and may have set the tone for the entire team in that regard as countless times a Pacers player drove into the lane and either lost the ball or took a challenged, difficult shot.

He added five assists that all came in the second half after he seemed to try to move the ball more often. The second-year guard had a few passes deflected in the pick and roll but only had two turnovers on the night and took a lot better care of the ball than last year in Las Vegas. He had a couple really nice dump off passes.

Defensively, as with much of the team, there wasn’t much good to behold. The Summer Pacers are running a switch-heavy scheme on defense but Holiday got caught on screens often and seemed to struggle to get back into plays at times.

Brian Bowen II

The Pacers new 2-way contract player made a nice first impression. With limited opportunities, Bowen scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. He made a few nice hustle plays including grabbing offensive rebounds and running back in transition to poke the ball away from the opposing player as well. He got a steal on an opponent’s drive.

It’ll be interesting to see whether his role grows through the week as he was the only Pacers player to make more than 50% of his shots.

Edmond Sumner

This was not a game to remember for Sumner. He struggled in the first half, sloppy with his handle, failed to make any of his six shot attempts and seemed a little anxious to show he was worthy of his new contract. In the second half, he seemed to reaggravate his foot injury that caused him to miss much of the team’s mini camp. He stayed in and scored his first four points but was noticeably limping. He came out in the third and never returned. Hopefully the injury is nothing serious, but the Pacers may choose to be cautious with Sumner, who is likely to play as the backup shooting guard until Victor Oladipo is able to return.

Alize Johnson

Johnson started off the game well scoring 8 points in the first quarter including a couple of quick jump hooks. He seemed to struggle once the defense adjusted to staying on his right hand as he racked up six turnovers. Johnson took multiple 3-point attempts with confidence but none of them went in. He finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds.

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell

A surprise on the night was the play of Akoon-Purcell. He scored 15 points in a variety of ways on 5-of-11 shooting and was second on the team is assists with two. He was a 2-way player for the Nuggets briefly last season before going overseas to play. He’ll be a player to watch for the rest of the week in Vegas and could be a candidate for the team’s second 2-way contract.

Not much else to cover. JaKeenan Gant hit what looked like a corner 3-pointer but was counted as a two and he had five rebounds. He got an Exhibit 10 contract with the Pacers so he’s likely to be at training camp before the regular season as well. Jaylen Johnson started the game in place of Bitadze but made just one of his six shots.

The next Pacers Summer League game is on Monday night against the Detroit Pistons at 5 p.m.


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