Category Archives: news

Report: Trevor Booker nears deal to play in China

Trevor Booker becomes the latest Pacers free agent to join a team in the Chinese Basketball Association according to a report from Alex Kennedy.

The deal with the Brave Dragons isn’t finalized yet but it’s likely that three members of the Indiana Pacers 2017-18 roster will be playing in China next season.

Al Jefferson and Joe Young will also play in China next season.

Booker joined the Pacers late last season and served as the team’s backup power forward. Indiana signed Kyle O’Quinn this summer in that veteran big off the bench role and have said they would like to see TJ Leaf play some this season as well.

Booker has eight years of NBA experience and has averaged 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in his career.

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Indiana Pacers add C.J. Wilcox with 2-way contract

The Indiana Pacers have filled their remaining 2-way contract slot with a wing with some NBA experience in C.J. Wilcox.

Wilcox played for the Pacers in Las Vegas during Summer League and shot the ball very well throughout the team’s five games. He averaged 9.2 points per game and shot 56% from the floor.

He has three seasons of NBA playing experience and 66 games played in the NBA overall between time spent with the Clippers and Magic. He’s played sparingly every season and averages just 2 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game in his career.

The other 2-way contract for the Pacers is Edmond Sumner, who signed a 2-year deal last season as he was recovering from an ACL injury.

Wilcox provides the Pacers with some emergency depth at shooting guard and could come in and make open shots if he’s ever called upon. Each 2-way player has up to 45 days with the NBA team during the season and spends the rest of the time with the G-League affiliate.

It’s possible the Pacers end up giving Wilcox the 15th position on the roster if they use up his 45 days quickly like they did with Alex Poythress last season.

Ben Moore was previously on a 2-way deal and was another possible candidate for the contract. All signs point to him still being invited to training camp and playing for the Mad Ants again next season.

ESPN: Nate McMillan finalizing contract extension with the Indiana Pacers

Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Indiana Pacers and Nate McMillan are finalizing a contract extension. McMillan has one year remaining on his contract currently.

McMillan coached the Indiana Pacers to a surprising season last year as they exceeded all reasonable expectations and pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink of elimination in the first round of the playoffs.

The extension will extend the life of McMillan’s current contract by two years which would be through the 2020-21 season.

Behind McMillan, Victor Oladipo, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic and Domantas Sabonis all had the best seasons of their career last season. This year the challenge will be pushing the team to a higher level with higher (at least external) expectations than the previous year.

The Pacers will be looking to show that this next season wasn’t a fluke and so will McMillan, whose team in the final Paul George season struggled to meet expectations but also had a roster that many players that are no longer in the NBA just two seasons later.

It seemed this news was inevitable as soon as the offseason began as Pacers President of Basketball Operations got choked up and emotional when talking about the job that Nate McMillan did. The two were together previously in Portland and clearly enjoy a good working relationship.

An extension had previously been reported to be happening sometime in the Summer by the Indy Star.

Joe Young agrees to play in China next season

Joe Young has decided to go to China next season and will play for the Nanjing Tongxi Basketball Club.

Young said that he was only offered 2-way contracts by NBA teams and decided to take the more lucrative offer with the international option.

Players are only eligible for 2-way deals if they have four years or service or less in the NBA. Young played for the Pacers for three seasons.

The most Young could have earned with a 2-way is $275,000. Young will make $1.3 million in one season in China.

Young is the second Pacers free agent to take their basketball abilities to China as Al Jefferson also agreed to a deal earlier this offseason.

JJ Redick nearly joined the Indiana Pacers

On his most recent podcast, JJ Redick said that he was very close to joining the Indiana Pacers in free agency.

“I almost signed with Indy,” Redick said. “I was an hour away, maybe two hours away … I had a whole conversation with Nate McMillan.”

Redick said that his current team the Philadelphia 76ers changed their offer before a deadline he had to decide on a deal with Indiana and he decided to stay put.

If Redick would have signed with the Pacers, it likely would have meant that Tyreke Evans would not have joined the team.

Redick would have been an interesting fit with the Pacers as he plays the same position as Victor Oladipo and the Pacers would have felt the loss of Lance Stephenson even more without adding Evans as a secondary playmaker.

It’s also possible that Doug McDermott was the backup plan to Redick as Tony East of 8 points, 9 seconds suggests.

Redick brought the subject up because he had badmouthed Indianapolis a bit in his previous episode, naming it his least favorite NBA city to visit and was apologizing for doing so, complimenting the city and its people. You can listen to the whole podcast below.

Pacers rookie Alize Johnson buys his mother new car

It appears Alize Johnson has made his first big purchase after signing his rookie contract with the Indiana Pacers: a new car for his mother.

In an Instagram post, you can see his mother’s reaction.

“You got me everything I ever wanted,” Johnson said on Instagram. “Now it’s my turn. I love you, Mom.”

Former Pacers player Glenn Robinson III once bought his mother a new car for Christmas.

Myles Turner is no stranger to the new car gift as well.

Roy Hibbert says it’s “time to move on” from NBA

2-time All-Star Roy Hibbert appears to be done playing basketball telling TMZ Sports that “it’s just time to move on.”

Hibbert, 31, didn’t play last season and his name hasn’t popped up in rumor mills all offseason. He last played in the NBA during the 2016-17 season for the Denver Nuggets.

“I’m good on that,” he said when asked if he would want to play with LeBron James in Los Angeles, saying that he wasn’t training at the moment and felt like it was time to move on from basketball.

Hibbert was the lynchpin for the Indiana Pacers elite defense that challenged the LeBron Heat three consecutive seasons in the NBA playoffs. Behind Head Coach Frank Vogel, he mastered the Verticality technique and became the best rim protector in the league for a couple seasons, earning two All-Star selections.

The game evolved quickly, however, in a way devalued Hibbert’s play style. Unable to defend on the perimeter as teams started playing more and more lineups where every player can shoot the deep ball, Hibbert’s rim protection wasn’t able to be used as frequently.

“It’s surprising to me,” said his former coach Vogel in the above story. “But the league has adapted, both big picture and in terms of what he was doing for us in Indiana. There’s been a severe evolution in how the league plays and he’s been a victim of it.”

As the game abandoned him, Hibbert seems to have done the same. TMZ starts off asking him about Isaiah Thomas and he was unaware that he had signed with Denver. He later said that he hasn’t watched much basketball or paid attention to everything that’s going on but doesn’t think anyone can compete with the Golden State Warriors, even before they signed DeMarcus Cousins.

Alize Johnson signs deal with Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers second-round pick Alize Johnson shared a picture on Instagram of him signing his first contract.

Johnson, the 50th overall pick, looked good in Las Vegas Summer League, showing his relentless nature on the glass, ability to guard multiple positions and talent in transition. He averaged 12.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in Vegas.

The Athletic’s Michael Scotto reports that the contract includes one fully guaranteed season.

Rodney Stuckey attempts an NBA comeback

Rodney Stuckey is trying to get back into the NBA.

Stuckey is hosting a private workout for teams in Las Vegas according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Stuckey was out of the NBA all last season and hasn’t been picked up since the Indiana Pacers waived him after an injury, which cleared the way for Lance Stephenson to make his return at the time.

The Pacers are among the teams that sent representatives to the Stuckey workout according to a report.

Stuckey has career averages of 12.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.6 rebounds in 651 games played.

Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

The Indiana Pacers fell in the first-round of the Las Vegas Summer League to the Atlanta Hawks. After building up a 27-point lead early in the third quarter, the Hawks slowly chipped away at the Pacers lead until suddenly it was gone. Trae Young finished them off with some ridiculous passes to keep holding the Atlanta lead down the stretch.

The Pacers will have a single remaining consolation game on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets at 4 p.m.

This was easily the most entertaining game for the Summer Pacers, even with the disappointing ending, with many players having their best games in Las Vegas.

Continue reading Summer League Grades: Pacers have a few solid performances despite losing big lead

Pacers Summer League Grades: Holiday battles Sexton

The Indiana Pacers were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in their third game in Las Vegas and fell to 1-2 in group play in the Summer League.

Today’s matchup was all about a pair of first-round draft picks with Collin Sexton, the 8th overall pick, and Aaron Holiday, the 23rd pick, going after each other on numerous occasions.

The statistics mostly favor Sexton but Holiday had his moments as well. We’ll go into further detail below:

Aaron Holiday: C+

For the second consecutive game, Holiday really struggled from the field. He hit only 4 of his 14 attempts and is now shooting only 36% over the three games.

He looked motivated to perform well against a player drafted higher than him in the first round in Sexton and held his own, going back and forth with him on occasion.

Sexton blew by Holiday multiple times after the first quarter but Holiday did offer some resistance to him early on, blocking a shot, deflecting a pass and forcing a couple missed attempts. He seemed to be more attentive off the ball compared to the previous game.

Holiday had 8 assists but he also tallied 8 turnovers. Multiple times he fell to the ground and lost control of the ball and a few more were poor passes that were overthrown.

He still showed some tantalizing flashes of real NBA potential but he’s got plenty to work on. During this rookie year, he’ll need to pay real close attention to Darren Collison and how he takes care of the ball.

Alize Johnson: B+

Johnson continues to impress with his high motor and looks like a player deserving of a roster spot. He ended the game with 16 points (6 of 11 from the field) and 7 rebounds. He hit his first 3-pointer of Summer League play from the corner, a shot that could be crucial to his long-term development.

Johnson made some impressive plays once again on both ends of the court. He continues to show the ability to switch onto guards and stay in front of them on defense. Today, he forced a turnover from Sexton and then finished the ensuing fastbreak with an and-1 bucket.

On one offensive possession, he showed off a well-polished move that led to an easy basket inside.

He also showed that he still has a long ways to go. A defender stopped him in the backcourt on one of his grab-and-go rebounds and forced a turnover by sitting on his right hand. Johnson will have to develop his left-hand to have success at the next level as NBA scouting reports will make it well known quickly about his inability to use the off hand.

“He’s not there yet,” said Kevin Pritchard who praised his ability to always be in on the rebound during the broadcast, “but I really like his determination to get the ball.”

He also took a few ill-advised shots in the halfcourt offense including a fadeaway and floater that both badly missed. Overall though, it was another positive performance for the second-round pick.

T.J. Leaf: B

Leaf scored 20 points but needed 21 shots to get to that mark against the Cavaliers. He continues to struggle from the 3-point line, coming up short on numerous attempts and only making one attempt in garbage time.

He made a few of his usual nice drives and hit a few shots in the post, showing more patience than in the first game.

Leaf also added 2 blocks and 9 rebounds. This was probably his best defensive game though his pick-and-roll coverage is still a work in progress.

Edmond Sumner: B+

Sumner had his best game in Las Vegas and had a few really nice offensive moments. He scored 14 points and made 6 of his 11 shot attempts. He added a pair of assists and steals.

He hit multiple jump shots and looked confident pulling up from 3 at the end of a quarter. He went 2 for 3 from behind the arc overall.

After struggling to finish at the rim in the first game, he made a nice move and finish here:

Other notes:

  • Alex Poythress has a nice quiet game with some solid energy moments and defensive plays. He finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal.
  • Ben Moore hit all three of his shots from the floor as he made timely cuts and showed some aggression in his limited chances with drives to the basket. He finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds. He could easily end up with another 2-way contract this season.
  • Henry Sims murdered a man.

And destroyed a man’s soul.

Report: Pacers and Nate McMillan to talk contract extension

According to J. Michael of the IndyStar, the Indiana Pacers are looking to give Nate McMillan a contract extension now that their roster construction for next season is essentially finished.

Michael reports that nothing is imminent but that it seems a “foregone conclusion” that it’ll happen. McMillan has one year remaining on his original contract with the Pacers that began after he was hired to replace Frank Vogel.

McMillan has a long history with Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard going back to their days with the Portland Trail Blazers where they held the same positions.

“We’ve been together a long time,” said Pritchard, who got choked up talking about McMillan at the end-of-the-season press conference. “We’ve had our disagreements. He’s evolving as a coach and I am proud to have him as a partner.”

With McMillan at the helm, many veteran Pacers had the best seasons of their careers last year including Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison.

For Oladipo, McMillan will be the first coach that he’s had for two full seasons in his NBA career. He recently told a story about McMillan telling him to “become more of an a******” if he wanted to be great.

McMillan’s record over his first two seasons in Indiana is 90-74 (0.548). He has previously coached with both the Seattle Supersonics and Blazers.

The Indiana Pacers put the depth in Depth Chart

With additions of Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn and Aaron Holiday, the Indiana Pacers roster is almost filled with 13 players under contract currently. And second-round pick Alize Johnson seems likely to become the 14th soon with his strong Summer League play.

They also have two 2-way contracts to fill with one spot filled currently by Edmond Sumner. Johnson could possibly fill that slot instead of an NBA roster spot as well.

The subtractions from the team include Lance Stephenson, Al Jefferson, Joe Young, and recently waived Alex Poythress.

Here’s a look at the projected starters and rotation as it stands today.

Point guard

  1. Darren Collison
  2. Cory Joseph
  3. Aaron Holiday

Shooting guard

  1. Victor Oladipo
  2. Tyreke Evans

Small forward

  1. Bojan Bogdanovic
  2. Doug McDermott

Power forward

  1. Thaddeus Young
  2. T.J. Leaf
  3. Alize Johnson

Center:

  1. Myles Turner
  2. Domantas Sabonis
  3. Kyle O’Quinn
  4. Ike Anigbogu

A lot less roster turnover than the last few years for the Pacers. The entire starting lineup looks like it’ll be back next season to see if they can pick up where they left off in a surprising campaign.

Kevin Pritchard and company added a lot of depth without losing many rotation players. Evans should give the team the secondary playmaker that it desperately needed last season, especially when Oladipo was out.

McDermott should back up Bogdanovic and be able to bring a lot of the same things to the court that he does.

O’Quinn should be a lot more playable than Jefferson was and be a valuable third center. It seems he may see a lot of time at power forward alongside Turner or Sabonis if McMillan goes that route. Leaf was expected to play minutes next season but his defense still is struggling against guys in the Summer League. He might already be penciling O’Quinn in as the second power forward.

McDermott with the Thunder and O’Quinn with the Magic are both former teammates of Oladipo and of each other with the Knicks and should be good additions to the team’s chemistry.

The rookies lay in waiting but may surprise if they get a chance to play this year. Holiday, as the third point guard, is much more likely to find time than Johnson.

One of the more exciting aspects of the roster that is filled with possibilities of different 5-man groupings to finish the game.

Evans and Oladipo will likely share the floor often this year at the end of games, especially if Evans shooting percentages continue to trend upward. Three guard lineups with three of Collison, Joseph, Oladipo and Evans are likely to find utility during the season as well.

Need a defensive point guard at the end of the game? Here comes Joseph. Want to go small and really space the floor? How about a lineup of DC/Vic/Tyreke/Bojan/Turner that’s filled with guys that can shoot the 3?

Domas Sabonis is always capable of finishing games as well. It will be interesting to see whether the team will have more success this year than last when Turner and Sabonis share the court, a key thing to watch for the team’s future.

It’ll be a fun challenge for Nate McMillan at the end of close games to figure out the right combinations every night depending on the matchup and whose playing well.

One spot remains open on the NBA roster (2 if the Pacers don’t guarantee Anigbogu’s contract later this month) but the Pacers can only offer minimum deals to anyone else looking to join the rising Eastern conference team. Ben Moore is one possibility currently with the team’s Summer League squad as well as for the team’s other 2-way contract. Poythress could still be in the mix and brought back as well or the Pacers could look to add a veteran similar to signing of Damien Wilkins last year.

Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Who stood out in Game 2?

The Indiana Pacers bounced back from a loss in their first game against the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League and defeated the San Antonio Spurs today.

But once again, the results of the game don’t matter in the end. This is all about development and getting introduced to some young Pacers and some NBA hopefuls.

If you missed the grades from Game 1, you can find them here. Quality in some of the clips may be lacking in this one as there’s no great place to get individual plays from Summer League.

Aaron Holiday: C+

Holiday struggled from the field in this one, making only 3 of his 15 shot attempts and is now shooting 40% over the two games (12 of 30). He still showed off his nice shooting form on occassion this afternoon.

Part of his struggles came at the rim trying to finish against some of the Spurs larger guards. This is something that he’ll have to continue to work on though it’s helpful that he’s able to finish with both hands, as he showed in the first game.

Some of his best plays on the day, however, were passing the ball. He finished with 7 assists and was very adept at finding the right guy in transition and making the right pass in the half court.

He still occasionally made poor decisions on passes but lowered his turnovers from 6 in the first game down to 4 in the second. Some of the turnovers are bound to happen as a product of unfamiliarity with teammates in Vegas.

While Holiday is small, he also seems to be around for rebounds often, adding 7 more to his total today.

Defensively, it was a mixed bag. He was inconsistent with his ability to fight over screens and at times relaxed when he thought his work was done only for his man to be immediately involved in the play again.

He also continued to show off his quick hands on that end and added a couple of steals.

Alize Johnson: B+

Alize Johnson was probably the Pacers MVP of the second game. Yes, he only scored 10 points and grabbed 9 rebounds and made only 3 of his 11 shots, but he was a huge difference maker with his high motor and effort in the second half especially.

He was relentless on nearly every rebound. He had four offensive boards but added numerous extra possessions for the Pacers on plays he wasn’t credited with a rebound by just never giving up on the play.

His field goal percentage isn’t as bad as it seems as a few of those attempts he ended up rebounding himself and another was a full-court heave that he nearly made at the end of the first quarter. He did force a couple of bad shots when he tried to do a little too much.

Full write-up on Johnson coming soon but he continued to show great passing ability in transition after grabbing a defensive rebound to start the break, his offense looks farther along than expected, his high motor is as advertised and he can defend multiple positions well with his quick feet.

It’s early, but he looks more and more like a player that deserves to be on the Pacers roster this season.

T.J. Leaf: B

This was the T.J. Leaf that we expected to see at Summer League. He led the team with 17 points and made 7 of his 13 shots. He showed a lot more patience from the beginning of the game compared to the first contest when he seemed to be forcing the action and rushing everything.

He made some really nice drives to the rim by attacking closeouts as seen below though he struggled to recognize when the defender would come up short and hesitated on taking a few open 3-pointers.

He didn’t score after around the 7-minute mark in the third quarter.

On the defensive end, there wasn’t much to like about his performance. It’s unclear what Summer League coach Steve Gansey wants Leaf to do when defending a pick and roll but him playing back has been highly ineffective.

There were multiple plays where Johnson appears to call for a switch or expects one with Leaf but he’s playing so far back and is too slow to react to do anything about it. His foot speed and reaction time on that end still need a lot of work.

There were many occasions of Leaf giving up too much room as Spurs players pulled up and hit jumpers as he offered only a late contest.

After grabbing 10 rebounds in the first game, Leaf hauled in only 2 today.

In game one, we saw the Leaf to be concerned about; in game two, we saw the Leaf we expected. Maybe in game three, we can see some signs of the Leaf that we hope for.

Ben Moore: B+

Moore really showed his skill set against the Spurs. The Pacers started the game off with him guarding Derrick White, who averaged 23/7/7 in the Utah Summer League and looks like a nice player, and Moore held his own pretty well.

White finished with 19 points but made only 6 of his 18 shot attempts and many of his makes came against Holiday and/or Leaf. He seemed much less aggressive when Moore was guarding him.

And after being almost invisible in the first game, Moore was able to contribute offensively as well. He scored 10 points on five shots, hit a corner 3-pointer and added 3 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals.

After missing his second 3-point attempt, Moore decided to cut inside on the next one and finished the lob play from Holiday.

Moore never tries to do too much on offense and always plays within himself. He has a high basketball IQ and makes the right pass quickly. Here he takes two dribbles, realizes he isn’t going anywhere and finds an open Holiday for 3.

He’s still got a ways to go on offense (he got blocked at the rim on one attempt that he could have made an easy layup by using the basket as a shield) but this was encouraging for Moore.

This play where Moore jumps into the stands and over the Gatorade shows off his incredible effort. This led to a bucket inside from Alex Poythress and helped seal the game for Indiana late in the fourth quarter.

Other Notes:

  • Edmond Sumner was out with knee soreness today. Scott Agness reported it was not the knee that had the ACL injury so that’s positive. No word on if he’ll be back on Monday.
  • Alex Poythress’s minutes were more limited today, probably losing out some to Johnson, but he was effective while out there, adding 6 points and 3 rebounds with a team-leading +14.
  • C.J. Wilcox was perfect from the field and from the line, scoring 13 points on four shot attempts. He added no other statistics except for a single rebound.

  • Travis Leslie started in place of Sumner and finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds. He also had this impressive dunk.

The Pacers next game in Las Vegas is on Monday at 5 p.m.

Report: Al Jefferson agrees to deal to play in China

Al Jefferson will sign with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China according to Sportando.

Jefferson was waived by the Indiana Pacers in order to increase their salary cap space by $6 million earlier this week.

In yesterday’s press conference, Kevin Pritchard mentioned the possibility of Jefferson going overseas to play, saying that he had many conversations with Al after he was waived.

The Pacers signed Kyle O’Quinn as his replacement yesterday.

Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Rookies shine in their debuts

The Indiana Pacers lost their opening game in the Las Vegas Summer League the Houston Rockets by a final of 92-89, but the results of the game are meaningless.

Update: Game 2 Grades here

How did the players perform? Here’s some quick grades and recap for how they did in their first game.

Aaron Holiday: B+

Holiday did just about everything you could possibly hope for him to do in his debut. He hit tough shots both inside and out. He moved the ball well, made some nice defensive plays. Most importantly, he looked like an NBA player.

He finished with 23 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals with 9-of-15 shooting from the field. His first three possessions of his career set the tone for his debut: 3-pointer coming off of a screen, deep 3-pointer after crossing up a big on a switch and taking it to the rack and finishing with a difficult left-hand move.

Continue reading Indiana Pacers Summer League Grades: Rookies shine in their debuts

Victor Oladipo sees the East as wide open, Pacers ready to do something special

Victor Oladipo is making his media rounds lately and appeared on ESPN’s morning show Get Up! to talk about a variety of topics including being traded twice, about the state of the Eastern Conference after LeBron James decided to go to Los Angeles and about that missed goaltending call in the playoffs.

Michelle Beadle, one of the hosts of the show, wanted to know what players in the East felt like when James, who has dominated the conference, decided to go to a Western Conference team.

“When I first heard about it, I was a little upset,” said Oladipo. “I like playing against the best player in the world and competing against him and seeing where you’re at.”

Despite Oladipo’s love of the competition, he does realize that this an opportunity for the team to take the next step.

Continue reading Victor Oladipo sees the East as wide open, Pacers ready to do something special

Report: Alex Poythress has been waived by the Indiana Pacers

In a bit of a surprise move before Summer League, the Indiana Pacers have waived Alex Poythress.

It’s unclear if he’ll still play for the Summer Pacers, but he’ll have extra motivation now as he’ll be auditioning for all 30 NBA teams.

Poythress played limited minutes after signing a 2-year deal on December last season. His contract was unguaranteed until later this month. The Pacers could have waited until after the games in Las Vegas to make a decision on his deal but decided to waive him now.

The Pacers could still bring him back on a 2-way deal like he started out last season.

Kyle O’Quinn agrees to 1-year deal with Indiana Pacers

According to multiple media reports, the Indiana Pacers have agreed to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal with center Kyle O’Quinn.

In 18 minutes per game last season, he averaged 7 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists with the New York Knicks.

It’s a surprising move at what looks like the Room Exception as O’Quinn played 99% of his minutes as a center last season according to Basketball Reference and the Pacers have two of those lined up with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis already.

Perhaps the Pacers will look to play him more at power forward this upcoming season. He could even split the backup minutes at power forward with TJ Leaf (if he’s ready to play) depending on the nightly matchup.

“Experienced” Pacers all have something to prove in Summer League

This season the Indiana Pacers start Summer League play Friday at 3:00. This will be the first time they play in Las Vegas as the each NBA team will be participating.

These exhibition games are basically meaningless but not without purpose, especially for the players with varying motivations: proving their worth as a recent draft pick, looking to show how much they’ve improved from their previous season, or just hoping to show they belong in the NBA whether with a roster spot, a 2-way contract or a training camp invite.

In this series of articles coming before Summer League begins for Indiana on Friday, we’ll take a look at many of the players on the roster and what they will be looking to prove in Sin City.

In part one, we looked at the rookies, Aaron Holiday and Alize Johnson, and what to watch for in their professional debuts.

Today, we look at the four players that were members of the Indiana Pacers last season: T.J. Leaf, Alex Poythress, Edmond Sumner and Ben Moore. All four of these players will be in the starting lineup joined by first-round pick Holiday and receive lots of minutes in Vegas. Ike Anigbogu will miss these exhibitions with an injury.

All of these guys have been working out in Indianapolis since the season ended and sound excited to show how they’ve improved and grown.

While it’s important to never overreact positively or negatively to anything that happens in these games, “veterans” in the summer league can make a difference in their careers in both bad and good ways:

  • Solomon Hill played so poorly in his third Summer League by seemingly blowing it off that it may have pushed the Pacers to decline his team option for the fourth season on his rookie contract. It ended up working out pretty well for Hill as he played the best basketball of his life the last few months of that season and hit free agency during the madness of 2016 and got a $50+ million deal from the Pelicans (He hasn’t looked good since joining New Orleans).
  • Glenn Robinson III played very well a few years ago in the Orlando Summer League and solidified his place in the rotation that season and had the best year of his career.
  • Donald Sloan and Rasual Butler both earned roster spots on the team and their auditions both started at the Summer League.

You want to see these guys play above the competition having had the experience of a full season with an NBA team.  Continue reading “Experienced” Pacers all have something to prove in Summer League