One of the best ways for a small market team to get better from year to year is improvement from their young players. The Indiana Pacers made a lot of changes to the roster and made valuable additions over the summer via trade and free agency but there’s some open rotation spots that will be filled by some unproven prospects.
Opportunities are open for the taking especially while Victor Oladipo is out. Young players like Aaron Holiday, T.J. Leaf, Edmond Sumner, and Goga Bitadze could all be part of the bench unit early in the season but which players on the roster could be poised for a mini-breakout?
Holiday is penciled in as the backup point guard but he’s got a lot to prove about being ready to run an NBA offense after mostly playing off the ball in his rookie season. He struggled to efficiently produce and take care of the ball in Summer League but it’s hard to judge any player too harshly based on those exhibition games especially with a roster with both a lack of shooting and size. Continue reading Which Pacers prospects look poised for a breakout?
Indiana Pacers Summer League squad will not leave Las Vegas without a victory after winning their consolation game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Alize Johnson and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell combined for 49 points and 23 rebounds to lead the way for Indiana as many players sat out with minor injuries.
This was surprisingly the most fun game to watch over the course of the week. With Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, Brian Bowen and Goga Bitadze all out, Johnson and Akoon-Purcell carried the team and provided an entertaining finish to Summer League play for Indiana.
Let’s take one last look at how the important players performed this week in Vegas:
We’ll start with the star of the final game. Johnson put on a clinic in non-stop effort for rebounds on the offensive glass and had secured a double double in the first half.
He finished the week with three double doubles and showed that effort on the glass consistently. He averaged 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds. Continue reading Pacers Summer League: The surprising, the solid, and the underwhelming performances in Las Vegas
Indiana Pacers had another rough game overall in the Las Vegas Summer League as they lost 102-84 to the Detroit Pistons. Aaron Holiday struggled with running the offense against an NBA-caliber defender and Goga Bitadze (visa issues) and Edmond Sumner (sore foot) missed the second game.
As always, the results of these Pacers Summer League games don’t really matter but some of the details can give us insight. Here’s positives and negatives to takeaway from the second game.
This was not a good game for the Pacers second-year point guard. It raised concerns about his ability to run an offense at an NBA level based on his decision making. In the first half, he went 2 for 9 from the floor and had four turnovers. Bruce Brown of the Pistons made his life difficult on offense and forced him into tough shots and Holiday didn’t do himself any favors by jumping in the air with nowhere to go. Continue reading Pacers Summer League struggles continue
Indiana Pacers start their Summer League play on Saturday in Las Vegas. It’s a chance to see the rookies Goga Bitadze (if his visa issues are worked out) and Brian Bowen II for the first time in the blue and gold and to watch for a lot of the team’s younger players (Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner, and Alize Johnson) in larger roles than the normally have as they try to make their case for more playing time.
The results of the games may be meaningless but you can gain some insight by what happens during them. It’s always important to never overreact to anything good or bad during Summer League. A good week in Vegas doesn’t mean a player is destined for stardom and a bad week doesn’t mean they are doomed to be a bust. It can be a positive or negative sign for the player’s career certainly but it’s not definitive proof one way or another.
These games do have real consequences. Solomon Hill is the biggest example of that for the Pacers. Hill played so poorly in his third trip to the Orlando Summer League in 2015 that it likely factored into the team’s choice to decline the team option on the fourth season of his rookie contract. It ended up working out great for Hill, who ended up with a huge payday from the Pelicans after a half season of solid shooting, but these games help inform team’s decisions and guys are playing for their NBA lives in many cases.
The Pacers are scheduled for four games in Las Vegas and will play a minimum of five games, depending on how they do once tournament play begins. Many of the players that are likely to be on Indiana’s roster may only play those first four games, perhaps only three.
- Saturday, July 6: Grizzlies at 7:00 p.m. on NBATV
- Monday, July 8: Pistons at 5:00 p.m. on ESPNU
- Tuesday, July 9: Hawks at 5:30 p.m. on NBATV
- Thursday, July 11: Raptors at 6:00 p.m. on NBATV
The Pacers first-round pick hasn’t been able to practice with the rest of the Summer League squad because of visa issues, but the hope is that he’ll be able to meet the team in Las Vegas to play at least a few games.
This would be the first chance for most Pacers fans to see the rookie in game action since he played professionally in Europe. In Europe, he was dominant as a teenager. He won the Adriatic League MVP award in 2019 and won the EuroLeague Rising Star and Adriatic League Top Prospect awards as well. Continue reading What to watch for during Pacers Summer League