The Indiana Pacers announced their roster for the Orlando Summer League earlier this week. The roster features many familiar faces including five players likely to suit up for the blue and gold next season and will be coached by Popeye Jones, Pacers assistant coach. The team will play five games that will run through the heart of the NBA free agency madness from July 2 through July 8 (Pacers schedule below). No one’s playing in the Summer League without something to prove and we’ll look at what some of the key players on the roster need to work on. Continue reading Pacers Summer League Preview
The Pacers have already had a busy offseason: adding two starters in Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young before the NBA draft. These two likely starters will most likely be the biggest moves Larry Bird and the Pacers make in preparation for the 2016-2017 season. They have two remaining spots on their roster available if they plan to sign second-round pick, Georges Niang. ICYMI: Here’s an in-depth analysis on what the Pacers are likely to do with their own free agents. I recommend reading that post before this one.
Depending on whether the Pacers decide to keep any of their free agents, they are generally seen to have anywhere from $12 – 20 million in cap space (depending on whether or not they want to keep Ian Mahinmi) to spend on the last two roster spots and a potential renegotiation of the newly acquired Teague’s contract. While the Pacers could look to trade one of their ball dominant guards (Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey), nothing has indicated to this point that is part of Bird’s plan. During his post-draft press conference, Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers General Manager and second in command to Bird, mentioned how the Pacers see other teams having success by always having four or five playmakers on the court at all times. Bird likely sees both Ellis and Stuckey as key pieces that the Pacers will need for their plan to fill the court with playmakers. I could go on and on about the potential pitfalls here for the Pacers, so that’s another post for another day. For the sake of this article, I will assume the Pacers are not planning on trading away any of their current pieces. (I’m sure since I wrote this that Bird will quickly trade away someone before free agency even starts.)
Since the Pacers have only a max of about $20 million in cap room, we can immediately cross off the cream of the crop in this free agency class: Kevin Durant, Nicolas Batum, Al Horford, and Mike Conley. The Pacers likely never had much of a chance at any of these guys anyway despite awesome hashtags like #KevINDYrant. They will not be discussed here as viable options. One other thing that should be known about the Pacers: they do not go after restricted free agents (RFA) per the owner’s policy. So, going after young guys just coming off of their rookie contracts like Allen Crabbe, Evan Fournier, Troy Daniels, etc. will not be an option for Bird and the Pacers due to this organizational limitation.
With the Pacers starting lineup likely set barring another trade,– Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul George, Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner– the Pacers will be looking for players that can fill specific bench roles with their last two spots on the roster. Here are some options (both good and bad): Continue reading Potential Free Agent Targets for the Pacers
USA Basketball officially announced its roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics early this morning. Here’s a look at the 12-man roster that includes Indiana Pacers star Paul George:
They’ve also reassigned each player a number from 1-15 per tradition of USA Basketball (also might be a rule of Olympics for all teams). So, what number did Paul George, who was wearing 29 when working out with Olympic team in the past, pick or get assigned? 13 of course, and the jerseys are 🔥🔥🔥 (fire for those of you without emojis). Continue reading Paul George will still be PG-13 with USA Basketball
The Pacers have already made some major changes to their roster in the early stages of the off-season: trading George Hill for Jeff Teague in a 3-team deal and trading their 1st-round pick for Thaddeus Young. If the Pacers sign 2nd-round pick Georges Niang, that’ll put the Pacers roster at 13 players under contract for next season with only two open roster spots left. The Pacers have four free agents from last year’s team: Ian Mahinmi, Solomon Hill, Jordan Hill, and Ty Lawson. Let’s take a look at each player and the likelihood that the Pacers will retain their services for the 2016-17 season. Continue reading Will the Pacers re-sign any of their free agents?
With the Pacers trading away their first-round selection for Thaddeus Young just hours before the draft and acquiring Jeff Teague in a swap of hometown heroes the day prior, most of the excitement for the Pacers was done early yesterday, but the Pacers still had the 50th overall selection in the second round. With this pick, the Pacers selected senior forward Georges Niang out of Iowa State.
Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard seemed very pleased in his post-draft press conference that Niang was still available when the Pacers were on the clock.
“We thought very highly of him,” said Pritchard on the 23-year-old Niang, who averaged 20.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists last season. “We didn’t think he’d get to 50. We had him a lot higher on the board, so we were pretty excited that he got to 50.” Continue reading Pacers draft a playmaker in Georges Niang
Update: Trade is now official on July 7, 2016.
You might want to take shelter if you’re in the Indianapolis area. Woj Bombs have been spotted twice in the last two days: first, the Pacers swap hometown heroes (analysis here), and today the Pacers have acquired Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Pacers give up their 20th pick in this year’s draft and a future 2nd-round pick. Thad Young will slide immediately into the Pacers starting lineup at the power forward position. Continue reading Pacers acquire Thaddeus Young for 1st-round pick
UPDATE: 9:10 PM EST 2K has confirmed via their feed of their “Road to the Finals” tournament that Paul George is the cover athlete for the standard edition of NBA 2K17.
Paul George said he was excited for the opportunity especially since he’s been a player of the video game for a long time. “This is part of being in the NBA,” said George. “Wanting to get the cover. Wanting to be the best.”
In an item that has since been removed from PlayStation’s website, a pre-order for the NBA 2k17 game was available for PS4, including 2 Kobe-inspired legend editions, along with the regular edition. The cover athlete for this edition is to be announced tomorrow evening, but Sony may have let the cat out of the bag early as the pre-order page shows Paul George as the cover athlete.
The NBA announced their All-Defensive Teams today and the Pacers had one player selected to the Second Team: Paul George.
It was a close call for George. He had the least amount of points and first-team votes of any of the ten players selected. Jae Crowder nearly overtook George, but lost out on the final forward spot by one point (48-47). Two players that were not among the ten selected actually finished ahead of George in points, but Rudy Gobert (64) plays Center and Klay Thompson (49) is listed as a guard. Continue reading Paul George earns All-Defensive Second Team selection
Only a couple of days after saying that Pacers “haven’t started yet” on the team’s coaching search, Larry Bird surprised everyone; the Vertical reported last night that the Pacers are finalizing a deal to promote Nate McMillan to head coach.
McMillan has been with the Pacers as the Associate Head Coach or lead assistant for Frank Vogel for the last three seasons. He took the job after Brian Shaw left the same position to be a head coach with the Denver Nuggets.
In the span of two seasons, Solomon Hill went from leading all Indiana Pacers players in minutes to being stuck to the bench and from having Larry Bird waive the 4th-year team option on his cheap rookie deal to becoming a crucial part of the Pacers rotation down the stretch and in the playoffs.
This Solocoaster of sorts (please, forgive me) has been a bumpy ride for Hill, but his late season performance has more than likely put him out of the Pacers price range if they want to retain him. Here’s a look at his past two seasons with some lyrics from the Hotline Bling parody, “SoloBling,” sprinkled in throughout.
In 2014-2015 as Hill started 78 games and led the Pacers in minutes, his performance was mediocre at best; while he averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, he also had a Pacers-worst -9.6 on/off rating. He played his usual solid defense, made the occasional surprising forceful drive to the rim for a dunk, and struggled mightily with his jump shot (shot under 40% for the season).
🎶 Ever since the Summer League,
I wasn’t in the rotation as a wing now.
Everybody played and I felt left out,
but GR3 too young, and where is Chase now? 🎶
UPDATE: Larry Bird made it official. Frank Vogel will not be the coach for the Indiana Pacers next season.
Last night, seemingly immediately after the Pacers season ended in a defeat to the Toronto Raptors, the offseason drama began for the Pacers with a Woj Bomb.
“Wait, what?” was the general reaction for Pacers writers, bloggers, and fans as well as the national media. Although Vogel was deservedly criticized at times for his rotations (STAGGER!) and inept offense especially late in games, he’s still a top young coach in the league. He’s a defensive wizard. Continue reading Larry Bird undecided on Frank Vogel’s future with Pacers
In the first three games of the series, the Pacers offense was essentially a one-man show: Paul George. After losing two straight games, Pacers coach Frank Vogel had a simple message for his team: “Trust your teammates.”
“The message before the game was to really move the ball and play for each other,” Ian Mahinmi said. “That’s what we did from the very first minute.”
The results? The Pacers blitzed the Raptors early to a first-quarter lead of 28-14 and never looked back as they tied the series at 2-2 with a 100-83 victory.
“Everyone has to be options for us, offensive threats,” Paul George said after the game. “Tonight, they were, and we exploded on offense.”
The two biggest benefactors to the Pacers devotion to sharing the ball were Ian Mahinmi and George Hill, who went from scoring 40 points combined in the first three games to scoring 44 points combined (a team-high 22 points a piece) in game four as they both had perhaps their best games of the season.
“I can’t take credit for this today,” Mahinmi said of the best game of his career. “Most of my shots were dunks and shots under the rim … my teammates really did an awesome job of finding me.” Continue reading Mahinmi puts team on his ailing back, Pacers tie series 2-2
Thanks to a sizzling second half from Paul George (27 points on 10 of 13 shooting), the Indiana Pacers defeated the Toronto Raptors 100-90 and lead the series 1-0.
It’s a huge win to open the playoffs as the team that wins game one wins the series 77% of the time, but if the Pacers want to cause the Raptors to go home after the first round for the third straight season via defeat to a lower-seeded team, there were some problematic areas that the Pacers can’t allow to become series-long trends.
The Pacers clinched their 5th playoff appearance in their last 6 seasons (or they have made it every year that Paul George has had two healthy legs) by blowing out the Brooklyn Nets.
At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Pacers led by 40, so the starters were free to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the game. Paul George even managed to get a snack from a young fan sitting behind the home team’s bench.
Paul George hasn’t been able to sit out a lot of final quarters this year, so it’s good to see him taking advantage of it.
Get your popcorn ready, Pacers fans! The Pacers are in the playoffs for the 21st time since 1990, which is the second most in the NBA over that time period. They will face either the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers.
The rookie, who had only attempted two 3-pointers and had made none so far this season, calmly gathered the low pass at his feet and immediately rose with confidence to take the shot. Nothing but net. Tie game.
His first career 3-pointer and yet another Mylestone in the constant evolution of Myles Turner.
Myles Turner learned a new skill. Something that seems to happen nearly every game for the fast learning, hard working rookie.
“His biggest quality is that he’s not afraid. He’s never afraid, he’s never shying away from the moment,” Paul George said after the Thunder game, “He asks questions; he wants to learn, wants to get better, and works hard. It’s everything you want in a young player. He has it, and he’s going to be special for us.”
At the start of the season, it was clear that Frank Vogel didn’t want to put too much burden on the Pacers first-round draft pick. He was going to play off the bench at the 5 spot, so he could focus on learning just one position while he got used to the speed of the NBA game.
Myles came into the league with a couple of skills: A smooth jumper, his Turneround™ post move, and an impeccable sense of timing when it came to blocking shots. He used these skills to average 5.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in his first 18 career games and missed over a month and a half with a thumb injury. Modest numbers in about 18 minutes per contest, but you could still see flashes of his potential in every game.
Then the Pacers went on a 4-game Western Conference road trip and Myles Turner put on a nightly show. Turner averaged 20.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks over the trip, including a 31-performance over the defending champion Golden State Warriors that made me tweet this:
“You would have to say fairly that he’s one of the most, if not the most, surprising players in the draft,” Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said to the Indy Star. “I think everybody pretty much knew he was going to be a good player, but I think a lot of people thought it would take more time than this and he’s playing very well.”
Turner was starting to show off even more skills: preventing dunks with blocks that recalled the memory of Roy Hibbert’s block on Carmelo Anthony in the playoffs, hook shots in the post, crafty, quick finishes in the lane. While he was still out of position at times on defense and Vogel knew it might be a “roller coaster,” Myles Turner was moved to the starting lineup, where Pacers fans hope he stays for a good 12-15 years.
Not only is Turner starting, but Vogel is playing him at power forward alongside Ian Mahinmi. While Mahinmi has recently struggled to stay on the court, the Pacers are now 4-1 when the tandem starts the game.
“I don’t know how fast and how far he develops in the final 29 games,” said Vogel in Candace Buckner’s great profile on Turner, “but it will be a big factor in what our ceiling is.”
The result is a rare mix of spacing on offense, but an abundance of rim protection and rebounding on defense. Turner is blocking anything that comes near him at the rim and that includes serving up some smothered chicken to LeBron James.
In the OKC game, assistant coach Popeye Jones told Turner that he wasn’t doing much on defense according to Jeremiah Johnson. Turner responded with 5 blocks in the 3rd-quarter alone.
The lineup is just touching the surface of its potential in terms of spacing now that Turner can take open corner threes. As Turner proves he’s ready to hit the long range shots and Vogel gives him more freedom to take those, the spacing will continue to grow on offense.
The end result may be Larry Bird finally getting that fast paced offense with lots of free flowing movement and spacing, and Frank Vogel playing his preferred style of having two bigs on the court at all times. The best of both worlds.
The always growing skillset of Myles Turner can do that for you.
Myles Turner signed 8×10 giveaway:
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This has been a season of change for the Pacers, a year of transition: going from exclusively using slow, traditional lineups to having the flexibility of using both faster spread lineups and traditional lineups and from having an elite defense that forces inefficient mid-range shots to sending out an above average defense that forces a lot of turnovers; Paul George has returned and is better than ever. C.J. Miles is playing as a stretch four after 10 years of being a wing. There are seven players on the roster that were not on the Pacers a year ago. George Hill is blonde. Out of all of this sudden change, none of it has been more surprising than the vast improvement of everything in Ian Mahinmi’s offensive skill set.
Shooting. Passing. Dribbling. Catching. Footwork. You name it; Ian Mahinmi got better at it over the off-season, an incredible feat for a veteran entering his eighth season in the Association.
Sharpshooter C.J. Miles saved this season for the Pacers and perhaps even many seasons in the future. I’m sure you’re thinking, “CJ Miles? I think you misspelled Paul George.” And, sure, you’re right; if we’re talking about saviors, then Paul George is clearly Jesus for the Pacers. But C.J. Miles is John the Baptist. I imagine you may feel a lot like Miles below, but stay with me for a second:
The Pacers played 7 games in the last two weeks and only lost 2 games by a combined 5 points. They are now 8-2 in their last 10 games over the 0-3 start and sit at 4th-place in the East. In this 10-game stretch, the Pacers have had the best defense in the NBA by advanced metrics and currently have the 5th-best net rating in the NBA for the entire season. The Pacers defensive philosophy may have changed, but it’s as good as ever. Forcing turnovers was never a focal point in year’s past, but they currently average the 2nd-most steals per game in the league and forced 54 turnovers in the last two blowout victories against the Sixers and Bucks. Here’s some quick analysis on each player over the last two weeks:
1. Paul George: Paul George has never played better in his career than he has in the past two weeks. At this point, it’d be surprising if he doesn’t earn the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. While Paul George’s streak of 26 points came to an end at 8, it only happened in a game the Pacers won by nearly 40 points where George “only” scored 20 points in the first three quarters while sitting on the final frame of the blowout. No one is more responsible for how well the Pacers have been playing their past 10 games than PG.
Previous 2-weeks Stats: 21.5 PPG, 9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2 STL
Previous Grade: A-
Current 2-weeks stats: 27.7 PPG, 8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.3 STL
Current Grade: A+
Welcome to iPacers first biweekly wrap of the 2015-16 season. It’s been an interesting start to the season with two close losses to start against the Raptors and Grizzlies, followed by an embarrassing home blowout loss to the Jazz, but since the Pacers have rattled off 3 straight wins against Eastern conference foes (Pistons, Celtics, and Heat). The Pacers have played both big and small with mixed results for both of them early, but with a lot of success lately. A common theme early was poor second halves that haunted the Pacers in each of the first three losses, but they’ve managed to win two straight close games in the final quarter with great defense and just enough offense. Here’s some brief analysis and a grade for each player on the roster through the Pacers first six games:
The world lost a beloved man today. Pacers legend and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels died at the age of 71. On the basketball court, Daniels was one of the Pacers all-time greats. He averaged over 19 points and 16 rebounds in his six seasons with the team while winning 3 ABA Championships. Daniels was a 2-time ABA MVP, a 7-time ABA All-Star, and the league’s all-time leader in rebounds. He turned down a scholarship offer to play with another Indiana hoops legend, Oscar Robertson, at Cincinnati to be the first first-round draft pick to chose the ABA over the NBA. He’s one of only four Pacers to have his number retired by the organization. After his playing career was over, Daniels served many positions in the Pacers organization including assistant coach and scout and was an active part of the franchise even today. Here are reactions from all over the NBA: