Tag Archives: Pacers News

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

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Preseason Takeaways: Lessons from Pacers overtime loss to Grizzlies

The Indiana Pacers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in their second preseason game last night, but the result of the exhibition match doesn’t matter. With the Pacers resting all five starters, it was a chance for the young guys to get lots of minutes and show whether or not they belonged, and it was an opportunity for the bench unit to develop some chemistry with each other.

Here’s what we learned from Game 2:

Tyreke Evans and Domas Sabonis pick and rolls will be a delight:

These two have quickly developed a rapport on these type of plays in practice and it showed in their first game action together. Domas Sabonis repeatedly got great looks at the basket thanks to Tyreke Evans’s patience on the play, waiting until the right moment to make a quick pass to the Lithuanian big man.

Sabonis struggled to finish many of these looks but finished with an impressive 17 points (7 of 18) and 14 rebounds in only 21 minutes. Evans struggled to make shots as well but still finished with 12 points (3 for 11), 6 rebounds and 3 assists. It should be a blast watching these two run the pick and roll all season.

Evans had some chemistry miscues early with expecting players to go one way and going another or not being ready for a pass from Sabonis but it was good to get those kind of mistakes out of the way in preseason.

Continue reading Preseason Takeaways: Lessons from Pacers overtime loss to Grizzlies

What mattered in the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets

Drawing conclusions from a preseason game is dubious, but after the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets (110-100), we can all agree on one thing: it’s good to have Pacers basketball back.

Though much of the preseason is meaningless there are still a few takeaways that could be meaningful once the games actually matter.

Edmond Sumner looks like an NBA player

Easily the highlight of the game for Indiana was the play of their second-year, two-way contract guard Edmond Sumner.

Sumner filled in for Tyreke Evans, who missed the game with a sprained ankle and played 19 minutes that showed off his athleticism and potential.

Sumner played Evans’s role well and made some impressive drives to the rim throughout the game. His biggest highlight a dunk along the baseline in the first half as he got his first poster of his NBA career.  Continue reading What mattered in the Indiana Pacers preseason win over the Houston Rockets

Pacers Victor Oladipo wants to start a campaign to be in Space Jam 2

Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo wants to be in the Space Jam sequel.

“Yes, let’s start a campaign,” said Oladipo at media day when asked about his desire to be a Monstar in the LeBron James-led Space Jam sequel. “Let’s make this happen. I would be a crazy Monstar. I think that would be pretty dope.”

Oladipo wants a campaign. Let’s give him a campaign.

It may have helped his case if he said one of the four movies he watched every night before going to sleep was Space Jam instead of Home Alone 1 & 2, Shrek or Mulan, but I digress.

The first step to any online campaign has to be the hashtag, so here are some possibilities:  Continue reading Pacers Victor Oladipo wants to start a campaign to be in Space Jam 2

How Alize Johnson could help the Indiana Pacers this season

As the 50th overall draft pick, the Indiana Pacers rookie Alize Johnson has an uphill climb to make an impact on an NBA roster.

That’s nothing new for him. He’s been the overlooked underdog throughout his high school and college career. His story of small high-school guard as a freshman to junior college to Missouri State is well known by Pacers fans by now.

“I have to do things different,” Johnson said before Summer League play. “Being the underdog I have to show some things that I can do consistently. Rebounding is effort. I’m all about hard work and getting into the gyms. Not really being the most athletic person, but just having the grit to go up there every time and get it is something that’s still in my blood. I have siblings back home and a family rooting for me, so when I’m up there grabbing rebounds, that’s what I’m doing it for.”

If you watched him play in Summer League, you were likely to get at least a little caught up in the Alize hype as his high-motor rebounding was on full display and his ability to start the fastbreak was a highlight of the Pacers play in Las Vegas.

“When you’re picking that deep in the draft, the likelihood of that player succeeding, the percentages are certainly working against him,” Pacers GM Chad Buchanan said after the draft, “so you look for like one trait or one skill that a guy possesses that would give him a chance. And Alize has two things for me; he has tremendous motor, and he just has an innate ability to track down rebounds.”

Pacers coach Nate McMillan caught Alize fever during the exhibition games in Vegas.

Continue reading How Alize Johnson could help the Indiana Pacers this season

Indiana Pacers chemistry only getting stronger with new acquisitions

The Indiana Pacers greatest strength last season may have been their chemistry and to this point it looks like it’s only improved over the offseason.

“You know it when you see it,” Myles Turner said of the team’s chemistry after the first training camp practice. “You just feel it.”

Indiana hasn’t played a game yet and you can feel it already. Whether it’s the above picture from media day with most of the returning players laughing together or Bojan Bogdanovic giving Victor Oladipo a huge hug when he first saw him.

Last season was the first year the majority of the team had been with the Pacers as they quickly grew a unique bond. With most of the core contributors returning from last year’s roster, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard thinks those relationships will continue to grow.

Continue reading Indiana Pacers chemistry only getting stronger with new acquisitions

Managing Expectations: Is this the year it all comes together for Myles Turner?

Myles Turner put in work this summer to be ready for this upcoming season with the Indiana Pacers.

Whether he was doing yoga with Domantas Sabonis, working on his strength in the weight room, boxing on a gym floor, playing 1-on-1 after team USA practice with Kevin Durant, Paul George, Devin Booker and Victor Oladipo or showing off some impressive skills in pick-up games with Monta Ellis, that much has been clear; he’s been productive this offseason.

Now, it’s almost time to see how his labors will translate to the court as training camp quickly approaches.

Last year at this time, it was widely expected that Turner would be set for a much bigger role offensively, but Oladipo became a superstar while Turner’s statistical output per game went down in almost all categories as he struggled to find a rhythm through a series of small injuries while playing less minutes per game than in his second season.

Continue reading Managing Expectations: Is this the year it all comes together for Myles Turner?

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.  Continue reading Report: Trevor Booker nears deal to play in China

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

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.  Continue reading ESPN: Nate McMillan finalizing contract extension with the Indiana Pacers

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.  Continue reading JJ Redick nearly joined the Indiana Pacers

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.  Continue reading Pacers rookie Alize Johnson buys his mother new car

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

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.  Continue reading Alize Johnson signs deal with Indiana Pacers

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.  Continue reading Rodney Stuckey attempts an NBA comeback

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.