5 Takeaways From Pacers Media Day
5 Takeaways From Pacers Media Day
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INDIANAPOLIS – In less than a week, the Indiana Pacers will be playing their first preseason game of the 2019-20 season.
That game will take place in India, not Indiana.
But those here, locally, are very intrigued by all the new faces on the 2019-20 Pacers team.
Friday was the team’s media day, as they begin their Training Camp this weekend.
Here are 5 things learned from media day:
1. Oladipo Won’t Start Season
Oladipo’s return to the court, after rupturing his quad tendon this past January, isn’t expected to come for several weeks, or even months, into the regular season.
“I know that he won’t start the season,” Nate McMillan said at the Pacers Media Day on Friday. “I don’t anticipate Victor being available (in full team drills) for a while.”
McMillan was scheduled to meet with team doctors later on Friday, to see what exactly Oladipo can do in the team’s first Training Camp practice on Saturday.
“Will (Oladipo) be able to go through the first part of practice, do some shooting, some drills?” McMillan asked himself when meeting the media on Friday. “I don’t know but I know he won’t be doing anything live for a while.
“There hasn’t been a timetable given to me. I’ve talked with our trainer, Victor, Kevin (Pritchard). I know that he won’t start the season. I haven’t had any information given to me that he will be practicing live anytime soon. I don’t anticipate Victor being available for a while, and I really don’t know what a while is. Really, there’s no timetable. I’m happy that he’s here at Training Camp. He will be in practice tomorrow, getting ready for his team.”
On Friday, Oladipo didn’t get into any specific details on what he’s able to do on-court right now, and what physical hurdles remain in his rehab. Although he did mention his shooting form has received ‘a lot of attention’ this offseason.
2. Get Ready For Domantas And Myles
Right off the bat on Friday, Nate McMillan revealed the planned starting lineup for opening night (October 23, vs. the Detroit Pistons):
The experiment of Sabonis and Turner on the floor together will not be temporary. The Pacers staunchly believe this duo of two bigs together, in the starting lineup, will work.
“We had the opportunity last year to play those guys about 10-to-15 minutes together,” the head coach said on Friday. “I thought they did a good job of adapting to our opponents as far as matching. They were able to adapt to that during the course of the game. This year, starting those two, I feel we are going to be able to play those two because they can adapt, but what I’m hoping is that our rebounding will be much better with both bigs being out on the floor.
“Sometimes we will change the matchup, from game-to-game, who is guarding the 4, but Domas will be starting at the 4, and Myles will be starting at the 5. For the most part, we are going to try and keep Myles at that basket defending and Domas will be working to defend possibly smaller 4s that are spreading the floor and able to put the ball on the floor.”
For Turner, who is now going into his 5th NBA season, he said his goals this year are to take another step defensively and provide more offensive production, and being more of a vocal leader, especially with Oladipo out early in the season.
3. “Time To Prove Ourselves”
Nate McMillan knows that the Pacers have gone 5 straight seasons without winning a playoff series.
With well over half of the NBA having won at least one playoff series during that time, the Pacers have not been able to do any damage in the postseason.
McMillan isn’t shying away from that.
“For us, this is a year of proving it,” the head coach said on Friday morning. “We brought in 7 new free agents and we all have something to prove. The last three years, with me, we’ve had decent seasons and we’ve been able to get to the playoffs but it’s been first round and out.
“We all have something to prove. As a team, that is the approach we are taking.”
4. Malcolm Brogdon Is The Pacers Point Guard
How everything unfolded for the Pacers on the first night of free agency in July was a surprise to Nate McMillan.
From Bojan Bogdanovic not returning, to the welcomed addition of Malcolm Brogdon.
Victor Oladipo said on Friday that he was ‘very ecstatic’ when he heard the news of Brogdon coming to Indiana.
Brogdon will be the new point guard in Indiana, and that’s a comforting feeling for McMillan.
“He’s the 1,” McMillan said of Brogdon.
“He’s going to be our starting point guard. He’s a throwback in how he thinks and plays the game. He understands that position and how it should be played, the extension of the point guard and the coach, we already feel that with him. You can allow this guy to run the team."
5. Teammates Impressed By Goga
One of the great mysteries of the 2019-20 Pacers is what exactly the rookie role Goga Bitadze will be this year.
The early reports are pretty strong on recently turned 20-year-old big man.
“He has a great feel for the game, both offensively and defensively,” Nate McMillan says of the 6-11 big man. “I really feel he’s going to be a really good 2-way player. A really high skill level, with his ability to score, post up, shoot the ball, pass the ball, dribble the ball. His feel for the game, he has all of that at a really young age. He has a beautiful body, comparing him to the other rookies coming out of college. You look at him his body, and you think about what he can become. The future is really bright for Goga, as well as the Pacers.”
Myles Turner has only played with Bitadze a couple of times, but he likes the rookie’s talent.
“He’s got all the skill in the world,” Turner said on Friday. “He’s stronger than he appears. He’s a bit taller than I think he’s listed. And he can play. He can shoot. He’s actually a pretty good shot blocker. But it’s one thing to do it in practice, and another thing to do it in a game. He can have all the upside in the world, but once you go through the grind of the NBA season, that’s where you get tested the most. I’ve been talking to him and I definitely have his back this year, being someone who has been in his shoes before. I think he’s actually someone we will need, as well. And I think he’ll have a big role, as well.”