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Indiana Pacers assign Shayne Whittington, Rakeem Christmas to Fort Wayne Mad Ants

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This is what they bought them for. The Pacers will make early use of their single-affiliation partnership with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday that they have assigned second-year player Shayne Whittington as well as rookie Rakeem Christmas to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Utilizing Fort Wayne as a training ground for the Pacers' young talent is exactly what the team's brass envisioned when they announced their single-affiliation partnership with the Mad Ants back in September.

"Owning the Mad Ants will be an integral part to the development of our young talent and we'll have the ability to institute the same offensive and defensive systems and create a winning basketball culture across the state of Indiana," Bird said, via Pacers.com. "We are excited to build on the team's success in Fort Wayne while using it as a training ground for players, coaches and front office personnel."

Though approximately two hours away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Whittington and Christmas will still have the opportunity to be fully integrated into the Pacers system from afar while gaining some much needed playing time as part of their development process.

The pair of assignees did not average 20 minutes per game combined over Indiana's 7-game preseason slate.

Whittington was assigned to the Mad Ants for a short stint last season. In his lone regular season appearance, he scored 5.0 points and grabbed 4.0 rebounds. During the affiliate's postseason run, he averaged 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per contest.

The Mad Ants recently finalized their training camp roster and training camp is slated to begin on Tuesday, November 3. They will tip off their regular season against the Raptors 905 on Saturday, November 14.