Kevin Pritchard fully understands what lies ahead after he officially assumed the role as team president for the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
"Wow, this seat already feels a little hot," Pritchard joked as he took he sat down to address the media.
Right away we saw the contrast between Bird and Pritchard. While Bird spoke for about 13 minutes to sign off after 14 years as a Pacers executive, Pritchard introduced himself and spoke for about twice as long, sharing big picture considerations and specific comments on certain players and circumstances along the way.
As a veteran team executive, Pritchard's style is different than Bird's but he is nothing if not media savvy and able to sell a vision without ducking tough questions.
No, he doesn't have an answer to the Paul George situation. That remains a tough question but one without an answer. But Pritchard did share some interesting information about his exit interview with PG. The two talked for 45 minutes to an hour, went through various scenarios which all involved PG in a Pacers uniform.
"We talked about a lot of different things," Pritchard said. "In every scenario he talked about being here. That’s important. He wants to win. Picking up Lance late in the year made us a better team and got us into the playoffs. We want to win. We want successful teams year in and year out, and that has to do with Paul. He wants to win, the Pacers want to win, we’re on the same page.”
OK, now we're getting somewhere.
Pritchard sounded a little more circumspect when commenting on Jeff Teague. Yes, the Pacers would like to see Teague return and Teague has indicated he wants to return. But...they have to come to an agreement on the proper value for each to remain together.
As for Nate McMillan, Pritchard gave a passionate endorsement of the coach with no hint of change. They both have each other’s back and Pritchard appreciates McMillan’s toughness and their working relationship which allows for blunt conversations between the two.
While he mentioned that “We all know Lance is crazy,” Pritchard emphasized that Stephenson’s energy and effort is what this team needs more of moving forward. That and a better rebounding presence, something Lance also offers from the guard position.
More toughness, more energy more, “Let’s go!” That is the type of team Pritchard wants to roll out for the Pacers going forward. This summer will determine how soon that vision can be put into place, but as of today, Pritchard’s vision is the Pacers.
Here’s the full video of the press conference with Pritchard speaking after Bird at the 13 minute mark.
Larry Bird’s 2016-17 End of Season Press Conference
Before he steps down as President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird shares his thoughts on the 2016-17 season and explains what his new role will be with the Pacers.Posted by Indiana Pacers on Monday, May 1, 2017