The Pacers tip off the season at home on Wednesday night with much anticipation and more than a few questions to answer.
Can the team build on last season’s success or will they struggle to deal with the raised expectations this time around?
Will the roster tweaks help solidify the playing rotation, in particular the reserve unit that struggled to keep pace at times last year?
What will the Pacers get from Myles Turner and Domas Sabonis and how will they use them?
The four preseason games played by the Pacers didn’t offer any answers. Other than the new faces and more time for TJ Leaf and Edmond Sumner, the Pacers didn’t show much different from last year. They shot a couple more threes per game but the offense in general earned the ‘Once in a Lifetime’ review.
Same as it ever was.
Turner and Sabonis were paired for less than two minutes in the four games and despite offseason chatter of the duo teaming up more on the court, it appears Nate McMillan will only use the pairing when the matchup dictates as opposed to trying to create mismatches.
As CC detailed in early August, the duo would require some work to create the space to let the pairing operate better together. But McMillan explained after practice on Sunday, that we shouldn’t expect both bigs to see much time together. The team scored six points per 100 possession less last season when the two bigs played together, which appears to be why McMillan is in no hurry to find a solution for both to join forces.
At yesterday's practice, Coach McMillan discussed when Myles and Domas might play together and why they don't more often. pic.twitter.com/S4jvFK3oXf— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) October 14, 2018
Preseason play, especially with just four games, is not a showcase for all that is new with a team. Much like the NFL, things remain pretty vanilla as key players are rested, even if they play. Maybe McMillan doth protest too much yesterday and we’ll see some segment of Turner/Sabonis once the real games begin. Not holding my breath on that one, though.
Regardless, the two young bigs closing in on the end of their rookie deals (Turner this year, Sabonis next) creates a conundrum for the Pacers as they have to manage the present and near future with two of their most valuable assets playing the same position.
Check out the links: