The Pacers play only four preseason games and will be the last team in the league to lace ‘em up for a practice game tonight in Houston. So after watching bits, pieces and big chunks of other games over the past week, let’s go!!!
The game will be the first of a four-game road trip which will have the Pacers out of town for eight days, playing games every other day. With the extra practice trip, Victor Oladipo thinks the team may need to change their name.
“We might as well be called the road runners,” Oladipo said.
There is some method to the madness of scheduling a big roadie before the season starts. Primarily, the opportunity to fortify chemistry and bond with the new faces on the roster ramps up on the road.
Reggie Miller used to talk about loving the first western road trip because it was the best way for teams to enhance their chemistry. Nate McMillan may not love the idea of leaving town for eight days, but he knows they can make the most of it.
“We’re going to have our rookie party and they have to perform so it will be a little bonding,” McMillan said. “As well as, trying to get some work in and trying to build ourself as road tough.”
Darren Collison acknowledge the families won’t like the extra preseason road trip but the team can make the best of the situation.
“We have the advantage to bond faster than most teams,” DC said. “We’re going to spend a lot of time on the road together, so we’re going to get to know each other.”
Obviously with an extended playing rotation and variable veteran rest throughout the games, simulating situations to build the road toughness on the court won’t be easy. But the value in seeing how different players react, especially in the varying game situations on the road will be an added benefit to this preseason stretch. As will seeing how everyone handles idle time in Houston and Chicago, off the court.
In news around the Eastern Conference, it appears the Miami Heat are eventually going to raise their profile immediately in the East by trading for Jimmy Butler. That move by that team has always made the most sense, but they have to do it soon to also get Butler’s Bird rights for a long-term deal.
Check out the links: