The Pacers officially tip of the season with Media Day at the Ascension St. Vincent Center across the street from the newly renovated (still being renovated?) Fieldhouse on Monday morning. The vaxxed and masked media will actually be in attendance and not stuck on yet another Zoom call. Yay!
Many of the players have been in town for a few weeks, getting together for runs at the St. V Center and prepping for the preseason work ahead. According to Rick Carlisle, Domas Sabonis and Myles Turner arrived early last week which had the whole team together working out.
Carlisle’s comments were part of both a podcast interview with Pat Boylan and Jeremiah Johnson and a Q& A with Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. The Pacers new (old) coach also emphasized his delight with Malcolm Brogdon’s efforts to get almost everyone except honeymooning Domas, to a hoops retreat in California earlier in the summer.
The are some classic preseason positives to grab ahold of which will fit nicely next to the high praise given to a random player or two for looking fit and playing at a high level during the preseason runs with the rest of the team AKA the T.J. Leaf Award. I like to think of it as the D.J. Augstin Award since in 2012 nearly every player mentioned Augustin on Media Day for his stellar preseason run play. Not sure I care what Basketball Reference has to say, but I can’t remember Augustin making a three during his time with the Pacers.
The pre-Media Day interviews with Carlisle were interesting with the context of all is good before a game is played. The man calling the shots did warn of a challenging schedule early in the season, but like the rest of us, is looking forward to seeing what he can get out of this team which has struggled over the past two season. Those struggles were in large part due to injuries, but also due to a group that didn’t handle adversity well.
One other thing that stuck out from both interviews was Carlisle’s hype of rookies Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson.
Listen, I’m really excited about our two draft picks. Duarte and Jackson are two guys who can help us right away. They’re both versatile, they defend, they can do special things offensively as well, so that’s exciting.
Yes, Duarte is ready to help and will be needed in some role right away with T.J. Warren out. Jackson helping right away seems more far fetched considering the state of his offensive game not mention the expected playing rotation. Even without Warren, it is easy to get to 10 players in the rotation without Jackson. And with Jackson, you are jumping over Goga Bitadze who through a myriad of circumstances has rarely been given a chance to develop and grow on the court.
So many questions as we head into Media Day. Unfortunately, the answers we’re looking for won’t truly be available until the players reveal the truth with their play on the court.
But that can’t happen until after Media Day, so...Happy Media Day!