Pacers look forward to upcoming season with start of camp
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The 2019-20 Indiana Pacers made their first public appearance during Friday’s media day at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The team carries 20 players on the training camp roster, eight of which were with the Pacers last season. Nate McMillan enters his fourth season as the head coach. Last year, Indiana compiled a 48-34 record and got swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
“I think it’s a year for us to prove ourselves,” McMillan said.
McMillan revealed his starting lineup for the team’s preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings on October 4 in India: Malcolm Brogdon (guard), Jeremy Lamb (guard), T.J. Warren (forward), Domantas Sabonis (forward) and Myles Turner (forward/center).
McMillan expressed confidence in the Sabonis-Turner duo leading the front court at the four and five position.
“I’m hoping we will be much better with both bigs being out on the floor,” McMillan said.
Brogdon will start at point guard, taking over for Darren Collison, who retired.
“I love his leadership,” McMillan said of Brogdon. “We’ve had many conversations over the summer about the team, the direction, and what we are going to be looking for.”
Lamb comes in as a starter, filling in for Victor Oladipo at the two position. The former IU Basketball standout continues to rehab a knee injury that ended his time on the floor last season.
“It’s going to take each guy playing for the next guy,” McMillan said. “We have to get into the season, and see how these guys build that chemistry.”
Oladipo said doctors have not revealed a timetable for his return yet.
“I’m doing whatever I can to make my knee stronger and get me back out there playing as soon as possible,” Oladipo said. “I just try to focus on what I can control.”
Unable to participate in basketball activities during the off-season, Oladipo said he has had to mentally prepare off the court for the upcoming season.
“Your mind is another muscle you need to work on,” he said. “For me, that’s what I’m focused on. It’s building my mind to be in game-shape.”
The Pacers expect versatility out of first-year player, Goga Bitadze. The 20-year-old from Georgia went 18th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“He’s going to be a really good two-way player. You look at him and think about over the next few years what we could become,” McMillan said of Bitadze. “The future is really great for Goga, as well as the Pacers.”
The Pacers held their first training camp practice Saturday at the St. Vincent Center.
Check out the Pacers game schedule here.