INDIANAPOLIS – One day away from Orlando.
The Pacers are set to board a plane bound for the NBA bubble Thursday. All-Star Victor Oladipo plans to be on that plane, plans to participate in team 5-on-5 drills in Florida, but does not plan to play as the NBA season resumes.
The Blue and Gold should be used to playing without Oladipo, as they did for 52 of 65 games so far this season. Players say they support his choice to sit out as the league ramps up again.
“We’re all behind Victor,” says Aaron Holiday, “for sure behind him with the decision he made.”
“We’re gonna try to fill that void,” continues Doug McDermott. “Obviously, it’s not easy filling the void of an All-Star like Victor. We’re gonna try our best, try to hold down the fort, and play some good basketball.”
As life in the NBA bubble geets close by the hour now, the players are coming to a better realization of what difficulties lie ahead – and how to address them.
“Hopefully we can back right to it,” adds Justin Holiday, “but we all know how it is. Once you come back to playing, you don’t know how everyone’s gonna be. Some people might be clicking and rolling from the jump. Some might not be.”
“The team that’s gonna win and go far is the team that’s mentally tough enough,” states McDermott. “Some teams can potentially wear down mentally because of the circumstances, and I think we’re a team that can rise above it.”
Players will have to figure out how to kill some time with more than three weeks between their arrival in Orlando and games starting up, but they can’t help but eagerly anticipate that first game tipping off.
“Once you get on that floor and someone hits you in the mouth, you’re not gonna back down,” smiles Justin Holiday.
And until then, the goal is stay fit, stay healthy, and stay in a bubble.