Goga Bitadze reflects on his time with the Pacers and is grateful for his role in Orlando
The Pacers' 2019 first-round pick opens up on the abrupt end to his time in Indy and his new situation in Orlando. "It’s been the best year already," he said.
Goga Bitadze was seated at his locker and he knew what was coming. It’s probably a conversation he thought of on the flight to Indianapolis and again on the bus ride to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The Pacers’ 2019 first-round pick (18th overall) was back in the city where his NBA career started. It’s where the 24-year-old spent his first three and half seasons before having a mutual parting of ways. Officially, he was waived but he was eager for a change of scenery and fresh start elsewhere.
Bitadze is admittedly an emotional player and he doesn’t shy away from it. But he’s had to learn how to contain it and channel it for good, like he did prior to his return on Nov. 19. Asked if it was good to be back, he couldn’t hide his true feelings.
“Yeah, kinda,” he replied, unsure where to begin or how much to say. “ I got great teammates, I got a great team so I can’t wait to get this win. When we get the win, it’s gonna feel a little different.”
And they did, 128-116 over the Pacers.
Bitadze was then asked to reflect on his time in Indy.
“It was rough,” he said, looking down at the carpet in the visitor’s locker room. “Good. Ups and down. Mixed emotions overall.”
To his detriment, things didn’t go his way — or how anyone on the Pacers had hoped with him — very often.