Notes from Pacers exit interviews 2022
The Pacers hosted media at the practice facility on Monday for one last round of interviews before beginning the offseason.
INDIANAPOLIS — Just 15 hours after the Pacers’ final game of the 2021-22 season, the team began holding exit interviews Monday morning. And for the second consecutive season, those included local reporters.
For the players, this is all part of the process. There’s a checklist — and before officially activating offseason mode, there are stops they must make throughout the building. They clean out their lockers, meet individually with the front office and head coach Rick Carlisle, go over things with the training staff and more.
One of those stops is on Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard court, one of two basketball courts at the practice facility. (The other one is named in honor of Donnie Walsh.)
Throughout the day, players were made available to the local media. Carlisle spoke as well. Much of their comments will be used in stories to come this summer.
However, below are the key takeaways from each conversation with the players.
With the season wrapping up just yesterday, he said it was too early to reflect on his year. It started in Sacramento and finished back home in the midwest, in Indiana.
He felt this year he was able being able to showcase that he could be the primary ball-handler. He read and heard the noise coming out of college that he couldn’t be the primary initiator and proved them wrong.
More than anything, his confidence continues to grow.
Now being the focal guy of the franchise, he said it doesn’t change anything. “I just play basketball and I want to be the best version of who I am. And I don’t know how I am specifically yet or what that looks like,” he added.
He shared that he never played much 1-on-1 growing up, probably because he was better than most of the kids in his area.
Since his arrival, the Pacers ranked 10th in points (117.2 ppg) but were 30th in points allowed (122.8). To that end, he’s not worried about the offense. As we all saw, the defense has to be better.
“Next year is a clean slate.”
Buddy is a hooper so getting him to take time away from the gym is difficult. “Take time off? I don’t know. I hate being bored.” He often would come back here in the evening to get shots up on his own throughout the season.
He says he now has a basketball court in his house so he’s looking forward to having no stress about getting in a gym. Whenever he wants, like after a playoff game when it gets his juices going.
He acknowledged that it’s not easy watching playoff games, but he does enjoy seeing how guys play and handle big situations. They’re games of adjustments. “It sucks, but it’s fun too,” he said.
As for what’s next: He wants to be more efficient, especially with his 3-point shot. He was disappointed after shooting 36 percent from outside this season, down from 39 percent last season.
He truly appreciates his current situation, both in how he has been welcomed in and how much freedom Rick Carlisle allows on the court. He knows he’s getting consistent minutes, can play with freedom and without looking over his shoulder like he did in Sacramento. Yes, he’s very happy to be here.
I think this is a key quote about Haliburton, his backcourt partner: “It doesn’t matter where he’s at, he’s a fun guy, high spirit. I think everybody knows what Tyrese can do already. … Everybody loves him. Everybody loves to play with him. He’s a willing passer and everybody likes to play with a wiling passer.”
Ball is life for Buddy. “I’m excited for this coming summer, I’m excited for this coming season.”