Down a new path, Pacers are positioning themselves for the long-term
Pacers GM Chad Buchanan explains the team's pivot and focus on the young core at the team's annual golf outing.
It was a toasty day in the sun on Wednesday as the Pacers hosted their annual golf outing to benefit the Pacers Foundation. Temperates topped 94 degrees on what appears to be the final day of summer.
Over a hundred Pacers supporters, consisting of sponsors and team partners, gathered at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course for the outing — which unofficially marks the start of a new Pacers season. There’s optimism and excitement around this team because of the new direction emphasizing development of the young players.
By this time next week, training camp will be underway. And two weeks from today, the ball will be tossed up in their first of four preseason games.
Yes, games are already approaching. Before then, the Pacers will have a lot to get accomplished.
In the meantime, it was great day on the course for some of those closest to the organization.
Just after 9:30 a.m., Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan spoke with Jeremiah Johnson of Bally Sports Indiana at the front of the room before golfers walked out to their carts and headed out for the day.
“We’ve committed to a long-term plan,” he repeated several times.
The franchise has missed out on the postseason the past two seasons and it will soon grow to three. The only other time they’ve been on the outside looking in for multiple seasons over the last 30 years was in the years following The Brawl.
Injuries piled up. Some never recovered. There were multiple centers in the starting lineup, a lack of shooting and accountability in the locker room.
“I would have loved to see that team,” team president Kevin Pritchard told me in July. “Could we have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals? I don’t know. It’s awfully hard, you got to get lucky, you got to have everybody playing well at the same time. But that team would have stacked up against some of the best teams in the East.”
That group had run its course together and very noticeably was past its expiration. So at the beginning of 2022, the front office pivoted and, with the sign off of owner Herb Simon, began to reconstruct the roster.
“The Pacers have always prided themselves of being a playoff-caliber team,” Buchanan said. “Herb Simon, our owner, has always supported let’s try to be as best we can every year to try to get into the playoffs. We’ve done that we’ve felt like the majority of the past few years and we felt like the group has hit its ceiling.