Discover more from Fieldhouse Files with Scott Agness
Pacers news & notes: Final game in Vegas, Sabonis gets married, Holiday drives pace car and more
First-round picks Chris Duarte and Isaiah Jackson have played well, Jenny Boucek talks with coaches and Pacers lose data analyst to Knicks.
It’s been an exhausting, trying last 15 months for most in and around the NBA. The completion of one season in the bubble, then the start of a new season under heavy restrictions. It’s one reason why there are some notable staff members missing from summer league — they’re getting well deserved time off while those below them receive valuable experience.
Over the past 15 months, the Pacers have had three head coaches, too: Nate McMillan, Nate Bjorkgren and now Rick Carlisle. And after summer league did not happen last year, they got it over the last two weeks in Las Vegas.
It all wraps up on Tuesday, and then everyone across the league will try to get at least a few weeks of vacation in; this is about the only time they can do it, ahead of training camp starting up again in late September.
The Summer Pacers (2-2) play first on Monday, tipping off against the Wizards at 3:00 p.m. ET. It’s their fifth and final game. All 30 teams were guaranteed five games and the championship game will be held Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET: Celtics vs Kings.
The Pacers came out on top of their last two games, and won big — by 33 and 34 points, respectively — after dropping their first two, including one in a difficult fashion. Cassius Stanley saved the ball on the defensive end and Hawks rookie Sharife Cooper then buried a game-winning 3 in front of the Pacers’ bench.
They were supposed to play the Wizards a week ago, but that game was postponed because multiple Wizards players had entered the health and safety protocol.
You can catch the game live on NBA TV.
No Goga at Summer League
It’s unfortunate that Goga Bitadze could not participate and play in at least a few summer games. He wanted to so badly, and it would have been great for him. But something came up within his family that needs his attention.
Oshae Brissett, who has a non-guaranteed deal with the Pacers, is not with the team for the final two games. And Bennie Boatwright is unavailable after suffering a right knee injury in Game 1.
Now Married: Domantas Sabonis
Congrats to the Sabonis family. Domas married Shashana Rosen in Nice, France over the weekend. At least one Pacers staff member was there, as was assistant coach Bill Bayno — who worked closely with Sabonis since he was hired in 2016.
Sabonis proposed almost a year ago.
Justin Holiday Set the Pace
Justin is spending the offseason in Indy as his home is undergoing major renovations. He’s working out daily at 6 a.m., and otherwise enjoying a relaxing summer. Because he signed a three-year deal last year, it’s the first offseason where he didn’t have to figure out what was next.
Before, he had always had one-year contracts.
Holiday is a car guy, as documented on his YouTube channel. And on Sunday, he led the field of the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard NASCAR Cup Series race, which was won by AJ Allmendinger.
Holiday — who wore checkered socks and a Bubba Wallace t-shirt — learned from legend Mario Andretti in the days leading up, rode around with him in a two-seater, took practice laps and then drove a 2021 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE.
“I am beyond thankful to have had the opportunity to experience today,” he wrote on Instagram. “I now know why people love the sport of racing so much. I met some dope people and drove a Corvette on one of the most legendary tracks in the world. I want to give a big thank you to everyone that played a part in making this happen. (You know who you are.) I think racing is in my future!”
Doug McDermott replied back on Instagram: “My guy stays at the track”
In May, Holiday got his first taste of the Speedway while attending the Indianapolis 500 with JaKarr Sampson. He then vlogged about it.
Jenny Boucek’s Message at Seminar
At Summer League, there’s lots of talking and reconnecting. There’s also plenty of time for sharing.
I thought this was a really interesting tweet.
Boucek, who came with Rick Carlisle and Mike Weinar from Dallas, was invited to speak at the International Coaches Clinic held at UNLV’s auxiliary gym. And the area this attendee highlighted: player development and building a deep connection with players.
Pacers’ Data Analyst Takes Job With Knicks
Nick Fleder has accepted a job with the New York Knicks, hired as the manager of data science. New York is home, but the job can be done remotely.
He started with the Pacers as an analytics intern in 2016. Two years later, he came aboard full-time as a data analyst and had been in that role the past three seasons.
The Pacers are filling his position. And, as I previously reported, Spencer Anderson was promoted to senior director of basketball analytics.
Scott Simpson Switching Roles
He spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Mad Ants, and now he’s back to being an advance scout.
Scott Simpson, from Zionsville, Ind., replaces Gary Schmidt after just one season. Simpson previously served as an advance scout for the Knicks (2014-18), Thunder (2009-2014) and USA Basketball (2013-16).