Reading between the lines: Five takeaways from Kevin Pritchard's end-of-season presser
The Pacers president spoke two days after their 35-win developmental season concluded.
The Indiana Pacers 2022-23 season officially came to an end Sunday afternoon and just two days later, Kevin Pritchard was on the platform in the Collins/Fuson Interview Room at Gainbridge Fieldhouse to discuss the last eight months with local reporters.
This surprised me because after last season, he didn’t talk until the draft lottery, on May 17, once they knew they would be selecting at No. 6 and 31. Nonetheless, it’s a valuable time to hear his perspective on the team from a macro view and then narrow down the things that matter most to him entering another pivotal offseason.
They finished the season 35-47, with 10 more wins than last season and much better than anticipated by the oddsmakers. And they finished in a tie with Washington for seventh-best lottery odds. That tie will soon be broken by a coin flip to determine the draft order.
The front office planned to get away for a week to relax and refresh, then return to begin diving deeper into draft prep and roster construction models. The next big event is the annual NBA Draft Combine in Chicago May 15-21.
Below are five notable quotes from Pritchard’s press conference, along with my analysis.
1. Defense Required For Another Jump
Quote: “If we can get our defense to the middle of the pack, with our offense, we’re going to to be a good team.”
Takeaway: We all see it, but it’s good to hear that they plan to address their defensive shortcomings. It was poor most of the season and grew to being embarrassing over the final few months. Opposing teams had layup lines to the basket.
Opponent points the paint the last 10 games (starting with the final game): 74, 56, 68, 68, 72, 86, 48, 76, 48, 52.
Post All-Star break, they yielded a league worst 125.8 points per game on 50.5% shooting for a defensive rating of 122.4, which ranked 30th.
For the entire season, they finished 26th in defensive rating (117.1), 29th in opponent second chance points, 30th in defensive rebound % (68.5).
Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith were solid defenders and we know exactly what Myles Turner does. But every single player can elevate their game on that end. And it’s nothing new, but it starts with each individual handling their assigning — which is often referred to as guarding their yard.