Summer Pacers will have different look, same game plan for final three games in Las Vegas
Jackson, Mathurin and Nembhard are done playing. So more will be demanded of their first-round picks and other rookies. Game 3 is Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
LAS VEGAS — The music is blasting inside Lied Gymnasium, the south gym at the Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex on the campus of UNLV. The Summer Pacers wrapped up practice Tuesday around 2:30 p.m., then stayed around for another half hour for players to shoot or get individual work in with a coach.
These Pacers are 2-0 at the Las Vegas Summer League with three games remaining. However, they won’t have a stacked-filled lineup as they did in Games 1 and 2. Their starting five will all be on the roster next season and eight of the 14 players at summer league are on the 18-man roster (when including two-way contracts).
That’s more than any other team out here.
Isaiah Jackson, Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard have been shutdown after two games, which was the plan all along. Those three are competitive, never turn down a game and appreciated the additional game reps during the offseason.
“Very thankful for those guys participating,” said Jannero Pargo, who is serving as a head coach at any level for the first time. “I think some of it was me being the head coach so I’m very appreciative of that.”
Player averages for the two games:
Mathurin: 22 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists
Nembhard: 17.5 points, 3 rebounds and 7.5 assists
Jackson: 17 points and 12.5 rebounds per game
They are also veterans of the event so they were comfortable with the game setting and familiar with both one another and the Pacers’ system. The next step was asking them to speak up and lead the rookies.
“The other day I saw Isaiah explaining to Oscar (Tshiebwe) how we set screens and roll and get out quick,” Pargo said. “A year ago, we were explaining it to him so it’s been fun to watch his leadership and watch him grow.”
Added Mathurin: “I’m trying to play as much as I can and trying to help my teammates as well. I feel like it benefits me as well as it benefits them. I’m trying to help them and I’m trying to become more of a leader. But also, I’m trying to have fun and I’m trying to get better as a player and take every opportunity possible.
“I think rookie is just a word. I consider myself a vet. I’ve been a vet. I’m excited to have rookies this year and trying to make them do rookie duties.”
Mathurin hated rookies duties and admittedly slacked as much as he could get away with because he is all about basketball, not doing tedious tasks like picking up Chipotle and Long’s for the plane ride — which serve a purpose.