What was learned from Pacers GM Chad Buchanan ahead of a competitive training camp
A lot is going to be determined on the court over the next month. "Nothing is going to be given to these guys, they’ve got to go out and earn it."
More questions will be answered on Monday as NBA teams, including the Pacers, host reporters for media day. Players are escorted from station to station — more than a dozen in all — for everything from official photos to in-game hype videos, promotional items to the team’s pre-game intro video … and a lot more.
It will also be the first time that head coach Rick Carlisle has spoken since early July at Las Vegas Summer League. And then we’ll hear from the players.
For the past two seasons, the Pacers front office has met with local reporters a week ahead of time to set the table for what’s to come this upcoming season. And last week, it was general manager Chad Buchanan who answered questions for 20 minutes.
I already covered one of the biggest storylines entering camp: the status of veteran guard Buddy Hield and where things stand with him. That will, no doubt, be a subject further discussed on Monday and in the weeks to come.
But there was a lot more ground covered. So let’s start with the final question, which may be most important entering a fresh season: the team’s health status.
“Little bumps and bruises,” Buchanan said, “but we have 18 guys in town right now and they’ve all been playing.”
Much of the roster was in Indy throughout September and some of the veterans joined later. For the second straight year, Andrew Nembhard’s name came up the most in terms of who has taken a big step forward. He’s entering Season 2.
Players Out: Chris Duarte, Oshae Brissett, James Johnson and George Hil
Players In: Bruce Brown, Obi Toppin, rookies Jarace Walker and Ben Sheppard
Coaches Out: Ronald Nored, Calbert Cheaney
Coaches In: Jim Boylen, Isaac Yacob — both promoted from within
Expect a Competitive Training Camp
The Pacers still lack on the wing — a 6-foot-8 two-way player, the most coveted archetype — but everywhere else figures to be a battle.
We’ve all seen what the top two teams in the Eastern Conference have done — Milwaukee and Boston — and know the Pacers aren’t close to that. But they should at least be in the playoff conversation.
Reaching the postseason is the number one goal for the players. Most of this roster has not experienced it, including franchise pillars Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin. Both have repeated how that’s their mission.
The organization, meanwhile, isn’t preaching it. We’ll see … is basically what they’re saying. Last year, the message was to enjoy the season, to enjoy the highs and lows that were expected and that a successful season will be measured in the progress made.
Asked about weighing the postseason goal with the team’s long-term desires, Buchanan emphasized the need to see how things played out in camp. (There was no mention of “playoffs.”)