Indianapolis, Indiana — The Indiana Pacers media day was eventful and filled with high expectations. Right out the gate, Victor Oladipo joked around with the media. Oladipo started media day off by saying, “Please no iPhone photos,” while laughing. Despite losing their all-star player Paul George, the Pacers team was in high spirits and optimistic on media day.
Paul George Dilemma
No George equals more playing time and can optimize everybody’s full potential, according to Thaddeus Young.
“Definitely can’t be the same as I was last year, I took a step back, everybody will be able to contribute and distribute the ball more.”
Al Jefferson and Young didn’t hear from George after the trade.
Even without George, Indiana’s goals remain the same and that’s making the playoffs. Without having an all-star on the team is going to be a hard task, but head coach Nate McMillan believes that they can win a lot of ball games.
“Our goal is to win, making the playoffs and winning the division. For us, we have a lot of change and our roster, but we will give ourselves the best chance to win.”
Indiana will rely heavily on the 21-year-old Myles Turner this season. Coming off his best season, Turner averaged 14.5 points on 51 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. Turner will be the new leader on the team. Turner is accepting his role as the leader and does not feel the pressure.
“I don’t really feel pressure, I’m looking forward to the leadership role.”
ESPN BPI projected the Pacers to only win 33 games this year. While everybody is counting out the Pacers this year, they feel like it’s an advantage. Lance Stephenson said people doubted his whole life, so why not continue to thrive.
Pacers Starting Lineup
Coach McMillan didn’t want to reveal his starting lineup, but he did say that Turner will be the starting center, Oladipo will start at shooting guard, and Young will be at the power forward position. McMillan will have Cory Joseph and Darren Collinson battling it out for the point guard position. McMillan expects his players to play for minutes this season.
Stephenson Offseason Work
Even though Stephenson sparked the club in the second half of the season, his role will be the sixth man according to McMillan. How does he feel about being the sixth man? Stephenson is embracing his role as the sixth man.
“I love it, I’m going to embrace it and come off the bench with that energy.”
During the offseason, Stephenson worked heavily on his defense and becoming a consistent three-point shooter. Last season, Stephenson shot 40.9 percent from the field.
The good news for the Pacers is Young says his wrist is back at 100 percent after spending the summer in rehab. Young said he worked all offseason on his jump shot to reach his full potential.
The newcomer, Domantas Sabonis, had a lot to say about leaving OKC. Sabonis said he was in shock and was looking forward to playing the next season in Oklahoma.
The team is in high hopes that Oladipo will help Turner lead the Pacers to the playoffs. Stephenson and Thad said Oladipo will be in the all-star game this season.
As expected, questions about Donald Trump and the Golden State Warriors started firing at players, but they didn’t care about that situation. This young team is focusing on winning basketball games and didn’t want to get in the middle of it.
All the Pacers want to do this season is win ball games and not to be underrated.
[Featured Image by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]