INDIANAPOLIS — As the Pacers start their 52nd season, head coach Nate McMillan says if the team is to build on last season’s success and make a deep run in the postseason, they have to be better at rebounding.
The Pacers were in the bottom third of the NBA last season in rebounding the basketball.
“There were games where we felt we weren’t physical enough. I said it all last year. Our bigs knows that we have to do a better job of rebounding, but our guards have to do a better job of helping on the boards,” says McMillan.
The team hopes to improve its rebounding with new players including Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’Quinn and rookie Aaron Holiday. They have replaced Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson III, Al Jefferson and Joe Young.
The Pacers surprised many fans by winning 48 games in 2017-18. The expectation before the start of last season was 32 wins.
The Pacers were the 5-seed in the playoffs and took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to a Game 7 before losing in the first round.
Pacers guard and NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo enters his second season in Indiana and has been a leader in the locker room upon his arrival, says Chris DeNari, the Pacers play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Indiana.
“[Oladipo] is the first in the gym for practice. He’s the last to leave. When you’re best player is your best guy and he does those kinds of things, it’s pretty hard for the rest of the group not to follow,” says DeNari.
The Pacers begin their 2018-19 season tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. The tip-off is at 7 p.m. on 107.5 and 1070 The Fan.
Photo: Getty Images / Andy Lyons