Pacers Training Camp: Three Things to Watch


The Indiana Pacers started training camp today, and in combination with yesterday’s media day Scott Stewart provides three things to watch for this week.

Media Day provided good insight about how a few players were feeling as well as head coach Frank Vogel and team president Larry Bird.

-=Related: Media Day Recap – Paul George aims high =-

Now the Pacers head into both today and this week with a fighting mentality as the season “officially” begins with training camp.

1) Myles Turner’s shot

In case you missed it, Larry Bird confirmed yesterday that he believes Myles Turner is the best shooter on the team. That’s saying a lot considering Indy has a some decent shooters including the obvious choice of Paul George.

Turner took the Summer League by storm and was without a doubt one of the best players to come out of any team. He has skill on the ball, range, and isn’t shy to move off the post, which Indiana will love as they tweak their offense going into this week.

The former Texas Longhorn seems to be fitting right in and will seek to not only improve, but impress as we edge closer to the start of the regular season. He’s one of the best personalities on the Pacers and a flourishing talent. Right now, Ian Mahinmi is tipped to start at the center spot, but if Turner continues to progress then Mahinmi might get the bump – only time will tell.

2) Guards, guards, and more guards

George Hill, Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey, Joe Young. All of these players will see the floor more often than their teammates at the forward spots. As the league moves closer to “position-less” basketball, per Vogel’s words yesterday, the Pacers will see their contingency be used and grow in different spots in a continuous quest for the best starting five they can assemble.

Indiana won’t necessarily be “guard heavy” on the roster, with Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Rakeem Christmas and other new Pacers playing a role – it just seems as if their roles will be smaller as Indiana downsizes on their overall lineup.

One player in particular who is looking to continue his impact is the “hometown hero” George Hill. He noted yesterday that his aggressiveness is a key to both his and Indiana’s success this season, and the Pacers will need his statistics from last year to roll over into this campaign as they push for the top.

3) Paul George at Power Forward

Get used to seeing a lot about this because it’s not going away, but one of the obvious parts of training camp that everyone is waiting for – himself included – is Paul George playing a spot up.

George’s accident was one of the worst things that could ever happen to a player especially in those circumstances, but we are over 13 months removed from that.

Bird and Vogel discussed it last May when the season ended, there was plenty of offseason buzz about it, and the talk continued yesterday at Media Day. Bird is very upfront with his thoughts on this – George WILL play at that spot and it doesn’t really matter how he feels about it. Paul George, however, is slightly more nervous about the move and understandably so.

It’ll be a new test for Indiana’s lone All-Star but the injury concerns – though also understandable – seem to be getting blown out of proportion. I get it. George’s accident was one of the worst things that could ever happen to a player especially in those circumstances, but we are over 13 months removed from that. It’s always going to be there, mentally if not physically, but we (as fans) can’t protect him from helping the Pacers in the area they need it most.

Therefore, we have to let PG fly. Should clarify, I’m not on the same page as Bird, though. If it starts to not work and look terrible then it should be abandoned. Don’t grind your best player down to the bone (literally) to make a top three seed in the East and force the offense. It can’t happen. However, Bird and Vogel are adamant about playing this way and, therefore, the Pacers have to give it their best go.

Training camp will continue throughout this week and the Pacers are in action against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, October 3rd at 7:00 pm – Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Next: Paul George 'not thrilled' with new role

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