Last Updated: Oct. 3 at 6:30 PM
Believe it or not, the 2016-17 Pacers season is upon us. After one week of training camp, the revamped Pacers will head to New Orleans on Tuesday night for their first preseason game.
Tuesday's exhibition opener will be Pacers fans' first glimpse of new head coach Nate McMillan in action. McMillan replaces Frank Vogel, who is now the head coach of the Orlando Magic, and brings a wealth of experience as both a player and coach in the NBA. Having served as associate head coach of the Pacers for the past three seasons under Vogel, he also has a healthy rapport with the returning members of the roster. Judging from his early remarks in training camp, McMillan has high expectations for this season and won't hold back from pushing his players to get where he wants them to go.
Tuesday's game will also mark the debut of several new additions to the Indiana roster. Former Pike High School star Jeff Teague is the new starter at point guard. The 2015 All-Star was acquired from Atlanta in a three-team trade that also saw the Pacers send George Hill to the Utah Jazz. The Pacers picked up another starter via trade when they acquired versatile power forward Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for the 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Blue-and-Gold drafted Georges Niang out of Iowa State with their second-round pick and signed several more capable veterans in free agency, including Aaron Brooks, Al Jefferson, and Kevin Seraphin.
McMillan has already confirmed his planned starting lineup when the team opens up the regular season by hosting the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 26: Teague at the point, Monta Ellis at shooting guard, Paul George at small forward, Young at power forward, and Myles Turner at center. That lineup likely won't share the floor on Tuesday night, however, as Turner missed the first week of training camp while going through the NBA's concussion protocol before returning to contact work on Monday. Seraphin will likely start in his place so that McMillan can keep his bench rotation intact.
Tuesday's game should also provide a first look at the Pacers' experienced second unit. The additions of Brooks (questionable with a minor hip injury) and Jefferson give the Pacers a seasoned backup at all five positions. Those two players plus Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles, and Lavoy Allen have started a combined 1,485 games over 45 cumulative NBA seasons.
The Pelicans opened their exhibition slate on Saturday with a 116-102 win over Dallas in Bossier City, La. One of their biggest offseason acquisitions was signing Solomon Hill, who spent his first three NBA seasons in Indiana. Hill started for the Pelicans on Saturday at small forward. Also in the starting lineup for New Orleans was three-time All-Star Anthony Davis, whose 2015-16 season ended early due to injuries to his left knee and shoulder.
Pacers: PG - Jeff Teague, SG - Monta Ellis, SF - Paul George, PF - Thaddeus Young, C - Kevin Seraphin
Pelicans: PG - Langston Galloway, SG - E'Twaun Moore, SF - Solomon Hill, PF - Anthony Davis, C - Alexis Ajinca
Pacers: Aaron Brooks - questionable (left hip flexor strain), Rakeem Christmas - questionable (sore right knee), Myles Turner - out (concussion protocol), Jeremy Evans - out (right shoulder rehabilitation)
Pelicans: Tyreke Evans - out (right knee), Jrue Holiday - out (personal reasons), Quincy Pondexter - out (left knee)
March 24, 2016: Myles Turner recorded his third career double-double on his 20th birthday, leading the Pacers to a 92-84 win over the Pelicans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With his parents watching from the stands, Turner scored 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting, blocked three shots, and collected a career-high 16 rebounds in the victory.
C.J. Miles finished the night as Indiana's second-leading scorer, collecting 19 points while going 7-for-14 from the field and 3-for-8 from 3-point range. George finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in just under 20 minutes of action.
The injury-ravaged Pelicans played with just eight healthy players and were missing their top six scorers. Alexis Ajinca led New Orleans with 22 points and nine rebounds. Tim Frazier chipped in 18 points, five rebounds, and five assists off the bench.
- The Pacers are 21-11 all-time against the Pelicans and have swept the regular season series with New Orleans for five straight seasons.
- In 12 previous seasons as a head coach in Seattle and Portland, McMillan compiled a career record of 478-452.
- In addition to Hill, the Pelicans' training camp roster includes former Pacers wing Lance Stephenson. Former Pacers forward Chris Copeland was also in camp with New Orleans before being waved on Monday afternoon.
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