Pacers Notes: Depth, Social Media, McDermott, McConnell

As the Pacers‘ All-NBA guard Victor Oladipo continues to recover from his ruptured quad tendon, coach Nate McMillan has had to turn to his team’s depth to win. And win they have, in resounding fashion: the Pacers are currently 14-8 in the East (and will be playing the Knicks tonight, so… we can go ahead and call it 15-8).

Summer addition Malcolm Brogdon and incumbent big man Domantas Sabonis have been the team’s standout players this season, but they’re not doing it alone.

Swingman Jeremy Lamb, another new summer signing, lauded the Pacers’ unselfish, equal-opportunity play as the reason behind their current resilience. Lamb, T.J. Warren, and Aaron Holiday have all made significant contributions as the Pacers have weathered injuries to Oladipo and Myles Turner (though Turner is healthy now). Their balanced scoring has the Pacers firmly entrenched in the East’s playoff hunt.

“It doesn’t always require a guy having a big night,” Lamb told Nathan Brown of the Indianapolis Star. “I looked up toward the end tonight and saw everyone on the floor had, like, 15 points. When you’ve got a really deep team, going through an 82-game season can be very taxing on your body, and the more able bodies you have is good.”

There’s more out of Indianapolis:

  • Mark Montieth of breaks down the long road to the NBA for Pacers backup point guard T.J. McConnell, who signed a two-year, $7MM deal this past summer. The Pittsburgh native rose from 5’8″ embattled coach’s son his freshman year in Bridgeville (he was once grounded for excess showmanship to his father/head coach Tim), averaging just 10 points for Pennsylvania’s Chartiers Valley High School, to a slash line of 34.2 PPG/8.2 RPG/9.1 APG, first-team all-state honors and being voted the Associated Press’ 3A Player of the Year, all while securing a 29-2 record plus a conference championship in his senior year. For more on McConnell’s path to the league, check out Montieth’s full story.
  • Following a choppy first season in Indiana, Pacers forward Doug McDermott has been settling in much better in year two, according to The Athletic’s Scott AgnessMcDermott, who signed a three-year, $22MM contract with Indiana in 2018, is taking 1.9 more field goals per game than last season, 1.0 more triples a game (and converting at a healthy 43.9%), and staying on the floor for three more minutes a night (20.4 minutes instead of 17.4). McDermott has enjoyed being used more as an offensive weapon for longer stretches this season. “Nate rides the hot hand a little now this year and it’s good to have the trust from him to be able to stay out that long,” McDermott added. “To help change the momentum of the game is something I take a lot of pride in.”
  • Another positive change in the injury-depleted Pacers’ locker room appears to have come about via some addition by subtraction. Scott Agness of The Athletic, in a separate piece, details why two of the three T.J.’s in the Pacers locker room (T.J. Leaf and McConnell) have recently gone relatively dark on social media. Myles Turner recently deactivated his Twitter account and deleted all his photos off his Instagram. Malcolm Brogdon recently deleted his Twitter account and primarily uses his Instagram account for branding, not for personal posts.
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