The Pacers‘ G League affiliate played an important role in preparing Victor Oladipo for his expected season debut, writes Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo has made eight trips to Fort Wayne over the past two months to practice with the Mad Ants as he comes back from a ruptured right quad tendon. With the Pacers on a road trip, the G League team visited their practice facility this week to work with Oladipo.
“Anytime that an All-Star like Vic wants to play and practice with your guys, you’re going to let him,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “Our Mad Ant guys are going to be watching him, and they’re going to look at every move that he does. Vic has been talking to a lot of our guys and trying to help them and give them pointers, both offensively and defensively and off the court. It’s been great for our guys just as much as Vic needs it.”
Gansey has been in frequent contact with Pacers coach Nate McMillan, providing updates on Oladipo’s progress. The latest step has been getting him used to traps as he brings the ball up court.
“This was the best I’ve seen Vic since we’ve had him in practice,” Gansey said of the time in Indianapolis. “We had three straight days where you just saw a different athleticism out there that you can really tell that he’s coming back here pretty soon and really pushing himself.”
There’s more Pacers news to pass along:
- Jeremy Lamb has been starting in Oladipo’s place, but McMillan won’t hesitate to pull him on a bad shooting night, observers J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Lamb, who has been mired in a shooting slump, sat out the entire fourth quarter of a comeback win in Denver this week. “I went scoreless. That hasn’t happened in a while,” Lamb said. “It still feels the same, score or not score. When you lose, you got to figure out how to just find ways to get better. Last game I had zero points but we won. It’s a lot easier to deal with that.”
- T.J. McConnell has taken over the starting point guard duties while Malcolm Brogdon is sidelined with a concussion, Michael notes in a separate story. The former Sixer has been a valuable addition for Indiana after signing a two-year deal over the summer. Only the first season is guaranteed, but Michael states that the second one is considered a lock to be picked up.
- In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard and general manager Chad Buchanan talk about what they look for in a player, the challenges that face a small-market team and the difficulty of trading Paul George in 2017. “We really thought that there was going to be 29 teams throwing the kitchen sink at us,” Pritchard said. “But at the end of the day, the number of teams that were after Paul was very small. I think there were just two offers that were real offers.”