Here are some tidbits from the first day of practice:
–The starters picked up where they left off last season. It was like they played Game 6 against Miami two days ago. That’s how well they clicked together on the court. And before you say Miami beat the Pacers in that game, just know the Pacers outscored the Heat by 58 in the series when they had all five starters on the court together.
–Lance Stephenson definitely worked on his jump shot during the offseason. He’s shooting it with a lot more confidence instead of pounding the ball into the ground trying to beat his man off the dribble.
–George Hill is looking to assert himself even more on offense. He made sure everybody was involved in the offense, but he also picked his spots to be aggressive.
–Gerald Green is more than a leaper. He’s got a nice looking jump shot. Expect him to be the focal point of the offense with the second unit.
–Speaking of the second unit, D.J. Augustin will make sure the offense runs smooth in the second unit. He was thinking pass first when they scrimmaged in the halfcourt. Augustin started 142 of the 282 games he played with the Charlotte Bobcats.
–I’d be shocked if Sam Young didn’t make the roster. Coach Frank Vogel put Young with the starters when they shut Danny Granger down for the final hour or so of practice to rest his left knee. The main reason Vogel put Young with the starters is because he wants the second unit – Augustin, Green, Lance Stephenson, Tyler Hansbrough and Ian Mahinmi – to play together as much as possible. Still, the Pacers like Young’s toughness.
–Pacers PR ace David Benner made sure to point out that he didn’t see Blake Ahearn miss a shot during a workout last week. It’s not often that I agree with my guy Benner, who I must say is one of the best in the league at his job, but he was right. I only saw Ahearn miss two shots during the morning and evening practice sessions. He’s competing with Sundiata Gaines to be the third point guard on the roster.
–Vogel did a lot of talk about “what playoff teams” do when they were going through different drills. Tuesday was just the start. He’ll remind his team that throughout the entire season.
–The Pacers will practice twice Wednesday, once Thursday, twice Friday and likely only once Saturday.