Last season the Pacers averaged 102.2 points per game, about the middle of the NBA pack. They played at a just above average pace.
Larry Bird wanted his team to play faster and score more — and he made moves this summer to make sure that happens. Gone is Frank Vogel; in is Nate McMillan (whose team’s in the past were not particularly fast, but it’s a change). In are Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson, to go with Paul George, Monta Ellis, and the improving Myles Turner.
Bird was clear in laying out his goals for this team, speaking with Reggie Miller (who was filling in as host for the Dan Patrick Show while Patrick
vacations on the beach works in Rio during the Olympics (via Pacers.com).
“We want a style where we can score,” Bird said. “I’d like to score 105 points a game or maybe 106, but still defend the way we have.
“Nate’s got over 900 games that he’s coached in the NBA and he’s got a style…I think he’s going to do an excellent job for us.”
There may be a few bumps early as they figure things out, but I have the Pacers as the fourth best team in the East, and one that could come together and get to the conference finals in the playoffs if things break the right way. With Turner’s growth, the Pacers should score more, Bird will get his wish. But they will go as far as their defense will take them.