After an abbreviated offseason, the Indiana Pacers will kick off their preseason schedule Saturday in Cleveland, with the regular season beginning about a week and a half later. The team will return with a new coach, Nate Bjorkgren, and General Manager Chad Buchanan says Bjorkgren brings energy to the table. “His belief in how he coaches and what he does, what he emphasizes, how he deals with players, I think the positive tone to that will really resonate with this group.”
Buchanan previewed the upcoming season in an interview with Inside INdiana Sports Host Bill Benner. He says Bjorkgren’s outside-the-box thinking and creativity will bring more to the team.
“That’s what was something that we prioritized when we went through the interview process was finding a coach that was willing to do things a little differently and willing to try playing different guys in different positions and defend a little differently,” said Buchanan. “I think our players will take a little time getting adjusted to that.”
Almost all of the Pacers players are returning for the 2020-2021 season. Victor Oladipo recently said he is committed to staying in Indianapolis and Domantas Sabonis returns after missing the playoffs due to injury.
“Both those guys are, you know, core players to this team,” said Buchanan. “Victor was never really completely healthy last year. And then Domantas, I would say not having him in the bubble…our team really responded well in the seeding games and then we struggled in the playoffs without him. We didn’t make a lot of changes to the roster…but ultimately decided that this group has had a lot of success last year. Nate was very adamant about wanting to keep this team together. He wanted to coach this group.”
The Pacers will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday and Monday in Cleveland before returning to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pacers’ regular season schedule will begin December 23 against the New York Knicks in Indy.