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NBA India Games 2019: Head coach Nate McMillan believes the Indiana Pacers need to work on rebounding and transition defense

Nate McMillan during Indiana Pacers
Nate McMillan during Indiana Pacers' practice at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai
Modified 01 Apr 2020, 17:29 IST

If you're a fan of basketball in India and not been living under a rock these past few days, you must be well aware of the fact that the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings will be playing two preseason games at the Dome @ NSCI in Mumbai, India, on October 4th and 5th.

Both the teams are already in the country and have undergone a few practice sessions before the NBA India Games 2019. During the media availability session earlier today, Pacers' head coach Nate McMillan was available to answer a few questions. He started off by describing the trip to India and how it has been so far:

"It's been great, we had a nice flight over and last night we had some really good practice, a great meal at the hotel and we're rested and ready to go."

With the two fixtures only being preseason games in nature, it is imperative to expect that the participating teams will take things lightly. McMillan is of a different opinion though:

"No, I think it's going to be an intense game in the sense that both teams, it's their first preseason game. So both teams wanna see where they are and what they need to work upon. We'll be playing most of our guys in these two games, so it'll be an intense game."

Coach McMillan then went on to explain what his team expects to take away from the forthcoming fixtures.

"Tomorrow's again just to see what we are, We've had three days of practice, we've had six practices since we started and of course this will be our first preseason game and you just wanna see where your team is at. We have seven new guys on our roster. We're looking for that chemistry and you build that chemistry with an opportunity to play."

Nate McMillan then elucidated on the importance of both the games as the NBA has shortened the number of preseason games over the years and that teams need to make the best use of every opportunity available to get the chemistry going before the season tips off.

"The NBA in the last couple of years have cut the preseason games so they've become even more important. We used to play about eight preseason games a year and now we're down to four a year and we do not have a lot of opportunities to kinda warm up and allow your guys to play and get rhythm. So all these games are important to take a look at the news guys that you have on your roster as well as some of the young guys that will be playing for minutes and rotation spots."

Coach McMillan is wary of the strengths that his team has displayed over the last few seasons and given the upheaval in the roster, is also aware of aspects that the Pacers need to work upon.

"We've done a good job of being consistent with how we want to defend. We're a lot different than most teams in the NBA. A lot of teams do a lot of switching. In our system, we want to play tough, physical defense where we keep the ball in front. One of the areas where we want to improve a lot is rebounding the basketball. With such a big team, we're much bigger than we were last year, transition defense is going to be really important."

McMillan finally opened up on summer acquisition Malcolm Brogdon and what he will bring to the table, given that Victor Oladipo will be missing a good chunk of the upcoming season.

"He's going to be a leader. Malcolm has been a pleasure to work with in the last few days. We were really happy and excited to get him onboard. For him to be coming to Indiana and playing for us, he will be a guy that will be able to establish our offense and defense how we want to play. Very smart, intelligent guard with a high basketball IQ. He's had some success in this league already and we feel we're getting him at the right time. He's not quite yet in his prime and we feel he's gonna be the guard to lead us into the future."
Published 03 Oct 2019, 19:27 IST
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