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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s the biggest area of concern for the Pacers this season.
“The No. 1 emphasis this year is to be a better rebounding team,” head coach Nate McMillan says.
McMillan certainly didn’t love seeing his team ranked in the bottom third of the NBA in rebounding the basketball last season.
“There were games where we felt we weren’t physical enough. I said it all last year,” McMillan said again leading into this season.
One thing McMillan doesn’t want to do is pinpoint the rebounding issue all on the shoulders of the team’s big men.
Yes, the Pacers need more out of Myles Turner on the defensive end of the floor.
Turner knows that and the Pacers know that.
But McMillan points to much more of a team concept when it comes to controlling the glass.
“It starts with the team,” McMillan says. “I’m not putting it on the bigs. Our bigs knows that we have to do a better job of rebounding, but our guards have to do a better job of helping on the boards.”
The addition of Tyreke Evans should help the second unit maintain some rebounding from the guard position.
Lance Stephenson averaged 5.2 rebounds per game in 22.6 minutes last season. Evans was at a 5.1 rebound clip, while logging a tad over 30 minutes per game.
Besides Evans, the Pacers will need some more rebounding from their wing combination of Bojan Bogdanovic and Doug McDermott.
Even in the frontcourt, Turner has to give them more of a rebounding mindset. Domantas Sabonis (7.7 rebounds per game) was actually a better rebounder than Turner (6.4 rebounds per game), despite logging fewer minutes.
Turner knows, by nature of the position and his height, more of that rebounding burden falls on his shoulders.
Offensively, Turner might not be as much a ‘hit the glass type of guy,’ given his ability to shoot the basketball.
But that has to change at the other end of the floor.
“The defensive end of the ball,” Turner says, “is one area where I think I need to improve, where I need to continue to improve.”
And the Pacers, as a team, need to do that, too.