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Pacers find road bumps, successes to new offensive focus

Ryan Palencer – WYRZ.org

It is dangerous to read too much into preseason successes and failures, particularly with a team featuring a new coaching staff and philosophy.

For the Pacers, with new head coach Nate Bjorkgren, much of the focus has admittedly been on defense and schemes so far in training camp. This was apparent in the two preseason games over the weekend in Cleveland.

However, something else was visible as well. The Pacers are going to shoot, and shoot some more. In the two games, the team attempted 84 3-point shot attempts. In those, they shot 38 percent from beyond the arc. With basically the same roster back, this is up from an average of just over 28 attempts per game last season and a 36 percent shooting clip.

There were only eight games last season where the Pacers attempted more than 35 3-point attempts. Two of those were against the Toronto Raptors, which featured Bjorkgren on the bench as an assistant. Only one time did Indiana have two straight games of 40 shots from beyond the arc.

The overall shot attempts per game were quite similar from the preseason showings as they were from last season. In the pair of contests in Cleveland, Indiana shot 43-for-87 from inside the arc, for 49.4 percent.

That is actually slightly higher than last season, and missing multiple starters in each of the games. This was all done without T.J. Warren, who missed both games with plantar fasciitis. Warren led the major contributors on the team by shooting 57.5 percent in twos. Warren also nailed 40 percent of his threes, including an uptick in the Bubble.

Simply put, expect more 3-point attempts and more scoring from the Pacers. While the sample size from the two preseason games is small, it is fairly simple to compare what to expect, since the roster is vastly the same.

On the flip side, the team was trying to play faster and looked like a group that had admittedly not put much focus on offense yet. In the first game, Indiana had 24 turnovers, with 19 coming from the starters.

There were countless sloppy passes, that just appeared to forced. It looked like exactly what should be expected in growing pains — a group trying to adapt to a new style. This was reduced to 12 in the second game, and conversely they attempted many more shots, which is the ultimate goal of increased pace.

To reiterate again, two preseason games are way to early to jump to any conclusions. The main takeaway is that Bjorkgren stated in his media sessions to expect a higher pace and more 3-point attempts. This is exactly what played out in those two contests, and should be expected to continue. However, also expect some of those growing pains along the way.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 FM WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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