NBA: Indiana Pacers excited ahead of India tour

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Mumbai, Sep 28 (IANS) For Indiana Pacers, the American professional basketball team based in Indianapolis in Indiana, the long flight from home to India would be all about team bonding. For their forward Doug McDermott, it will also be about looking forward to trying some delicious food as they get ready to take part in the country’s first ever NBA match against Sacramento Kings here on October 4 and 5.

“We’ve planned some videos and material for the players to participate with on the plane as well which can be a good time to bond because we didn’t want to waste those 15 to 16 hours,” Kevin Pritchard, Indiana Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, said.

“Even coach (Nate McMillian) has asked some people to talk and help them understand who we really are and I am really excited about the flight and we are going to try to make it productive.

“The video will be about helping our players understand who their teammates are as people and what they’re about. If you have a deeper understanding about who is sitting in your locker to your left and right, then you can have a better understanding and create an even stronger bond,” he added.

For both the NBA outfits, the two matches will be pre-season games ahead of the next NBA season tip off.

“I am just looking forward to seeing the whole culture and seeing the big city. You know just being able to see the stuff and trying some good Indian food because even though we get Indian food here, trying the authentic Indian food is something I am really looking forward to,” said McDermott, who is among the best three-point shooters from the rosters of the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings.

“I’ll see if I can get Harrison (Barnes) to sneak out of the Kings so we can go out and explore a little of the city. He has been talking the last few weeks about how we are going to try to make that happen. I am not looking for any dish in particular as I don’t know a lot about it but to the fans over there I am ready to explore and try out some great Indian food.”

Kings’ Barnes was in India earlier this year.

The Pacers have many new players in their ranks including Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and T.J. McConnell.

Asked about Brogdon, Pritchard said: “Malcolm was one of our highest priority signings this off season. As a franchise, we’ve made some notable off season additions over the years.

“We feel very fortunate to have Malcolm on our team. He had a really great season last year too. And if you meet him off the court, you’ll see what a great human being he is. His charity work and giving back to the community is truly impressive but on the court, he did something which very few players have ever done.”

McDermott echoed Pritchard in saying that with a new team on board, such pre-season games in distant land helps immensely in team bonding.

“We have a lot of new players in the team and have had the chance to be around each other a little bit for now over the last few weeks which has been really good. But I think on such long trips you can get to know a lot about the guys and you can get to know a lot about each other.

“I think it will be great for us. We have a great spot lined up for us when we get to India and we’ll be together a lot as a group so I think it’ll be great to get to know each other before we head into the battle of the NBA season.”

–IANS

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