Indiana Pacers Player News: All Positions

News: Hicks signed a contract with the Pacers on Thursday, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Hicks has been with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for the last four season, and it appears as though he is going to make it a fifth. Expect Hicks to be waived in the coming days before joining the G League affiliate for another season.
News: McConnell managed 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-2 FT), eight assists, three rebounds, two steals, and one block in 20 minutes during Tuesday's 119-111 loss to the Timberwolves.
Impact: McConnell has proven himself to be a scrappy backup point guard who can create for himself and others, albeit with limited shooting range. He's likely battling with Aaron Holiday for the backup role behind Malcolm Brogdon, though either way McConnell shouldn't be expected to hold value outside of the deepest leagues.
News: Holiday had nine points (3-12 FG, 1-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT) and four assists in 17 minutes during Tuesday's 119-111 loss to the Timberwolves.
Impact: Holiday missed last Friday's preseason matchup due to an illness but was healthy enough to give it a go in this one. Holiday is a better perimeter shooter than fellow backup point guard T.J. McConnell, but the latter outplayed the former in this one, posting 10 points, eight dimes, three boards, two steals, and one block in 20 minutes. As such, it's worth keeping an eye on who wins the primary backup gig behind Malcolm Brogdon.
News: Sumner pitched in 11 points (5-13 FG, 1-3 3Pt), four assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one block in 26 minutes during Tuesday's 119-111 loss to the Timberwolves.
Impact: Sumner missed Monday's practice with an illness but wasn't on the injury report heading into this one. He's an inefficient offensive player, but Sumner boasts the size and ability to defend multiple positions, which figures to help him earn minutes here and there.
News: Bitadze totaled 14 points (6-9 FG, 2-3 3Pt), four rebounds, two assists, and one block in 24 minutes during Tuesday's 119-111 loss to the Timberwolves.
Impact: Bitadze showed off his shooting range in his first NBA appearance. However, he also finished with six turnovers and four fouls. Starting big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis each saw 17 minutes in this one, so Bitadze likely shouldn't be expected to see such a substantial load of playing time once the regular season starts.
News: Sumner is not on the injury report for Tuesday's game against Minnesota.
Impact: Sumner missed practice Monday with an illness, but he's apparently feeling better Tuesday and should be back to availability in the team's exhibition finale.
News: Bitadze is not on the injury report ahead of Tuesday's game against Minnesota.
Impact: Bitadze was considered probable coming in due to an ankle injury, but all signs now point to the rookie big man suiting up for the exhibition finale. It'll be the NBA debut for Bitadze, who was the 18th overall pick in June's draft.
News: Holiday is expected to play Tuesday against Minnesota.
Impact: Holiday was held out of Friday's game with an illness, but he's not listed on Tuesday's injury report, so all signs point to the backup guard returning to the mix for the Pacers' preseason finale.
News: Sumner didn't practice Monday due to an illness, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: It appears as though Sumner has come down with the bug, putting an appearance in Tuesday's preseason contest in jeopardy. It's reported that Sumner is expected to be held out of the matchup against Minnesota.
News: Bitadze (ankle) is considered probable for Tuesday's preseason game against the Timberwolves, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: Bitadze has a good shot at making his preseason debut Tuesday against Minnesota. The rookie center, who's struggled through a right ankle sprain thus far this preseason, was able to practice in full Monday and will play Tuesday as long as his ankle feels ok.
News: McDermott compiled 14 points (5-12 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 1-2 FT), and two rebounds in 16 minutes during Friday's 105-87 preseason victory over the Bulls.
Impact: McDermott took advantage of an understrength opponent, comming away with 14 points in 16 minutes. This is certainly not going to be the norm for McDermott who is unlikely to feature heavily in the Pacers rotation. Even when he is on the floor he really only contributes in two categories making him hard to roster, even in deeper formats.
News: Sabonis had eight points (3-12 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 2-5 FT), 14 rebounds, three assists, and one block in 31 minutes during Friday's 105-87 preseason victory over Chicago.
Impact: Sabonis played a team-high 31 minutes Friday, coming away with a solid enough line. The 14 rebounds were nice and any defensive numbers are always a bonus. His efficiency was far from ideal and the scoring as a whole could be somewhat of a negative this season. Although he is moving from the bench into the starting lineup, that is likely to result in him moving down the pecking order on the offensive end. He remains a standard league player, however, he may fail to live up to the hype.
News: Warren totaled 17 points (6-12 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-5 FT), one rebound, one assist, and one block in 28 minutes during Friday's 105-87 preseason victory over the Bulls.
Impact: Warren led the Pacers in scoring Friday, dropping 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. This could be the tale of the tape for Warren who is set to be the starting small forward come opening night. He should be a decent source of points but typically fails to produce in the other areas. His perimeter scoring took a giant leap last season and the hope is that trend will continue. He is fine to roster in standard formats as long as you don't have to spend a mid-round pick on him.
News: Turner finished with 13 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 1-1 FT), seven rebounds, five blocks, three assists, and two steals in 28 minutes during Friday's 105-87 preseason victory over the Bulls.
Impact: Turner put up a stellar line Friday, contributing across the board in the Pacers comfortable victory. He has been putting together a nice preseason and appears set for a strong season. His shot-blocking, in particular, has been fantastic, blocking five shots in two of the three games thus far. He is a good chance to lead the league in blocks this season with Mitchell Robinson attempting to curb his fouls. Turner is going in the second round of many drafts with his only real flaw being his lack of rebounding numbers from the center position.
News: Holiday (illness) has been ruled out for Friday's preseason game against the Bulls.
Impact: Holiday came down with the illness on Thursday and hasn't taken the practice floor since, and it looks like the point guard still isn't over it. T.J. McConnell and Edmond Sumner should be in line for additional minutes in the backcourt in Holiday's absence.
News: Lemon signed a contract with the Pacers on Thursday, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Lemon found a new home with the Pacers after being waived by the Bulls in July. The 27-year-old guard split time between the Maine Red Claws and the Windy City Bulls last season, averaging 20.9 points, 8.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 43 games.
News: The Pacers exercised Holiday's (illness) third-year option Thursday, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: Holiday will remain with the Pacers through the 2020-21 season following this move. The 2018 first-round pick appeared in 50 games last season, averaging 5.9 points, 1.7 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes. Holiday's availability for Friday's preseason game against the Bulls is up in the air due to an illness.
News: The Pacers exercised the fourth-year option on Leaf's (quadriceps) rookie contract Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.
Impact: The transaction keeps Leaf in the fold through the 2020-21 season, with the 22-year-old forward set to earn $4.33 million in the final year of his rookie deal. Through his first two seasons in the NBA, Leaf hasn't been a prominent member of the Indiana rotation. In 111 games, Leaf has averaged 3.4 points and 1.9 rebounds in 8.8 minutes.
News: Holiday (illness) did not practice Thursday, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: The severity of the illness is not yet known, leaving Holiday's status for Friday's preseason game against the Bulls up in the air.
News: Oladipo (knee) was observed going through agility drills at Tuesday's practice, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports.
Impact: While Oladipo is yet to be cleared for scrimmages or full contact, he appeared to be moving well as he worked off to the side Tuesday. In the video provided by Agness, Oladipo was going through the drills at half-speed with a large black brace on his right knee. The Pacers have kept things close to the vest as far as Oladipo's return timetable, but he'll miss the entire month of October, and the prevailing belief is that he will likely remain sidelined through most, if not all, of November, as well.
News: Leaf (quadriceps) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: Leaf missed both of his team's preseason games in India due to a right quad strain, but after returning to practice Tuesday, he appears on track to play in Friday's exhibition against the Bulls. He'll be considered a game-time call for the time being.
News: Bitadze (ankle) was unable to practice Tuesday and won't play in Friday's preseason game against the Bulls, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star reports.
Impact: Mitadze continues to battle a right ankle sprain, and he'll miss his squad's third preseason matchup as a result. Indiana's next preseason matchup is slated for Oct. 15, and an update on Mitadze's status should come before that time.
News: Turner amassed 12 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), five blocks, three rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes during Saturday's preseason win over Sacramento.
Impact: Turner made his impact felt in the paint, recording five blocks in just 18 minutes of run Saturday. The defensive-player-of-the-year candidate supplemented his usually strong defense with a strong offensive showing, making 2-of-3 from behind the arc and 4-of-6 shots overall. Despite a weak first month of the season last year, Turner had a productive season, averaging 13.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.6 assists in 28.6 minutes per game.
News: Holiday recorded 14 points (4-5 FG, 3-3 3Pt, 3-3 FT), five rebounds, an assist and a steal in 19 minutes Saturday against the Kings.
Impact: Holiday missed just one of his eight total shots Saturday, providing value across the board in his Pacers debut. The veteran, who averaged 10.5 points, 3.9 rebound and 1.5 steals in 31.8 minutes per game last year, signed with Indiana in the offseason and figures to provide rotational depth for the team, though a role could be hard to cultivate as the Pacers' have many good options on the perimeter.
News: Holiday finished with 16 points (5-9 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 4-4 FT), three rebounds, three assists and a block in 19 minutes during Saturday's preseason win over the Kings.
Impact: Holiday had a solid debut, producing across the board and shooting well from all levels. The 22-year-old point guard figures to see an increase in activity from his rookie year, with Victor Oladipo (knee) out for the foreseeable future. That said, with T.J. McConnell, Malcolm Brogdon and Jeremy Lamb joining Indiana in the offseason, the extensive backcourt depth could prohibit Holiday from having as extensive a role as he otherwise could.
News: Johnson provided 17 points (6-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 3-3 FT), eight rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes in Saturday's game against the Kings.
Impact: Johnson shot the ball well in his preseason debut, making better than 50-percent of his shots from each level. His only statistical blemish were the four turnovers he committed. The 22-year-old forward will seek to capitalize on a strong rookie year in the G-League, in which he averaged 19.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game, and gain a larger rotational role for the Pacers in 2019-20.
News: Sampson accounted for 15 points (6-10 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT), four rebounds and an assist in 19 minutes during Saturday's win over Sacramento.
Impact: The fifth-year forward had a solid outing Saturday, scoring 15 points and shooting well from all levels of the court. Sampson spent the majority of the 2018-19 season in the G-league but thrived in his December call-up, averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 31.8 minutes across four games for the Bulls. Although he's unlikely to be a fantasy factor this year, Sampson's in the position where a strong preseason could potentially translate itself into a more permanent bench role for in 2019-20.
News: Wilcox (quad) is listed as doubtful for Saturday's second preseason game against the Kings in India.
Impact: Wilcox already missed Friday's game in India and it seems that he'll end up missing the entire two-game set. He'll be eyeing Friday against the Bulls for his next chance to return.
News: Leaf (quad) will remain out for Saturday's second preseason game against the Kings in India.
Impact: The Pacers appear to be playing it safe with Leaf as he recovers from a right quadriceps strain. His next opportunity to play will be Friday against the Bulls.
News: Bitadze (ankle) will remain out for Saturday's second preseason game against the Kings in India.
Impact: Bitadze is dealing with a sprained right ankle and wasn't able to play in Friday's first game of the India back-to-back set either. His next opportunity to play will be Friday against the Bulls.
News: Holiday is expected to serve as the Pacers' backup point guard, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Impact: The Pacers are anticipating that the UCLA product takes a step forward in Year 2 after a mostly quiet rookie campaign. Holiday appeared in only 50 games last season, but he'll take on a larger role early in the year with Victor Oladipo (knee) on the shelf and Darren Collison no longer in the league. Expect T.J. McConnell to begin the season as the No. 3 point guard.
News: Mitrou-Long is dealing with an allergic reaction and will not play in Friday's preseason game against the Kings.
Impact: This is the first mention of an allergic reaction for Mitrou-Long, as it seems he got sick at some point during the team's current trip in India. He'll still have a chance to recover in time for Saturday's rematch, however.
News: Leaf (quad) will not play in Friday's preseason game against the Kings.
Impact: Leaf is currently dealing with a right quadriceps strain and came into the day listed as questionable to play. There's still a chance he could return Saturday for the final leg of their back-to-back games in India.
News: Wilcox (quadriceps) was ruled out for Friday's preseason game against the Kings.
Impact: Wilcox was listed as questionable with a right quad strain but won't play in the preseason opener. The 28-year-old missed the entire 2018-19 season due to an Achilles injury and received a camp invite with the Pacers.
News: Wilcox is questionable for Friday's preseason game against the Kings with a right quad strain, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee reports.
Impact: Wilcox earned a camp invite with the Pacers after missing the entire 2018-19 season with a torn right Achilles. While he's fully recovered from his Achilles injury, a quadriceps issue is threatening his availability for Friday's exhibition contest.
News: Leaf (quad) is considered questionable for Friday's preseason opener against the Kings.
Impact: The game is taking place in India, and Leaf made the trip with the team, which is an encouraging sign. Still, the Pacers won't take any chances in what's ultimately a meaningless two-game set. Expect some clarification on Leaf's status prior to the 9:30AM ET tip.
News: Bitadze will not play in Friday's preseason opener against the Kings due to a sprained right ankle.
Impact: Bitadze will be held out on what's likely a precautionary basis, so his NBA debut will be on hold. It's unclear if he'll have a realistic chance to play in Saturday's rematch in India.
News: Leaf is nursing a quad injury, which kept him out of Monday's practice, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports.
Impact: The nature of the injury is unclear, but Leaf missed Monday morning's session and should be considered day-to-day until further notice. The Pacers will head to India on Tuesday for a pair of exhibition matchups against the Kings over the weekend.
News: Lamb will begin the season as the Pacers' starting shooting guard, Tony East of the West Indianapolis Community News reports.
Impact: With Victor Oladipo (quad) expected to be sidelined until December, Lamb will get the nod at shooting guard. The Pacers inked Lamb to a three-year, $31.5 million deal over the summer, and he'll look to bring a scoring punch to the team. Last season, he was the Hornets' second-leading scorer behind Kemba Walker. Once Oladipo returns, Lamb may be sent to the bench, but he should still see significant run on the wing.
News: Warren will start at small forward this season, Tony East of the West Indianapolis Community News reports.
Impact: As expected, coach Nate McMillan will start the Warren, who was a key offseason acquisition for the Pacers. While Warren has had a tough time staying healthy, he made significant strides as a three-point shooter last year. It remains to be seen if that will stick, but at the very least, Warren should be able to provide a scoring punch for a team that will be without Victor Oladipo (quad) likely until December.
News: Pacers coach Nate McMillan confirmed earlier in the summer that he intends on starting Sabonis at power forward in 2019-20, freelance sports writer Mark Montieth reports.
Impact: Indiana experimented with Sabonis alongside Myles Turner in the frontcourt last season, but typically not for prolonged stretches while Thaddeus Young handled the bulk of the minutes at power forward. With Young having since moved on to Chicago, however, the Pacers seem willing to give the Sabonis-Turner tandem a more extended trial, at least at the beginning of the upcoming campaign. The arrangement could create some spacing issues, but the threat Turner offers behind the arc could allow Sabonis to do most of his damage in the low post, just as he did in 2018-19 as a backup center. If that ends up being the case, Sabonis may not be in line for a dramatic reduction in the career-best 59 percent mark from the field he posted a season ago.
News: Oladipo (knee) resumed one-court work in June but his full recovery timetable remains murky, Scott Agness of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Oladipo returned to Indianapolis last week to host his annual basketball camp, but he didn't offer much in terms of details on his rehab from a torn quad tendon. The former All-Star returned to basketball activities earlier in the summer, but he's been limited to one-on-zero drills and is yet to progress to game action. "I'm getting there," Oladipo told Agness. "I'm working my way there. You can't rush these things, you just got to take your time. At the end of the day, Rome wasn't built in one day." Even with Oladipo playing things close to the vest, the overarching expectation dating back to earlier in the summer is that he'll be ready to return sometime in December or January. Once Oladipo is back -- whenever that may be -- Pacers executive Kevin Pritchard hinted that the team may handle his workload with caution. "We're going to take a slow, methodical, correct approach, and if that means holding him back and he gets a little mad at me, then I'm going to do it," Pritchard said in late June. "That's just the way it's going to be. And him and I have had literally 50 talks about that and he's fully on board. He knows how much he means and this is a long-term plan."
News: Mitrou-Long signed a two-way contract with the Pacers on Wednesday.
Impact: Undrafted out of Iowa State in 2017, Mitrou-Long has appeared in 15 NBA games for the Jazz over the past two seasons. He's spent most of his time in the G League, and the guard averaged 18.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists across 32.6 minutes with the Salt Lake City Stars in 2018-19. He also appeared in seven summer league games with the Jazz in 2019, averaging 16.0 points, 4.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 27.3 minutes. Though the Jazz opted to move on from Mitrou-Long, the Pacers see upside in the 25-year-old and will hope to develop him into a rotation player at the NBA level.
News: Sampson has agreed to a one-year, veteran's minimum deal with the Pacers, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Sampson, who appeared in four games with the Bulls last season, has earned a spot on the Pacers. He spent most of last season in the G League, however, averaging 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 30.2 minutes. Sampson figures to see a similar role in Indiana this season.