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Pacers test revamped roster as they open preseason play

The new-look Pacers will open up preseason play tomorrow, and Nate McMillan is eager to see his new roster in competition.

“We need a game,” the second-year Indiana head coach said. “So it’ll be fun to see the guys out there against somebody in a different jersey.”

In the time they’ve had in training camp, the Pacers are encouraged with the direction of the team, which includes nine new players on the roster.

“We’ve done a pretty stand out job these past couple of days, just being a new unit and just establishing that chemistry,” Myles Turner said. “It hasn’t taken us long you know it’s different going against other guys.”

With Glenn Robinson III suffering a high ankle sprain that will keep him out approximately eight weeks, these next four preseason games become crucial for McMillan to fill that void in his rotation.

“Well Damien (Wilkins) will slide in and play that position, and Lance(Stephenson) will see some time at that position, T.J. (Leaf) may see some minutes at the small forward position,” McMillan explained. “This is what preseason is all about.”

Another point of emphasis for the revamped blue and gold leading up to the regular season is testing the team’s fitness and quickness.

“Coach wants us to be in, as he calls it, ‘Olympic level shape,’” Turner said, who in his third year in the league has become the face of the Indiana franchise. “We have a young team, so he wants us to be able to run teams out of the gym. It’s a possible feat, and I think we can do it.”

The pacers will play three straight preseason games on the road, starting Wednesday night in Milwaukee. They’ll then play in Cleveland on Friday, then at Detroit on Monday. Their lone home preseason game will be Tuesday, October 10 against the Israeli national team.