1:45 PM PDT, June 4, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - In his situation, it was a second home.
A quartet of appearances in the Big Ten Tournament helped Draymond Green feel quite comfortable as he arrived for his NBA Draft workout with the Pacers Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"It's crazy," said the former Michigan State forward on returning to the Indianpolis venue for a chance to continue his career. "I was walking back there and I was like 'Man, everything back here is familiar.'"
Of course the team that plays regularly in fieldhouse is anything but after a historic season in which they returned to relevancy in the NBA. Their rebuilding project of nearly half a decade saw fruition in 2011-2012 when the had the fifth best record in the league and made it to the second round in the playoffs.
Such an accomplishment didn't get past Green, who caught a few games in nearby East Lansing over the past few months.
"So many young guys, so much room to grow," said Green of the Pacers-and his opinoin was shared by some of the six players who worked out on Monday.
With an average age of 26 the ceiling for Indiana has yet to be reached. Head coach Frank Vogel said in his season-closing news conference that he believes the Pacers will be competitive for an NBA Championship for the next 5-to-7 years.
Having the opportunity to join a squad that is on the rise makes the chance of getting drafted by the team more favorable than it might have been just a few years back.
"Just being able to grow with a team is good," said former Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor when asked the advantages of landing in Indianapolis. "Oklahoma City is a good example of that. This is a program thats going along."
One attribute of the team pointed out by a few of those working out is the way the Pacers play defense. The team finished the season 10th in the NBA in points allowed but it's the players tenacity in the system that left an impression.
"Tough, physical with physical bigs," said former Virginia forward Mike Scott. "The have Danny Granger and physical guards."
Royce White of Iowa State sees more of the old Pacers in this new group of players, comparing this team to the championship-competitive teams of the late 1990's and early 2000s.
"They still play pretty fundamental," said White of the Pacers. "They just played solid. They weren't flashy or anything like that, they just stuck to their game plan and played it out solid."
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