The offseason news is gradually dying down, and the Indiana Pacers are looking forward to what should be a promising season.
Not much has happened since the last update. Newly acquired forward Chris Copeland underwent knee surgery to clear out some loose crap, and will be out 6-8 weeks. He is expected to be ready by training camp. Good move to get this stuff out of the way early, though it might affect Copeland's conditioning early in the season.
The other news is that the Pacers have signed former NBA journeyman Popeye Jones as an assistant coach, completing Frank Vogel's coaching staff (the others being new associate head coach Nate McMillan and returning long-timer Dan Burke).
Popeye spent the last 3 seasons as an assistant in New Jersey/Brooklyn. He holds the Mavs franchise record for rebounds in a single game — 28 — recorded against the Pacers during the 95-96 season.
Meanwhile, the 2013-14 NBA season schedule is out. Check out the Pacers' complete schedule here.
- Pacers kick off their 2013-14 campaign against the Orlando Magic at home on opening night, Oct. 29. They then go on the road for a back-to-back against the New Orleans Pelicans. This hopefully means the Pacers will be 2-0 in October.
- November is a slightly home-heavy part of the schedule, with the main test coming between the 16th and 22nd, when they will suit up for 3 road games against the Bulls (with Derrick Rose), the Knicks and the Celtics (who are rebuilding).
- December starts off with a bang, with a brutal 5-game west coast road trip against the Clippers, Blazers, Jazz, Spurs and Thunder. We'll have a pretty good idea just how good this Pacers team is by the end of this trip.
- December also features 2 games against the defending champs. The Pacers will play the Heat in Indiana on the 10th then down at South Beach on the 18th.
- January ends with another tough 5-game road trip, though the opponents are not quite as brutal: Warriors, Suns, Kings, Nuggets, Lakers.
- February is probably the easiest month for the Pacers with just 4 road games against 8 home games. The Pacers also play Orlando twice, Milwalkee twice and Atlanta twice.
- March is tough. 11 road games vs 7 home games.
- The Pacers will finish their season the way it started, against Orlando, this time in Florida. Their third last game will be against the Heat, and second last game against OKC, so it will be a time for the Pacers to sharpen their focus heading into the postseason. Hopefully by then both those teams will be resting wounded soldiers.
So there you have it. The longest road trip of the season for the Pacers is 5 games (twice). They have 20 back-to-backs, and 3 occasions where they must play 4 games in 5 nights.
Is it October yet?