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Larry Bird believes Pacers’ new additions make roster competitive for Eastern Conference title

larry bird
Darron Cummings/AP

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is looking to build a competitive team that can challenge for the Eastern Conference title. The team recently introduced three new additions, Thaddeus Young, Al Jefferson and Jeremy Evans, as part of Bird’s plan.

Their vision is to inject a faster, more up-tempo style of play. Adding depth at key positions will be vital to this end. In a release from the Associated Press, head coach Nate McMillan said of the team Indiana has assembled:

“I think this roster allows us to, with the versatility that we have, it allows us to play the tempo we want to play… I think we can match up with any style of play, big or small.”

Adding mature rotational players to the Pacers squad will support the franchise around all-star Paul George and new acquisition Jeff Teague, who will be introduced with his new squad on Monday.

Young, who was acquired in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, told reporters he’s excited to be an addition to a solid Pacers foundation.

“I’ve always been the guy that doesn’t need the ball to score, I just find ways to do it and I want to continue to do that.”

Veteran Jefferson also commented on his role with the team:

“I’m just really trying to come in and play my role and get deeper into the playoffs.”

Evans said that he is just looking forward to contributing to McMillan’s team:

“For me, I just want to come in, be an energy guy, come in and compete in practice, work hard and be an example out there on the court and keep hustling and playing tough.”

For Bird, this roster is enough to fight for a chance at the NBA Finals:

“We feel that we added some players that we think are going to help us contend for the East.”

The Pacers will certainly be a stronger outfit next year, but it may be a bit of a stretch that they will be able to compete with the current champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

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