Tuesday's Pacers News: Rookie Georges Niang living up to expectations

Pacers place their faith on defense in Dan Burke: On May 16, Larry Bird made a statement that was both surprising and revealing. Bird was introducing Nate McMillan as the Indiana Pacers’ new coach, and the future of the roster was brought up. Free agency was looming yet Bird did not mention which position he wanted to bolster or what particular type of player he hoped to acquire. Instead, he mentioned assistant coach Dan Burke. “He’s been a very important part over 19 years of what we’ve done here,” Bird said of Burke then. -- The Indianapolis Star

McMillan on the Pacers’ defense: ‘We got to get a lot better’: Halfway through the six-game preseason schedule, observers may see Indiana’s 111 points per game, which is behind only Houston and Oklahoma City. They may see 47 percent shooting, good for fifth in the league. Or, they may point out 106.78 possessions per 48 minutes (3rd), nearly eight more possessions than its season average last year (98.99). Pacers head Nate McMillan, meanwhile, sees a defense that needs work. “We got to get a lot better,” he said after practice on Monday. -- VigilantSports.com

Niang living up to expectations: It's just three games, three exhibition games at that, but Larry Bird's initial analysis of Georges Niang holds up well. Bird drafted Niang with the 50th overall pick in the June draft, an area normally viewed as the front office equivalent of a halfcourt heave, but the early – perhaps premature – returns are intriguing. -- Pacers.com