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Pacers' youth movement gets first test this week in Las Vegas

Indiana's three draft picks will be on the court at the NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers are looking to the future, starting with the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The 16 players on the Summer League roster have been busy at the team's practice facility downtown, getting ready for the trip west.

"The energy in the building, the togetherness that the guys are playing with, the fun they're having," said Pacers Summer League coach Ronald Nored, "It's fun for me just being out here and watch."

After getting their names called less than two weeks ago, the Pacers' three draft picks are getting their first taste of the NBA. 

No. 6 overall pick Bennedict Mathurin got plenty of one-on-one time with head coach Rick Carlisle working on drills. Former Gonzaga point guard Andrew Nembhard is expected to get his shine as the primary ballhandler for Indiana in Las Vegas and Kendall Brown from Baylor is already turning heads.

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"We did a drill...a transition drill where guys have to run in transition and we were competing and I looked down for a second to write something and Kendall Brown, I swear, it was like a 100-mile-per-hour car running by me. It was unbelievable," Nored said. "I have not seen anything like that in front of me and that surprised me, just how fast he got up the floor."

For this trio of newcomers, the Summer League is a big opportunity as they adjust to the next level. 

"I think the biggest difference is the length, athleticism. Every guy in this gym is like one of the best players where they came from, so a bunch of elite hoopers coming together. So you just have to be more precise and everything like that," Nembhard said.

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The rookies do have some experienced teammates to lean on right now. Veterans like Isaiah Jackson, Duane Washington Jr. and Terry Taylor are on the Summer League roster for the second straight year. They have a full season under their belts and Taylor knows just how valuable this time in Vegas can be.

It helped him eventually earn a contract with the Pacers.

"Summer League taught me patience, so I had to be patient and not get down about not playing and whatnot," he said. "So that helped me when the season time came, especially during preseason, and when I finally got my two-way (contract) and went to the Pacers, just sitting on the bench and just observing and still being a good teammate, while also being patient for my time." 

NBA Summer League games start Thursday, July 7 and run through July 17. The Pacers' first game is scheduled for July 8 at 6 p.m. EDT. 

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