New Pacer Trevor Booker To Bring Rebounding, Physicality
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INDIANAPOLIS – When Trevor Booker was doing his homework on finding a new NBA home, the playoff teams were interested.
Playing for a contender was going to happen, but what separated the Pacers from the rest of the bunch is the rare culture that has been discussed in Indiana all season long.
“I like locker rooms that I know guys don’t have big egos,” Booker said from the Pacers’ locker room prior to Monday’s game with the Bucks.
“I did my research before I came here. They said everything was great here. A lot of positive energy. The staff was great. That had a lot to do with my choice.”
The 5th NBA stop for Booker, 30, brings him to Indiana.
With the Pacers, Booker’s role has already been defined by head coach Nate McMillan.
“The biggest thing (McMillan) wants is rebounding,” the 6-8, 228-pound Booker says.
Booker’s career as an undersized big man has seen him average 5.5 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game.
Rebounding has been a clear focus for McMillan as the Pacers close out the regular season.
“He rebounds the ball, which is something we felt that we needed,” McMillan said of the Pacers making a late-season addition off the waiver wire. “He’s a guy who can guard really 1-5, (is) very physical and the big thing is he rebounds the ball.”
Look for Booker to make his Indiana debut on Wednesday night versus the Jazz.
The Pacers will want to work Booker as their backup power forward, alleviating Bojan Bogdanovic from occasionally playing out of position and helping Thaddeus Young scale back his minutes.
This season Booker has played with the Nets (18 games) and 76ers (33 games). He’s averaged 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game this season.
In playing with the 76ers, Booker didn’t feel like it was an ideal fit. He doesn’t see that being an issue at all in Indiana, even though there’s only 18 games left in the regular season.
If Booker can make that transition, Indiana will have a solid first and second unit with locked in backups having the ability to play meaningful minutes late in a game.
“Whenever I talk about bringing guys on board, I always talk about, ‘How do I prepare for him?’” McMillan said on Monday.
“Since (Booker) has been in the league, he has always been a guy, when I’ve coached against him, we’ve talked about. Rebounding, running, physicality, he’s a pretty solid player.”