Leaf on Pacers defense: ‘We’re together, we’re connected, we’re tough out there’

– TJ and I just having a good, open discussion about how things are going. All right, let’s– let’s talk about– what is the difference in you from last year to this year? The activity’s good. What’s the difference?

– Good job, boy. I mean, there’s a lot. I mean– comfortable. I’m really comfortable out there now. I know the defensive schemes. I know the offense. I’m comfortable with coach. I’m comfortable with my teammates. So I think a big part of it’s just being comfortable playing basketball.

– You guys are playing basketball. I know it’s early, but defensively, this looked like you– you haven’t had any time off. Am I missing something, or are you guys as good this time of year as you were in the last year?

– We have a long way to go. We have a long way to go, but you know, we’re together. We’re connected. We’re tough out there. So as long as we can stay together, stay as a team on defense, I’m thinking we’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna keep working, you know, coming for the 17th.

– All right. What is it that you think you’re going to have to do in order to be able to maintain these minutes you’re getting? I like your activity, and I think that’s got to be one of them.

– That’s definitely one of the main ones. I mean that– defensively, just staying in front of my man, making sure he doesn’t get to the baskets, rebounding, chugging, chugging the big when he’s rolling. I mean, there’s a lot of things, but I’m looking forward to getting better with the staff this week, watching some film, and just getting better as a team.

– Help the fans understand– has the game slowed down for you this year compared to last year?

– Definitely. Definitely. I mean, the speed has slowed down a lot. I mean, I’ve gotten stronger, so that’s made it a lot– a lot easier down there to battle. So you know, I’m just going to keep working and keep getting stronger, keep getting faster, and keep getting better. And this team is going to do the same.

– All right. Thanks a lot for joining us, TJ. We’ll see you. Let’s go back to you, Chris.

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