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Offseason Update: Orlando Johnson

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

September 6, 2013

Throughout the summer, Pacers.com has been catching up with players to discuss their offseason, the new-look team and any other happenings in their world. This week’s installment features Orlando Johnson, who just completed his rookie season with the Pacers.

Last season, Johnson took a couple months to get going, but once he did in January, Pacers coach Frank Vogel found a spot for him in the rotation. He saw time in 51 games, and averaged 4.0 points, and 2.2 rebounds per game. Johnson connected on 38 percent of the 94 3-pointers that he attempted during the regular season.

After an enjoyable, yet busy summer, Johnson returned to Indianapolis for good on Sunday and is already back in the gym with his teammates. Pacers.com talked with Johnson on Thursday at a promotional appearance.

Where did you spend your offseason and what specifically with your game were you working on?

"This summer I’ve been in California working out, just getting in work with some of my trainers back home in Santa Barbara. It’s been a lot of individual work. I’ve played a little 5-on-5 but more just individually working on my game, just improving on the things that I need to really focus on and get better to help contribute this season."

"I went to the Tim Grgurich camp in Vegas and that was really beneficial just to get a lot of eyes on me and to work with some really good coaches. Got a chance to hear some other voices besides my coaches and learn the game. Rick Carlisle, Mike Brown, lot of assistants. About 25 teams were represented." (Sidenote: General manager Kevin Pritchard and head coach Frank Vogel were there for the Pacers).

What were your goals, in terms of weight and conditioning this summer?

"I’ve lost 10 pounds. I’m down to 213 right now and my body feels great. I’m more explosive, quicker and I just feel really good out there. The game is feeling a lot more fluid. I’ve worked a lot on my pick-and-roll sets and stuff like that just to be an extra ball handler out there and be able to make some plays and get the guys the ball where they need it. I’ve just been putting in the time to develop my game." "I’m exactly where I want to be. I’m ready to get going."

How did the team’s unofficial trip to Los Angeles go?

"It was really just a good time. We were out there to hang out, spend some time together. We played at the Clippers’ practice facility but it was more just to hang out. We ain’t seen each other in so long so it was fun to catch up."

Did you take any trips?

"I went to Hawaii with my girlfriend. That was fun. I’ve never been. We went to Maui and stayed out there for about four days. I got a bad sunburn – it was awful. The trip was fun though. We had a great time and I definitely look forward to playing some trips like that in the future."

What’s your take on the team’s player changes?

"We added a few guys. I met C.J. (Watson) at the Vegas camp. He was out there working out and we got a chance to play with each other. Donald Sloan and I played on the Summer League team and we got a chance to catch up a little bit more in L.A. Solo (Solomon Hill) and I have been talking and hanging out. Cope (Chris Copeland) and I talk a lot. He sits right next to me in the locker room now. We’ve been able to catch up a little bit and talking because he was a fellow rookie last year. It’s been good to meet the new guys and get them acclimated to the way we do things around here in Indiana and I know they are looking forward to getting this season rolling."

"Most of us are all back. I think by next week we should have everybody here."

How do you feel about your two other former rookies (Miles Plumlee, Ben Hansbrough) no longer being with the team?

"Ah, man. It was tough. They know it’s a business. I’m happy that I’m here and I know they’re happy where they’re at now. Ben’s overseas and Miles is in Phoenix. Miles feels like he’ll get a better opportunity there to play and that’s great for him. I’m excited where I’m at and I know we got some good things happening here in Indiana. I’m ready to get it rolling, man. September 27 needs to hurry up and get here."

What’s your comfort level like with the new coaches (Nate McMillan, Popeye Jones)?

"We’re still getting adjusted to each other and still learning what they want and what they see, but so far everything has been good. We’ve been talking a lot. We got a chance to spend some time in L.A. with each other. We’ll see how it keeps going from here but everything has been going well."

Heading into your second season in the NBA, what are you looking to do?

"I’m trying to be an impact player so as soon as training camp starts, they’re going to know that I’m there battling everyday. I’m coming for minutes. I want minutes. I think my work and everything I’ve been doing this summer is going to show."

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