Chris Taylor, originally from Calais, sees similarities between his upbringing in Washington County and his work with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers organization in the nine years since joining the franchise as an assistant basketball operations.
“Our core values here are called the three T’s – unity, tenacity and trust – and I think I fit in culturally with that,” Taylor, 32, said from his Indianapolis office this week after being promoted to director. general of the NBA G League affiliate of the Pacers, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
“I’ve talked over the years with other friends in the league who have roots in Maine, and obviously when I get home to Calais, how there is a certain harshness that comes from growing up in it. ‘East.”
Taylor is entering his fifth season with the Mad Ants, having served as the team’s assistant general manager and director of basketball operations.
“Chris has been someone our organization has held in high regard for some time now,” said Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan. “Her humble and hardworking personality while learning under [former Mad Ants GM] Brian Levy has helped build him into a talented front office executive who we believe can help Mad Ants to the next level.
Levy was promoted to professional scouting for the Pacers after six seasons as general manager for the Mad Ants.
“I am fortunate to have learned from some of the best in this field, and the guidance and mentoring Brian Levy has provided over the past few seasons as his GM assistant embodies that,” said Taylor.
“I’m an open book trying to learn as much as possible from everyone who works here, and that has never changed since I got my intern badge in 2012.”
Taylor returned to Indiana last weekend to prepare for the G League draft on October 23 and the start of the Mad Ants preseason training camp two days later.
“In the past it was all more of a supporting role and now I’m the one making the decisions or at least communicating directly with the Pacers to make those decisions,” said Taylor, who now manages everything from hiring the staff to build the plus and budget.
“It’s final approval, which is great, but probably the most exciting from a players perspective is the management of the roster. This is the biggest change.
Basketball has always been a big part of Taylor’s life, starting in his hometown where the 2007 Calais High School graduate played on undefeated Class C State Championship basketball teams in 2006 and 2007 who won 44 straight games under coach Ed Leeman.
He went on to study and play basketball at Emerson College, and his stint at Boston school led him to summer jobs starting in 2008 with the Boston Celtics in the NBA.
After graduating from college, he spent a year working for the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ affiliate in the NBA G League in Portland, now known as the Maine Celtics.
Then Taylor used a connection with Shawn Windle, a Brunswick native and the Pacers’ head strength and conditioning coach, to contact the team’s executive vice president for basketball, Peter Dinwiddie.
This led to an internship with the Pacers that began just before the 2012 NBA Draft. Taylor has been affiliated with the organization ever since.
“I was fortunate to be with a team with such a strong culture,” said Taylor. “I am just amazed at how culturally aligned I have been with the team as I look back on the different positions I have held and how incredibly generous they have been in allowing me to continue climbing the small ladder. little by little. “
One big change for the G League squad Taylor will guide this winter is that the Mad Ants have relocated their operations from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis, where the Pacers have a multi-million dollar training facility.
“From a player development perspective, it just makes more sense,” he said. “You have more resources, so if someone readjusts in the NBA, they can go and train with the G League team. It also makes more sense for two-way players, or if you’re close to the two, you can bounce much easier from NBA club to G League club.
The team will play nine home games on the Pacers ‘field at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and 15 home games two hours away in Fort Wayne to coincide with the Mad Ants’ 15th anniversary season.
“It’s an incredibly easy trip for me,” Taylor said. “It’s going from Calais to Bangor like we did several times a week growing up.”