Chris Copeland walked right into the belly of the beast, into the very lair of the enemy and made a discovery.

The Pacers really are nice guys.

That was anything but what he thought as a member of the Knicks who lost to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming in,” said Copeland, a 6-foot-8 forward, who left the Knicks after one year and signed with Indiana for two years and $6 million. “I know it was a pretty heated rivalry. I looked at these guys as, they were really the enemy. And they really welcomed me in and it shows they’re really high character guys, a great group of guys. Easy to get along with. That was the best part.”
One way to make the situation better for Copeland would be playing time. With the Knicks as a rookie, he averaged 15.4 minutes. In the Pacers’ first seven games, including Saturday night’s 96-91 win over the Nets at Barclays Center, Copeland played in just two games, totaling a team-low five minutes. He did not play Saturday night for the Pacers, the NBA’s last undefeated bunch.

While discussing his bench, Pacers coach Frank Vogel stressed the problem of lots of talent, not enough time.

“We have Chris Copeland, who I can’t find enough minutes for, who’s going to be a big-time threat for us,” Vogel said of Copeland, an 8.7 point scorer and 42.1-percent shooter on 3-pointers as a Knicks rookie last season.