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View Full Version : My first observations of the team this pre-season



Peck
10-12-2005, 01:44 AM
First things first.

Never EVER make any real judgements on teams, players, coaches etc. in the first game of the pre-season.

For those who didn't see the game let me just say this, the entire team that was on the floor for the final few min. of the game (acutally almost half of the 4th quarter) were players who will either never make the team or will be the 15th man on the roster.

They actually lost a lead that the starters had gotten.

But, as I said, you can't take to much away from these games.

But let's look at what I thought from game 1.

We need Samaki Walker. Yes, yes, I know Snap Hunter is the sexy pick from last night. But let's be honest here, the guy will never see the floor for our team.

Why in the name of God would the Pacers cut Gill, who they still would have to pay, just to sign some guy who will never see the floor.

Walker, while certainly not an upper tier big man, is a very wide body & to me he looked like a guy who was willing to do the small things that we need big men to do.

Foster is down, Harrison is sort of down, Pollard is always a back pain away from being down.

That's it fellas, that's the big man core. Yes, Jermaine can play the big man spot but he doesn't like to & he isn't as affective when he does play the spot.

There were times when we lined up Bender at center. That's not going to work very often.

We need another big man to help hold out the season, not another guard who will never see the light of day.

If we can put Hunter in the D league, then fine. But for the season I would say go with Walker.

Moving on.

Pollard looked as good & healthy as I've seen him since he's been here. He moved well & didn't look to be in pain at all. Of course it usually starts to bother him after several games so we will see how he does in a couple of weeks.

Croshere was the same. Hard work, solid play & thankfully the return of his shot (for the most part). Nothing new with him so if you hated him before your still going to hate him now, if you liked him before you will like him now.

Bender, might as well deal with this up front. Like I said in the beginning you can't judge a player buy the first pre-season game, but I will say this. They had no answer for Jon when he drove. He had like 14 free throw attempts (I think) & most if not all of thoser were from drives. Now before we all declare him the next Jordan let's not forget that N.J. sucks in the front court. Tearing up Jason Collins is nothing like tearing up Ben Wallace, but hey it was a start. His defense was fair but the single biggest thing I saw from Jon Bender last night that nearly made me fall to the floor in a seizure was that I saw Jon put a body on somebody & box them out for a rebound. I nearly wept for joy when I saw this. I now fully expect him to sit out the next three games as a precaution.

Tinsley, sorry I thought he played like crap. Now some of this was not his fault. For some God awfull reason Carlisle has decided to experiment with Artest bringing up the ball. This totally threw off Jamaal IMO. Of course Kid is kind of good to so that didn't help, but overall I just wasn't thrilled with J.T.'s game.

Jax. Solid. Good defense, didn't force the offense. He didn't play much last night so there really isn't much to say about him. He definately is a competator though as he was playing mid-season defense on Vince in the 1st quarter.

Artest. Didn't shoot that well IMO. Did really well going to the hoop but just didn't have it going on from the floor. He did a good job on Jefferson but when he moved to Carter I didn't think he bothered Vince at all. He's kind of like Croshere in the fact that if you loved him before your going to love him now & if you didn't like him before you probably aren't going to care for him now either.

Jones. I was dissapointed. He just didn't seem to have the defensive intensity that I was hoping he was going to have. Seemed to want to rely on distance shooting a little much for my taste as well but still had one of the best dunks of the game. Hard to beat Carter in a dunk off though so no shame there. If Fred wants to still be a big player on the team, which I think he will, he has got to become a lock down defender which I beleive he can be.

A.J. I still think he's the best backup p.g. in the N.B.A. Last night he played a lot of min. at the two spot & he did just fine there. Actually he & Jamaal played off of each other quite well, IMO. His defense is stellar for a backup & although he isn't the best floor general I think he is solid.

Saras. I am going by my initial thought on this. Not to take one game to seriousely. I don't know how many points he had but let me tell you if you look at the box score it is going to show a better game than what he really had. I'm not going to harp on it to much this game & I think I'll give him 20 games into the regular season before I give any real eval. on him but if you watched him play & weren't a little more than concerned by his defense then I need whatever it is your smoking. Also for being Mr. Pass he sure did not hit his players directly with the ball very well. I will attribute that to the fact that he just isn't familiar with the team yet. He did have a nice shot though. Don't read to much into this, like I said he needs time.

I'm not going to go over the others because frankly they won't be here so I didn't pay that much attention to them.

Star of the night though was Bender for sure, God knows I hate saying that.

SoupIsGood
10-12-2005, 01:54 AM
We need Samaki Walker. Yes, yes, I know Snap Hunter is the sexy pick from last night. But let's be honest here, the guy will never see the floor for our team.

Why in the name of God would the Pacers cut Gill, who they still would have to pay, just to sign some guy who will never see the floor.

Walker, while certainly not an upper tier big man, is a very wide body & to me he looked like a guy who was willing to do the small things that we need big men to do.

Foster is down, Harrison is sort of down, Pollard is always a back pain away from being down.



Who's to say we won't have a similar injury situation with out backcourt later in the season? Smaki is a bum, I say we sign the best player.

Bball
10-12-2005, 02:00 AM
I say we take the best game player if it is glaringly obvious but we don't make any decisions based on this game alone.

If Samaki is a 'bum' then we don't take him (if I was GM) but I also wouldn't make that decision just yet.

And if the difference in players isn't w i d e then I look to team needs and weaknesses a little harder with my end of the bench player.

But I wouldn't waste the spot on a player the coach isn't going to play...ever... No matter whether he plays a position we are weak/thin at or not.

...But that's just me...

-Bball

317Kim
10-12-2005, 06:36 AM
Smaki is a bum, I say we sign the best player.


:grinyes:

Unclebuck
10-12-2005, 08:53 AM
Peck, I'm at a huge disadvantage because I could not watch the game, but I did listen to about half of it on and off, just to hear Mark and slick comments on certain players.

I think the Pacers should keep Walker, you can never have enough big guys, plus it is much more difficult to pick up a big guy during the season than it is a small guy.

Peck, Rick did not employ the strategy of having Ron bring the ball up, but I suppose you know that by now. I would ask to those who watched the game, jut how many bad shots did Ronnie take.

The only question in my mind about Bender is if he can stay healthy, if he can he'll be a major force.

fwpacerfan
10-12-2005, 09:39 AM
I definitely don't put much into preseason - look at the winless Colts' preseason. Add to that the fact that JO, Foster and Granger were out and it is impossible to take anything away from last night teamwise.

I thought Bender looked bigger. I don't think he is listed as being any heavier but he looked bigger, especially through the shoulders. When I first turned the game on it was the middle of the 1st quarter and I thought Bender was JO - he looked as big as him. This, imho, has always been Bender's issue. He didn't not have enough mass to absorb the beating he was taking. He appears to have put on some muscle.

I thought Ron played fine - all things considered. He hasn't been in a real game for almost a year.

Spicoli
10-12-2005, 10:03 AM
First off, it was just fun to finally watch some freaking Pacers basketball. :woohoo:

It's definitely waaay too early to start judging this team, especially when we had guys playing out of position all night. I was more interested in watching some of our new guys.

Saras, as Peck said, has some work to do to learn NBA-caliber defense. He was in full-matador mode several times last night. But, damn, can he shoot. I'm looking forward to watching him develop and become part of the team, which hasn't happened yet. I think Rick had Saras and AJ each playing some point and some 2 guard to see what works the best. AJ needs to get some time somewhere this season, and right now, I think he's well ahead of Saras.

Peck, I know exactly what play you are talking about when you saw Bender block out, because I just kind of sat on the couch with my jaw hanging down for about 2 minutes. Bender really looked good tonight. Marc Jackson tried to guard him at the top of the key at one point. Bender took about 2 steps and had completely blown by him and was at the rim. I am cautiously optimistic.

I think it's clearly between Walker and Snap for the 15th spot. Walker gets my vote, even though Snap is certainly an NBA caliber player. We have to get some depth at the 4 and 5. Every single one of our big men are somewhat injury prone to completely injury prone.

Ron fired up some quick shots, and I was discouraged about Carlisle's comments this morning. But damn it was fun to get to watch him play defense again. I know he didn't score well, but I'm not sure his man hit a field goal all night. He was on Jefferson in the 1st half, and I think held him scoreless. He guarded VC for a little bit in the 3rd, and I think Carter just had 2 free throws on Ronnie. However, he's got some work to do to integrate himself into the offense. He needs to stop the free-lancing. It's going to be a challenge all season long.

Finally, the Nets are not going to be as soft this season underneath. They've still got Collins, and Marc Jackson is a banger. If they stay healthy, they are going to be a threat.

Unclebuck
10-12-2005, 10:26 AM
One thing that is really concerning me though. From what Slick said the Pacers were not fronting the post last night at all. He was criticial of the Pacers just allowing the ball into the post. Was this just something they did just last night or because of a new defensive coach are the Pacers not going to front the post this year. I thought the Pistons and the Raptors when O'Neill was there did front the post. Maybe they just haven't put it in yet.

This has me very concerned

Kegboy
10-12-2005, 10:50 AM
No, they didn't front the post. However, you had a number of perimeter players playing the post out of necessity, so I wouldn't read much into it.

Spicoli
10-12-2005, 10:59 AM
By the way, last nights Continental Airlines attendance? Somewhere in the middle to upper 70's.

Also, Ben Handlogten takes the early lead in the ugliest NBA player race.....

http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/ben_handlogten.jpg

pizza guy
10-12-2005, 11:13 AM
Yeah, with JO and Foster and Hulk being out, post defense lacked. But, I saw some good, I saw some bad. I liked Samaki, but Snap was also very impressive. Snap hit some big shots and made some nice plays, but it's always a good thing to have an extra big man, as was previously mentioned.

JVicius looked a little lost out there, but what I noticed was floor leadership. Even in his first game as a Pacer, he was pointing out assignments and telling player (specifically I remember AJ) where to go on offense. His defense isn't like Ron's, but, he'll be OK. I saw the "pass first" mentality a couple times, but we knew that was coming.

I didn't see much of JTins, I only saw second half. JB looked good to me, he was able to create on offense and his long arms are good for a rebound or three.

I want to see JO and the big guys out there before I make a real judgement on the team. Also, I was disappointed that Granger was out, but, I suppose I'll just have to wait.

Skaut_Ech
10-12-2005, 12:00 PM
JVicius looked a little lost out there, but what I noticed was floor leadership. Even in his first game as a Pacer, he was pointing out assignments and telling player (specifically I remember AJ) where to go on offense.

Wish I could have seen it. I gotta tell ya, the above sentence really stuck out for me. That's what I'm looking for. His shot can be off. That can be corrected. Defense can be lax. That can be taught. Pointing out assignments and showing some leadership this early. That's innate and can't be taught. I admit it, I'm a cabbage jocker.

Thank you SO much for the observations, guys.

McKeyFan
10-12-2005, 12:13 PM
Well, I wanted to see Granger, the new Hulk, and Saras. I only got the third. And, I must say, I wasn't too impressed and am a bit concerned. Here's why:

He didn't seem like that great of a ballhandler. When he's bringing the ball upcourt, it just looks like kind of a struggle. Sure, he made it up and didn't have a turnover doing it--as far as I know--but there wasn't that ease, that sense of no problem-its-under-control feeling you get with a true ballhandler.

Probably related, he just didn't seem to be much of a threat with the ball out front. Yes, he did hit a few outside shots which was nice. But AJ can do that. Certainly Jax can do that. We don't need that so much as we need a playmaker who can also shoot consistently. We currently have a playmaker (Tins) who can't shoot consistently.

I hope this, like Peck advises, shows us absolutely nothing as yet. But I am concerned.

On Bender: I was glad to see the new confidence and aggressiveness. But, in my opinion, he just has a very low BBall IQ and doesn't have the savvy. He will never be a great player. And, if he can't hit most of his free throws, that's a real problem, because shooting is supposed to be his big strength.

I liked Samaki Walker.

I was once again reminded by how good AJ is. I've always liked him. He's not a superstar but he's solid as a rock.

I wish we could have seen Granger.

Bball
10-12-2005, 01:08 PM
Peck, Rick did not employ the strategy of having Ron bring the ball up, but I suppose you know that by now. I would ask to those who watched the game, jut how many bad shots did Ronnie take.


Just to be clear... are you saying Ron's bringing the ball up the court was Ron's idea and part of what Carlisle was talking about (Artest getting away from what they wanted to do as a team)? I never considered that.

I don't remember a lot of bad shots from Artest altho I can remember a couple... but I wasn't absolutely glued to the TV early.

-Bball

Hicks
10-12-2005, 01:31 PM
Wish I could have seen it. I gotta tell ya, the above sentence really stuck out for me. That's what I'm looking for. His shot can be off. That can be corrected. Defense can be lax. That can be taught. Pointing out assignments and showing some leadership this early. That's innate and can't be taught. I admit it, I'm a cabbage jocker.

Thank you SO much for the observations, guys.

I appreciate it too, and I even got to watch most of it. I missed seeing him do that, but then I'm not used to LOOKING for that from a Pacer, either. I did notice he was emotionally invested, because every time something negative happened to the Pacers, he looked like he'd just watched his mother get slapped.

Peck
10-12-2005, 01:39 PM
One thing I would like to address about Saras. If he didn't have any turnovers (I haven't looked at the game stats yet) then it's only because the pass recievers must have been credited with them. I can think of three times in particular that he threw the ball to Samaki Walker that the ball was at his ankles & even though he tried to bend over & get the ball he lost it all three times.

Again, I'm not passing any judgements yet, but I just can't see where anybody thought he was a leader on the floor.

PacerMan
10-12-2005, 02:10 PM
By the way, last nights Continental Airlines attendance? Somewhere in the middle to upper 70's.

Also, Ben Handlogten takes the early lead in the ugliest NBA player race.....

http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/ben_handlogten.jpg

Sam Cassell by a mile.

Skaut_Ech
10-12-2005, 02:25 PM
I liked Samaki Walker.




Samaki is a bum

I know Soup likes to call him a bum, but I've always liked Walker. He's no world beater, but sometimes a player just needs a good home to flourish.

He won't get to the same level, but I kinda compare him to Chauncey Billups. Chauncey was always a good player, but in he kinda bounced around in Denver, Boston, Toronto, Minn and finally got in a system that fit him, coupled with his maturity and flourished.

It's not like Samaki doesn't have the all around tools. He's got some low post game, plays some body-up D and can pass. Given our bigs situation, I think if he shows a solid, not spectacular game, it would be foolish to NOT keep him.

Hopefully I'll get a look at him Thurs or Fri.

sweabs
10-12-2005, 02:36 PM
With the uncertainty of Foster and Harrison's health, coupled with Pollard's potential to break down with back problems at any time...I'd say we need help at the centre spot (desperately might I add).

Yes - take Samaki. That's a no-brainer...it's the trade for another low-post presence that I'm still waiting on.

Suaveness
10-12-2005, 02:37 PM
Peck, I'm at a huge disadvantage because I could not watch the game, but I did listen to about half of it on and off, just to hear Mark and slick comments on certain players.

I think the Pacers should keep Walker, you can never have enough big guys, plus it is much more difficult to pick up a big guy during the season than it is a small guy.

Peck, Rick did not employ the strategy of having Ron bring the ball up, but I suppose you know that by now. I would ask to those who watched the game, jut how many bad shots did Ronnie take.

The only question in my mind about Bender is if he can stay healthy, if he can he'll be a major force.


He won't. I refuse to put my faith in him.

SoupIsGood
10-12-2005, 05:45 PM
Urgggh please no Smaki Soup for me.

xoxo66
10-13-2005, 08:53 AM
Yo guys, give Saras a little credit.

I know him from Israel, and I'm telling you he has the BEST passing skill I have ever seen (even in the nba!!).

BUT, it all depends on the chemistry between him and the rest of the team, and the team fans.
If he really find his place socially in the team, you guys will win the jackpot. Not to mention the extreme increase in alley-oops per game....