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Frank Slade
01-17-2006, 12:44 PM
Hasnít Foster Earned Starting Center Spot?


Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

QUESTION
OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner

Q. (Jeff) Foster has been big in the last few games. (David) Harrison has been looking better but Foster's (productivity) seems to merit a starting lineup spot. Why is he not starting? Is this a perceived matchup matter, or is (Coach Rick) Carlisle putting Harrison in the starting lineup for another reason? (From Rupert in Houston)



A. Foster certainly has played well for an extended period of time, so it would be reasonably safe to assume he has regained most of the conditioning and rhythm lost in the prolonged recovery from offseason hip surgery. In the last 10 games, Foster has averaged 7.6 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the field. He also has made his free throws, going 14-of-18 (78 percent) after an 8-of-22 start. Based on performance, he does merit a long look for a spot in the starting lineup.

Constructing the best team, however, is rarely about putting the best five players on the court at the same time. It's about finding pieces that fit together well and play complementary roles. Harrison originally moved into the lineup when O'Neal came down with pneumonia and played well enough to keep the job. When O'Neal is out, Harrison is a more attractive option in the middle because he provides a legitimate post presence on offense, allowing the system to function relatively smoothly. That would favor Harrison remaining in the lineup at least until O'Neal returns from his most recent malady, this time a sprained left ankle.

The other factor weighing into the decision to start Harrison is that he generally has been more effective with the first unit, which plays primarily a halfcourt game. The second unit plays at a faster tempo because of the nature of its personnel. Foster fits in well with that group, where Harrison has struggled. That's not to say Foster won't soon return to the first unit, because he historically has worked well with O'Neal and his defense, rebounding and energy are extremely valuable. Either way, Foster will continue to play the lion's share of the minutes in the middle, regardless of when he enters the game.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question.html

CableKC
01-17-2006, 01:17 PM
On a related topic....what I don't understand is why Carlisle doesn't give Harrison more minutes.

The Nets' game was an exception ( I think due to necessity as a result of JONeal not playing ).....but Harrison has only averaged about 16 mpg since the start of January. I thought that his minutes were limited due to foul trouble.....but he has only averaged about 3 fouls per game with 1 game where he got 4 fouls. If Harrison isn't getting 5 fouls ( heck...even getting that 4th foul ).....then I would hope that we keep him in there as long as possible just so that he can learn the ropes a bit more....instead of being pulled after the 3rd foul.

Unfortunately...I think the answer ( prior to JONeal getting injured ) is that Carlisle is favoring a Frontcourt rotation of JONeal, Foster, Croshere and Harrison splitting up the PF/C minutes with 34/24/24/16 with Harrison getting the short end of the stick when it comes to minutes.

Slick Pinkham
01-17-2006, 01:25 PM
Foster's best position is backup PF
Croshere's best position is ALSO backup PF
Jermaine's best position is starting PF
Harrison's best position is backup C
Tinsley's best position is starting PG
Saras' best position is backup PG
SJ's best position is strating SG
Fred's best position is backup SG
DG's best position is starting SF

putting the best players at their best positions:

PG:Jamaal
SG:Jack
SF: Danger
PF: JO
C: Somebody not yet on the team

backups
PG Saras & AJ (preferably Saras)
SG Fred
PF Austin & Jeff
C DH

Simple analysis says we need to trade Ron with Jeff or Austin for a starting C and a backup SF.

Without a legit starting C, it makes sense to slide Harrison up to the 1st unit to let both Jeff and Austin play, especially since they are both playing well. This basically minimized the number of players seeing time at their secong best position.

Raskolnikov
01-17-2006, 01:46 PM
Foster's best position is backup PF
Croshere's best position is ALSO backup PF
Jermaine's best position is starting PF
Harrison's best position is backup C
Tinsley's best position is starting PG
Saras' best position is backup PG
SJ's best position is strating SG
Fred's best position is backup SG
DG's best position is starting SF

Now you know you could've saved yourself some time by just typing once 'best position' and then looking at every player ;) ; yes, I know, me too by not making this remark... :D

In other comments: how do you see the difference regarding 'best position' between starting and being a backup? Is it about getting the minutes or is it a psychological thing? Or something else I can't think of?

Jim R
01-17-2006, 04:02 PM
Foster's best position is backup PF
Croshere's best position is ALSO backup PF
Jermaine's best position is starting PF
Harrison's best position is backup C
Tinsley's best position is starting PG
Saras' best position is backup PG
SJ's best position is strating SG
Fred's best position is backup SG
DG's best position is starting SF

putting the best players at their best positions:

That's kind of silly analysis and quite frankly, putting a team on the floor has very little to do with any of that above.

This team's best player is Jermaine O'Neal. He is a low post scoring threat. It makes very little sense for Harrison to play a great deal with O'Neal since that is all Harrison can do. O'Neal can face the basket a little, but he does not drive enough from the 12-15 feet for him to be completely effective.

What makes Foster effective with O'Neal is he is best when he is on the move, mostly slashing from the high post to the low or slipping the ball screen with O'Neal opposite or high.

Croshere's best position is...he doesn't really have a position, which is why he has not been a consistent starter. The more he can defend the PF spot the more of an asset he is to the Pacers alongside O'Neal. The Pacers played very well with Croshere starting.

Tinsley is terrible. I read so much about "As Tins goes so go the Pacers." That may very well be true, but look where that has gotten the Pacers. That is why he has to go. He is a defensively liability, and when he is not getting shots, he pouts.

I'd like to see the Pacers stick with Jackson at the SF. It gives Granger more time to develop, getting his early minutes each game with the second unit, and it puts Jackson at a position that he can defend.

It would be preferred if the Pacers could use Artest to get a starting SG, which is where Mikael Pietrus comes into play. He would at least provide another young, athletic option, much like Fred Jones, to play alongside the NEW STARTING POINT GUARD, Sarunas Jasikevicius. :)

I would agree that Jasikevicius struggles defensively, but so does Tinsley. I would rather a player struggle due to an issue of ability than struggle to an issue of apathy. Jaskikevicius will at least battle and play within the team defense. Tinsley gets beat, he stands up and essentially quits the play.

With what they have now, I'd like to see them start:
PG - Jasikevicius S.
SG - Jones F.
SF - Jackson S.
PF - O'Neal J.
C - Foster J.

J_2_Da_IzzO
01-17-2006, 09:50 PM
Take out Jackson and put in Granger and I would agree.

Pacerized
01-17-2006, 10:39 PM
I guess I'd agree with JimR on this. Foster should be the starte with O'neal, and I'd much rather see Saras then Johnson.

Anthem
01-17-2006, 11:46 PM
I'd really like to see Harrison (and Granger) continue to start. Long-term, that's best for us. We'll lose some games this year (in the regular season, anyway), but we'll win more next year (or in this year's second season).

I really like Foster, but I think his ideal position is backing up both power spots (a la Antonio Davis). Even if he's better than Harrison now, he won't be better (or at least he won't be a better fit in the starting lineup) in the long term.

sixthman
01-17-2006, 11:46 PM
Keep starting Harrison. He needs the guaranteed minutes and you have to admit his game is improving.

Bring Foster off the bench at center and give him the major minutes.

Start Steven at shooting guard with Danny G. at small forward.

Get Jamaal and JO back.

Give Saras, Freddie, and Austin the backup minutes at their best positions and we may find life is fairly good again in Pacersville. :)

SoupIsGood
01-17-2006, 11:51 PM
I'd really like to see Harrison (and Granger) continue to start. Long-term, that's best for us. We'll lose some games this year (in the regular season, anyway), but we'll win more next year (or in this year's second season).

I really like Foster, but I think his ideal position is backing up both power spots (a la Antonio Davis). Even if he's better than Harrison now, he won't be better (or at least he won't be a better fit in the starting lineup) in the long term.

Yes. Until further notice, this season is no longer about this season.

Anthem
01-18-2006, 12:06 AM
Get Jamaal and JO back.

Give Saras, Freddie, and Austin the backup minutes at their best positions and we may find life is fairly good again in Pacersville. :)
Had me up through here.

I want JO back, but I'm fine cutting lose Jamaal. I'd be ok with moving Ron, Jax, and Tinsley (not to mention Pollard and AJ) for a new starting backcourt.

You think we could get Andre Miller and Paul Pierce?

Shade
01-18-2006, 12:08 AM
Had me up through here.

I want JO back, but I'm fine cutting lose Jamaal. I'd be ok with moving Ron, Jax, and Tinsley (not to mention Pollard and AJ) for a new starting backcourt.

You think we could get Andre Miller and Paul Pierce?

I would do backflips if we got Miller and PP.

Anthem
01-18-2006, 12:09 AM
I would do backflips if we got Miller and PP.
Well, they're both available. What would it take?

SoupIsGood
01-18-2006, 12:14 AM
I would do backflips if we got Miller and PP.

Me too! Although, if I could get picky, I would want a very good defender to play at PG next to Pierce.

Anthem
01-18-2006, 12:19 AM
Me too! Although, if I could get picky, I would want a very good defender to play at PG next to Pierce.
I'd settle for one that's a quality starter and actually plays all the games.

Jose Slaughter
01-18-2006, 02:41 AM
Well, they're both available. What would it take?

Artest & Gill for Miller is REAL GM approved.

Tinsley, Jackson, Jones & Pollard for Pierce & Blount is also REAL GM approved.

Harrison - Foster - Blount

O'Neal - Croshere

Granger -

Pierce - Johnson?

Miller - Jasikevicius

Leaves us real thin at the 3.

Any ideas?

CableKC
01-18-2006, 02:45 AM
I guess we can all dream.......but wouldn't the Celtics take the same position that Walsh/Bird take on Artest in getting back a top 15 player for Pierce?

Jose Slaughter
01-18-2006, 02:48 AM
I guess we can all dream.......but wouldn't the Celtics take the same position that Walsh/Bird take on Artest in getting back a top 15 player for Pierce?

Well if you wanted me to throw logic into the mix..... thats gonna cost ya an extra 10 bucks!

rexnom
01-18-2006, 03:31 AM
I'd really like to see Harrison (and Granger) continue to start. Long-term, that's best for us. We'll lose some games this year (in the regular season, anyway), but we'll win more next year (or in this year's second season).

I really like Foster, but I think his ideal position is backing up both power spots (a la Antonio Davis). Even if he's better than Harrison now, he won't be better (or at least he won't be a better fit in the starting lineup) in the long term.

I agree with this. Carlisle is doing an AMAZING job developing our young guys. This is exactly what needs to be done. About Pierce and Miller...don't think we can get both but I would make Pierce our first priority. Do whatever it takes...

Peck
01-18-2006, 05:05 AM
I'd settle for one that's a quality starter and actually plays all the games.

At this point in time I'd settle for a point guard who played 3/4 of the games.

Peck
01-18-2006, 05:14 AM
As to the main post itself.

Has Jeff earned his starting job back?

Over David Harrison, yes.

Over Austin Croshere, no.

But since we have to develop David at some point in time it might as well be now.

If anything Jeff is just proving what I've said for years about him anyway. It doesn't matter if he starts or comes off of the bench, he will get about the same #'s either way.

This way I also don't have to see him & J.O. together all of the time, which I hate seeing. But I do get to see him with Cro a lot, which I like.

Actually he has become an importan part of that second team with Cro, Saras & Fred.

I think the lineups should stay the way they are in the frontcourt throughout the rest of the season barring major trade.

Anthem
01-18-2006, 09:30 AM
I think the lineups should stay the way they are in the frontcourt throughout the rest of the season barring major trade.
I can go with this.

NPFII
01-18-2006, 10:44 AM
With what they have now, I'd like to see them start:
PG - Jasikevicius S.
SG - Jones F.
SF - Jackson S.
PF - O'Neal J.
C - Foster J.

I like it.

1st Guard off the bench is AJ.
1st big man is Cro
Granger is the backup SF, or a defensive specialist.

I like it for another reason - all the J's.
Have you ever noticed how many guys names start with a J:
Jamaal, Johnson, Jasikevicius, Jones, Jackson, Jermaine, Jeff.

Slick Pinkham
01-18-2006, 11:57 AM
It's "eff Foster" because he certainly has no "J"

;)


(for those of you in Europe who may not know, in America "J" is slang for "jump shot" and someone with "no J" can't shoot)

MagicRat
01-18-2006, 12:16 PM
At this point in time I'd settle for a point guard who played 3/4 of the games.

By my calculations, Jamaal can miss the next three games, then play out the remaining 43 to play in 3/4 of the games........No prob, Bob!.........:woot2:

sixthman
01-18-2006, 12:30 PM
You think we could get Andre Miller and Paul Pierce?

Both of them? No way unless you want to trade JO for Pierce. But that's insane.