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indyblue47
02-27-2006, 07:58 AM
http://www.insidehoops.com/jermaine-oneal-interview-022706.shtml

Jermaine O'Neal Interview







By InsideHoops.com | Feb. 27, 2006
Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal is putting up 20.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.17 blocks per game this season. Fans voted him as a starter for the All-Star game. But he's been out injured and hasn't had a chance to play with new teammate Peja Stojakovic just yet. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner met with O'Neal Sunday evening in New Jersey for an exclusive interview.

InsideHoops.com: What are your initial impressions of new teammate Peja Stojakovic? The dude can definitely shoot.

Jermaine O'Neal: Really that. His ability to shoot. And his size was a surprise to me. I didn't know he was a legitimate 6-10. I always thought he was like 6-7. He's a great person. I think he fits into our new style of offense as far as pushing the ball up and down. It'll be real interesting to see how things will be once I get back. The last couple of games, he's been coming off screens, wide open... once I get back and we get some low post presence, I think he's going to be really extraordinary for us, because he has the ability to really get that shot off in a matter of seconds.

InsideHoops.com: A bunch of guys are really stepping up in your absence.

Jermaine O'Neal: Stephen Jackson, Anthony Johnson, Freddy Jones, those guys are really giving us a huge boost, in terms of offensively. And I think if they can continue to do that, even when I come back... I don't want to have to come down and the ball gets thrown down every single time, because we become predictable. If we have a situation where everybody's scoring, and I come in and just do what I need to do to be effective, then I think we'll be extremely tough to beat.

InsideHoops.com: That's always an interesting thing, seeing how teams handle using stars who can do it all on their own. Like, you and a bunch of guys in the league can be one-man wrecking crews, or you can focus more on the total team thing, even if it means being less individually effective.

Jermaine O'Neal: My thing is I always want to soften the defense early. I always tell my teammates, I want to pass, pass, pass early so they can get going. Because if they can get going, the defense is going to stay on them and not double as fast. And that's what I want. I never want to be me, going at guys, while four guys stand around watching, because they don't have rhythm. So when I get tired, and I kick the ball out, they wind up in rhythm to make shots. I think we're a better fit with the ball being moved around. We don't have guys on this team that have egos where they feel like, OK this guy's going, but I know I can take my man, too. We don't really have that on this team. I think that's a good situation, and guys are really looking forward to me coming back, so that's always a plus, also.

InsideHoops.com: And when are you due back, again?

Jermaine O'Neal: I don't know. When I get back, within the next four weeks. I've been out for four weeks -- on Tuesday it'll be four weeks -- and I'm projected to be out eight weeks. So if I can get back within the next four weeks, and be 100 percent healthy, then I will come back. But ultimately my concerns are to walk into the playoffs healthy. Because I haven't walked into the playoffs healthy the last two years. I came in, I hurt my shoulder last year. I hurt my knee two years before in the first round. I don't want to do it anymore. I want to make sure I'm healthy and as effective as possible. Obviously we know the playoffs is the real season, and you want to be able to make things happen.

InsideHoops.com: With all the injuries this season, and the major trade, is it almost like you guys shouldn't even be judged until next season, and if you do anything in the playoffs it's a bonus? Is that the wrong kind of thinking?

Jermaine O'Neal: To tell you the truth, I don't think that way. Because when you look for people to make excuse for you, then you're setting yourself up for failure, anyway. And our players, we came into the season expecting to contend in the Eastern conference, for a championship. And that's our plan. So we feel like we have a whole new dimension now, with [Peja] Stojakovic, with [Sarunas] Jasikevicius, with Stephen Jackson, Freddy Jones. We feel like we have a different dimension that we haven't quite had. We've been pretty much a dominant post-up team with Ron [Artest]. We posted Ron up a lot. That's what we did. But now we put in a new system of plays. We really feel like, when it comes down to it, we match up very, very well with a lot of the marquee teams. We're 2-0 against Miami this year. And we're 1-1 against Detroit. And I haven't played at all against Detroit this year. So we're looking forward to really getting better. And it's not necessarily what the other team is presenting to us. It's all about how we're playing. If we're playing good basketball, on both ends of the floor, then we're going to give ourselves a great chance to represent the Eastern conference this year. But we have to be playing good basketball on both ends of the floor to compete against Detroit and Miami

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Raskolnikov
02-27-2006, 09:03 AM
JO again saying the right things. I hope he comes back (fully healthy) some time before the playoffs so that there are still a couple of games left to fit him back into the rotation.

Jon Theodore
02-27-2006, 09:32 AM
Great interview. I can honestly tell he REALLY likes Peja. I honestly think we are going to be a FORCE in the playoffs. The Pistons remind me of the 61 win Pacer team A LOT. I think that works in OUR favor. We are the underdog and we play great in that role.

Jermaine and Peja are going to be like Cwebb and Peja in the glory days of Sacramento. Really my ONLY concern is Jackson. I love the guy, he has so much heart and loves to win. If he can play well as our third scoring option I love our chances.

Sarunas is going to step up big time in the playoffs and AJ also knows what it takes. I didn't realize he was on the New Jersey team both times they went to the finals. Jack has proven last year he can step up in the playoffs.

FORGET Tinsley. Am I the only one who doesn't even want him to come back. AJ is so solid now and Sarunas is going to be money in the playoffs. Granger needs as many minutes as possible also, along with DH.

I just don't see how this team has enough minutes to go around. I still think next year we have to make a move. I like trying to move Jack/Tinsley/FJ for maybe a Ray Allen type guard or maybe even a promising young talent and draft picks.

I like the future for this team a lot, Donnie Walsh is simply a genius. Either way I like our chances going into the playoffs and this off season should be very interesting.

Jumper
02-27-2006, 10:10 AM
Four weeks cannot come to soon. I can't wait to see Oneal and Peja on the floor at the same time. Oneal is a better post up player than Webber, close to his ability in midrange, but lacks in the passing department. I really do see this group working well together.

Hicks
02-27-2006, 10:56 AM
If JO is healthy by April, he would have about 10 games to get situated with the team before the playoffs.

Jermaniac
02-27-2006, 12:23 PM
We winning the chip this year best beleive it

Anthem
02-27-2006, 12:40 PM
If JO is healthy by April, he would have about 10 games to get situated with the team before the playoffs.
That's what we said last year.

Hicks
02-27-2006, 03:41 PM
That's what we said last year.

What's your point? My statement involved math, nothing more. There are about 10 games to go in April (or something along those lines). Who cares if that's what it was like last year?

J_2_Da_IzzO
02-27-2006, 06:45 PM
FORGET Tinsley. Am I the only one who doesn't even want him to come back. AJ is so solid now and Sarunas is going to be money in the playoffs. Granger needs as many minutes as possible also, along with DH.

I just don't see how this team has enough minutes to go around. I still think next year we have to make a move. I like trying to move Jack/Tinsley/FJ for maybe a Ray Allen type guard or maybe even a promising young talent and draft picks.


I agree. I dont want Tinsley back either but he will be back but he should be on the bench and earn his way back to the starting line up rather then be the automatic pick.

And picturing Ray Allen on this team makes me drool. Imagine having the two best 3 point shooters in the league along with a top 3 PF in Jermaine added to the 'hustlers' of the team Foster and Pollard. But I would be sad to see FJ go along with Jax.

rexnom
02-27-2006, 06:53 PM
I agree. I dont want Tinsley back either but he will be back but he should be on the bench and earn his way back to the starting line up rather then be the automatic pick.

And picturing Ray Allen on this team makes me drool. Imagine having the two best 3 point shooters in the league along with a top 3 PF in Jermaine added to the 'hustlers' of the team Foster and Pollard. But I would be sad to see FJ go along with Jax.

If we play Cleveland we should be fine since they aren't a defensive dynamo/don't have lightening quick guards but come Detroit, once that pressure comes, you'll be glad Tinsley is there. But I don't think he should automatically play more mins than AJ. Tins was willing to work his way into the starting lineup two years ago. Why not again this time?

Roaming Gnome
02-27-2006, 06:57 PM
I think a healthy and motivated Tinsley will easily "earn" his starting spot off the bench in a matter of days, not weeks. I am with you, he should work his way off the bench, but I don't expect him to be there long.

Unclebuck
02-27-2006, 08:33 PM
If J.O comes back April 4th that would give him 10 games. That would be ideal. he starts breaking down after about 15-20 games.

Pacesetter
02-27-2006, 08:58 PM
If J.O comes back April 4th that would give him 10 games. That would be ideal. he starts breaking down after about 15-20 games.

Another archived file for magicrat! :grinno:

OnlyPacersLeft
02-27-2006, 11:32 PM
We winning the chip this year best beleive it
god I hope so...shoot why not?

Evan_The_Dude
02-27-2006, 11:48 PM
Come playoff time we're gonna need J.O. AND Tinsley, as much as some people don't like that idea. A.J. is gonna get his playoff minutes, but Sarunas has no playoff experience whereas Tinsley does. If we're trying to win, we need to go with experience, especially knowing Tinsley comes to play big time that time of year.

bulletproof
02-28-2006, 12:09 PM
Great interview. I can honestly tell he REALLY likes Peja. I honestly think we are going to be a FORCE in the playoffs. The Pistons remind me of the 61 win Pacer team A LOT. I think that works in OUR favor. We are the underdog and we play great in that role.

That's crazy talk. Explain. The Pistons are a much more balanced team than the 61-win Pacers. Our backcourt was weak and we had no serious outside threat except Reggie, who by that time had started deferring too much to the other guys.

pizza guy
02-28-2006, 11:58 PM
Ray Allen...........:drool:

JO sounds like he's still saying the right stuff. Good to hear.