View Full Version : Pacers.com: Harrison Making Progress

02-28-2006, 01:19 PM
Well on the way to dealing with his issues with fouls, defensive rebounding and consistency, David Harrison has encountered one other challenge: the free-throw line.

"The positive thing with this," he said, "is my percentage can only go up. If I shoot one-for-two, I have a great day."

Alas, the truth does hurt in this case, because Harrison's free-throw percentage for the season is hovering at .415. It's one of the few flaws remaining in the young center's ever-expanding game. He has scored in double figures in eight of his last 16 games. In the last 11, he has averaged 8.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.45 blocked shots while shooting .528 from the floor.

"I just think I've found a role that I'm filling well right now," Harrison said. "I'm trying to keep my job so I'm going out there and trying to spark energy, block shots, dunk, the little things that not everybody can do. … I haven't really been that consistent night-in and night-out. I'll have two or three (good) games, then a bad game. That's pretty much my biggest concern. I don't want those bad games anymore. That's the thing I'm trying to get better at; that's one of the last steps. If I get to where I can bring it every night, then maybe I'll become a better player."

Of course, another of those final steps must be taken at the line. Harrison has never been a strong free-throw shooter, posting a .602 career mark in three seasons at Colorado and .571 in his rookie NBA season, but neither has he struggled like this year. Coach Rick Carlisle attributes much of the problem to a right wrist injury that has plagued Harrison much of the year.

"He's going to get better," Carlisle said. "Part of this that you can't overlook is he's had a hand injury for the last three weeks, which is a pretty serious situation that you never hear anything about because he doesn't complain. As that has started to get better, it was helping his shooting and then he re-injured it a little bit (Sunday) night (in New Jersey). We're being positive about it. We're studying it and trying not to over-analyze it. I see him doing better as the season goes along but health is going to play a part in it."

Another must be taken emotionally, and recent events crystallized the significance of this particular issue. Letting his frustration get the best of him on a difficult night (three fouls, four turnovers in 19 minutes) Harrison was suspended for one game for directing obsecenities at fans behind the bench in Detroit on Thursday night. The game he missed, at home against Atlanta Friday night, the Pacers lost in overtime. That loss made Harrison's importance clear.

With both Scot Pollard and Jeff Foster in the starting lineup and Austin Croshere still recovering from his second concussion, Harrison is not just the first big man off the bench -- he's the only big man off the bench.

"I'm still apologizing for my actions leading to the suspension," Harrison said after coming back to score 12 points with eight rebounds and two blocks in New Jersey. "I just wanted to come out, play hard and contribute to a win."

It's another area Carlisle and the staff are addressing in Harrison's evolution into an NBA regular. "We're talking about it," he said. "We're trying to deal with it. I think we'll get there."


02-28-2006, 01:19 PM

02-28-2006, 01:24 PM
Better now, mister btown?

02-28-2006, 01:39 PM
I hope we never trade Harrison. I just love that big guy. He and Danger are the future.

02-28-2006, 04:57 PM
If Harrison will quit talking so much and just keep focus on the tasks at hand he'll be better off. Way too much talk lately. He IS making some progress though!

Don't talk about the delivery just show everyone the baby!

P.S. That goes for everybody on the team ... talk, talk, talk. :)

02-28-2006, 06:31 PM
All I ask is that he keeps playing hard.

02-28-2006, 09:07 PM
I have been a consistent fan of David's, but he cost us a ball game by not being available for the Hawks. I think he knows it and he seems determined to play a little smarter. All we can do is watch and hope for continued growth - he's done himself proud so far.