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View Full Version : Pacers biggest need: Is not center - it is quickness



Unclebuck
05-14-2006, 02:11 PM
Let me say up front this post has nothing to do with Jeff Foster, in fact this is the only time I'm going to mention his name. This post also doesn't have anything to do with Pollard or David Harrison as I won't mention their names again either.

As I was watching the Mavs play the Spurs last night something hit me like a ton of bricks. The NBA has changed. It has changed a lot more than I think any of us realize or care to admit. I've read a lot lately about how the Pacers really need to upgrade their center position. Some have even called it the Pacers biggest weakness. I wonder if any of you who believe that are watching the NBA playoffs.

Well, if this were 1995, if this were 1999, or even if this were 2002, I might agree that the Pacers need a huge upgrade at the center position. But not in 2006, not at all.

Watching the Mavs play last night, it became obvious to me that the NBA isn't what it used to be. The Mavs are built perfectly for the 2006 NBA. Do they have great centers, great post players, big strong post defenders?. NO. Don't get me wrong Diop and Dampier are nice serviceable players. But make no mistake those two guys have very little to do with how good they are.

The NBA has changed, and it has taken me way too long to figure it out. Everything now is dribble penetration and stopping dribble penetration. Speed and quickness in the backcourt his paramount now. Really speed and quickness is paramount not just in the backcourt but at small forward, power forward and even center. The days of traditional post up basketball are over. It is time the Pacers realize that and adapt to the current NBA. And it is time we as fans adjust also.

When I see Devon Harris go to the basket, I say that is what we need, when I see Jason Terry drive to the hoop I know that is what we need. Watch the Mavs play, that is what the NBA is right now, perhaps the NBA hasn't quite gotten to the Suns style of play, but it is moving in that direction. It is time the Pacers move into this era of the NBA.

Shaq is fading quickly, we don't have to worry about him anymore. We need to worry about quick penetrating players really from all 5 positions, because that is what the NBA is becoming. Look at the elite 8 teams. Only two teams post up at all really. The Heat and the Spurs. But neither of those teams would be where they are right now without dynamic penetraters. Wade, Parker and Manu.

If I were building an NBA team I'd model it after the current Mavs, exteme quickness in the backcourt, an extremely versatile small and power forward. And a serviceable center who is available when needed.

Let me say something here, I'm not moving away from defense being the way to win. Not at all. Defense is as important as ever. But unless you have the proper quickness it doesn't matter how good the "team defense" is. Yes you have to be physical on defense, but the days of big brusing players are over. The frontcourt of the Knicks of the mid 90's in todays NBA would all foul out by the start of the second quarter. Big bruising players don't get it done anymore, the NBA calls things differently, you need quickness.

Let me say something else right here, shooting is as important as ever. Unless you have adequate shooting at multiple positions the penetration can be stopped rather easily. Postups (what I used to think were the bedrock of every NBA offense) just aren't very important anymore - offensively or defensively.

OK, what does this mean for the Pacers. Looking at the 1,2, and 3 positions. They need more than one penetrator, more than one shooter, and they need more than one defender. Exactly what type of players would I like the Pacers to get, look at the Mavs. That is what I want, that is what you need in todays NBA. Devon Harris, Jason terry, Marquis Daniels, Josh Howard - all 4 are good defenders, all four can penetrate - those are the types of players we need.

Who of the Pacers current roster fits this blueprint. I think Granger does at small forward, but the backcourt needs to be entirely revamped. Peja brings the shooting we need, but nothing else. I'm not even sure AJ fits into what I think we need.

What about J.O. Well I'd rather have Dirk, and I've never even thought about such a thing prior to now. J.O might fit in if used properly. He needs to be used less in straight postups and more as an all around offensive player.

There is more I want to say about this, but Mother's day activities are calling.

Bball
05-14-2006, 02:19 PM
I'd be happy if we had a team of 'traditional' players (ie: real center, pg, sg, sf and pf) and let them play their traditional roles/positions on the court... with lots of motion/cutting/screening/passing.

And I'd be fine with a team that "plays quick but doesn't get in a hurry".

I'm not sure how far apart we are in these thoughts. Probably not all that far altho we attack it from different angles.


J.O might fit in if used properly. He needs to be used less in straight postups and more as an all around offensive player.

Haven't I been saying this for a while now? :cool: Welcome to the club ;)

-Bball

Unclebuck
05-14-2006, 02:22 PM
I'd be happy if we had a team of 'traditional' players (ie: real center, pg, sg, sf and pf) and let them play their traditional roles/positions on the court... with lots of motion/cutting/screening/passing.

And I'd be fine with a team that "plays quick but doesn't get in a hurry".

I'm not sure how far apart we are in these thoughts. Probably not all that far altho we attack it from different angles.



Haven't I been saying this for a while now? :cool: Welcome to the club ;)

-Bball

I'm slow but not dumb

Moses
05-14-2006, 02:32 PM
I agree, but the best way to counter those quick penetrators defensively is with a center who can block shots and takes up the middle. Harrison does that but he is to inconsistent.

I wish we had a guy like Ginobli or Parker though who could penetrate whenever they willed to do so. The only penetrator this team has is Jamal Tinsley and he was injured all year long.

Jermaniac
05-14-2006, 03:15 PM
lol We could have Wade,Arenas,AI,Kobe and KG as our line up and that fool Carlisle would still play that halfcourt bull****. If we are going to go with a quick lineup we need a new coach cause Rick I Will Not Change Even If My Life Depended On It Carlisle wont let the team play quick.

pacerwaala
05-14-2006, 03:24 PM
Quickness is something that this franchise has always lacked. None of the draft picks / FAs were lightning quick. The only quick player that I know that was drafted by the Pacers was Kenny Williams. (He was quick to get into trouble also!)



Our SG/SF/PG position with Reggie, Sjax, Freddie, Artest, Vern Fleming, Mark Jackson, Workman, Mckey, Jalen Rose, Eddie Johnson, Ricky Pierce, Ferrell, etc etc always lacked quickness. (Freddie is athletic but not quick).

Dale, Al, AD and Rik were slow also.

The Pacers made their run in the 1990s with a conventional team with cutting / passing / defense and effort. It was fun to watch.

Right now we neither are a conventional team nor are we a incredibly athletic and quick team. That is one of the reason we have been sucking quite a bit in addition to all the off court stuff.

Peck
05-14-2006, 04:08 PM
I agree but disagree all at the same time.

Quickness can be overcome by execution & movement. Our problem is we have few players that can exacute a move properly & we have a coach that does not believe in movement.

BTW, slashing to the basket is not new. Did you miss the Bulls teams of the 90's? Jordan, Pippen & Harper all routinely hit the hole & they very rarely, if ever, played post up basketball.

In fact the only team that had much success with the style that you have been advocating for the past 4 years was Houston. N.Y., Indiana, Orlando, Chicago, L.A. all used multiple offensive sets & did not go to the isolation basketball that we have seen. Yes, even Orlando did not do this all of the time.

So, in the backcourt I agree speed & penetration are the key. However you still will need & will always need a big tough interior rebounder & defender in the post. But that player must be agile as well.

Again, yes I know it's me, but think along the lines of Dale Davis or Ben Wallace. Each of them are strong as Ox's yet each of them were cat like quick for thier size in thier prime.

If what you say is totally true then J.O. is not only the answer by opening up the offense a little bit but he is also then the most qualified to play center as well once he loses weight.

However, I still hold firm to my belief that the day of the big man is coming back.

ChicagoJ
05-14-2006, 04:30 PM
-snip-The NBA has changed, and it has taken me way too long to figure it out. Everything now is dribble penetration and stopping dribble penetration. Speed and quickness in the backcourt his paramount now. Really speed and quickness is paramount not just in the backcourt but at small forward, power forward and even center. The days of traditional post up basketball are over. It is time the Pacers realize that and adapt to the current NBA. And it is time we as fans adjust also.

I wouldn't says post-up basketball is over. There are just fewer and fewer players willing to or able to post up. Tim Duncan is still the best player on the court in that series, and he's pretty good in the paint.


Let me say something here, I'm not moving away from defense being the way to win. Not at all. Defense is as important as ever. But unless you have the proper quickness it doesn't matter how good the "team defense" is. Yes you have to be physical on defense, but the days of big brusing players are over. The frontcourt of the Knicks of the mid 90's in todays NBA would all foul out by the start of the second quarter. Big bruising players don't get it done anymore, the NBA calls things differently, you need quickness.

Yes, the officiating in this year's playoffs has been much different. I can't think of any other spring in which Duncan, Shaq, JO, etc. have struggled with foul trouble so much. Tim and JO are young and will adapt to playing in the post without fouling. JO's already figured out he needs to lose 15 pounds to get quicker. Tim's feet are really bothering him and he should also lose some weight to get quicker.


OK, what does this mean for the Pacers. Looking at the 1,2, and 3 positions. They need more than one penetrator, more than one shooter, and they need more than one defender. Exactly what type of players would I like the Pacers to get, look at the Mavs. That is what I want, that is what you need in todays NBA. Devon Harris, Jason terry, Marquis Daniels, Josh Howard - all 4 are good defenders, all four can penetrate - those are the types of players we need.

Who of the Pacers current roster fits this blueprint. I think Granger does at small forward, but the backcourt needs to be entirely revamped. Peja brings the shooting we need, but nothing else. I'm not even sure AJ fits into what I think we need.

What about J.O. Well I'd rather have Dirk, and I've never even thought about such a thing prior to now. J.O might fit in if used properly. He needs to be used less in straight postups and more as an all around offensive player.

First of all, I utterly disagree about Dirk. Tony Parker did a fine job on Dirk in the fourth quarter last night because Dirk is such a pansy about playing inside. If another team ever attempted to guard JO with a PG, I'd love to see what JO could do to them.

Secondly, our only player with quickness is so un-skilled at anything other than driving with his right hand that he still can't earn any court time. You don't just need quickness or we'd have a starting backcourt of Travis "Bust" and Fred "Righty" Jones. Skills and fundamentals are making a comeback, along with quickness.

Third, I certainly do agree we need more quickness at PG and SG. In fact, while I like Granger, I do wonder if he's a quick enough player for your model. Man, Devin Harris has a crossover, doesn't he. :-o We either draft a quick player or a skilled player. Why can't we find a player that has both?



I agree, but the best way to counter those quick penetrators defensively is with a center who can block shots and takes up the middle. Harrison does that but he is to inconsistent.

I wish we had a guy like Ginobli or Parker though who could penetrate whenever they willed to do so. The only penetrator this team has is Jamal Tinsley and he was injured all year long.

I completely agree with both points. To keep somebody from penetrating you need two things - quickness at the guard positions and an intimidating presence in the paint.

And watching Manu relentless and fearlessly attack the basket with both hands, :drool:. I think we should offer the Spurs whatever it takes to get him, even if the package includes Granger. I know the Spurs don't want to trade him, blah, blah, blah... Its time to get serious about making some trades to improve the roster.


-snip-
If what you say is totally true then J.O. is not only the answer by opening up the offense a little bit but he is also then the most qualified to play center as well once he loses weight.

Not if he's got to defend the post. Or we really need to upgrade our PF (Foster) playing alongside him.


However, I still hold firm to my belief that the day of the big man is coming back.

True, true. Difference is, only a few teams will have one but they'll have a big advantage over everyone else. Like the Rockets (Hakeen), Magic (Shaq), Knicks (Ewing) and Spurs (D-Rob) during Jordan's first retirement - the only four teams with a legit post presence were the four most-likely championship contenders during those two seasons. (Yes, I know the who the other ECF team during those two seasons was.)

Tim
05-14-2006, 05:01 PM
If quickness is what you want you will never see it with Donnie in charge.

Donnie drafts/trades for big players at their respective positions. If I remember correctly I think Donnie said years back is that you can lose your quickness over time but you can't grow shorter. Or was it you can't teach height? Anyway, this course is set with Donnie at the helm.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 05:19 PM
I'd be happy if we had a team of 'traditional' players (ie: real center, pg, sg, sf and pf) and let them play their traditional roles/positions on the court... with lots of motion/cutting/screening/passing.

And I'd be fine with a team that "plays quick but doesn't get in a hurry".

I'm not sure how far apart we are in these thoughts. Probably not all that far altho we attack it from different angles.



Haven't I been saying this for a while now? :cool: Welcome to the club ;)

-Bball

sorta like Detroit?

:maniac:
:brick:

Arcadian
05-14-2006, 06:23 PM
I believe tha quickness is more important especially for our team. Bodies are so much bigger and faster now there is less spacing, smaller passing lanes and rotations are quicker. Dribble penetration and shooting are musts to open up the floor.

Anthem
05-14-2006, 06:46 PM
If quickness is what you want you will never see it with Donnie in charge.

Donnie drafts/trades for big players at their respective positions.
I don't think Carlisle got the memo.

I was waiting to see him play Granger at center.

BlueNGold
05-14-2006, 06:55 PM
The Pistons should be the model. Length, teamwork and merely adequate quickness will beat the Mavs' athletes. Extreme athleticism takes away from ball movement, teamwork, etc. IMO. The Mavs are only making noise in the playoffs because they finally picked up some decent defenders and a true center to defend the paint....to go along with an awesome offensive team which they have had for years.

Trader Joe
05-14-2006, 07:17 PM
I agree that we need qiickness in the backcourt, but I am not sure it would matter. 90% of how a team plays and sets up on offense and defense is determined by the coach. If Rick does not loosen the reigns then even if we could get our hands on some really quick players for the 1 and 2 positions it would not matter. Rick has to give up the control.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 07:24 PM
I agree that we ickness in the backcourt, but I am not sure it would matter. 90% of how a team plays and sets up on offense and defense is determined by the coach. If Rick does not loosen the reigns then even if we could get our hands on some really quick players for the 1 and 2 positions it would not matter. Rick has to give up the control.

Where is would matter, even if Rick is maintained, is on the defensive end.

Trader Joe
05-14-2006, 07:36 PM
Where is would matter, even if Rick is maintained, is on the defensive end.

True and I definetely think we need the quickness, but for it to truly be most effective Rick has to give up a little control IMO.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 07:41 PM
Yeah, I agree 100%. RC would have to give up some post-up/iso plays and actually let the PG control a little and create his own shots.

PS: Before I get jumped on by Jerm here for saying we need a PG to go one-on-one, let me add this. The PG that we want should be able to finish, and only do it within the flow of the game. Tinsley lacks in those areas. AJ can do it offensively, but he's too slow on D.

Roaming Gnome
05-14-2006, 07:50 PM
Nice conclusion UB, but as long as Ricky the C is our coach....this is all a moot point!

I don't have any faith in Carlisle changing his offensive game plan, one iota.

owl
05-14-2006, 08:18 PM
Not every player has to have blazing speed. However the pg and sg should have enough quickness to breakdown a defense. Granger is fine at sf and JO at pf is good. However at center none of the true centers are real mobile.
I believe the center needs to be primarily a rebounder and shot blocker and
average offensive player in todays NBA. So yes, center is a need on this team. With that said I have been noting along with D-Bone that the Pacers are very SLOW. Particularly in the backcourt. The needs are many an the
options are few. Therefore I foresee little change until possibly the trade
deadline.


owl

Will Galen
05-14-2006, 08:45 PM
[QUOTE=Unclebuck]

The NBA has changed, and it has taken me way too long to figure it out. Everything now is dribble penetration and stopping dribble penetration. Speed and quickness in the backcourt his paramount now. Really speed and quickness is paramount not just in the backcourt but at small forward, power forward and even center. The days of traditional post up basketball are over. It is time the Pacers realize that and adapt to the current NBA. And it is time we as fans adjust also.
QUOTE]


Gee Unk, can't believe you are behind me on realizing this. We've been having trouble all year preventing dribble penetration.

And wanting a center may be in vogue right now but some of us have not stopped preaching the need for quickness. There's a thread somewhere talking about this. The good thing is Bird says he wants more quickness in the back court.

Unclebuck
05-14-2006, 08:50 PM
A lot of good responses here. I always knew we needed quickness, that is not something I just realized, but more than ever NBA teams score points because of their guards. Either they score or their penetration leads directly to easy points. The days of throwing the ball into post players and getting a lot good from that are over.


To further make my point, let's look at the leading scorers

1) Kobe Bryant
2) Allen Iverson
3) LeBron James
4) Gilbert Arenas
5) Dwayne Wade
6) Paul Pierce
7) Dirk Nowitzki
8) Carmelo Anthony
9) Michael Redd
10 Ray Allen

OK that is the top ten and I haven't gotten to a post up player or an inside player, no centers, and only one power forward.




11) Elton Brand
12) Tracy McGrady
13) Vince Carter
14) Jason Richardson
15) Chris Bosh
16) Ming Yao
17) Shawn Marion
18) Kevin Garnett
19 Mike Bibby
20) Antawn Jamison

There a few post players in this group, but Bosh is more of a driver, Garnett shoots a lot of jumpers, Brand is in the midpost as much as the lowpost


What would it take to get Shawn Livingston?

Oh really that much, well I'd do it.

Slick Pinkham
05-14-2006, 08:51 PM
It is a guards league now.

The no-hand check rules favor guard play more than ever, and big guys comiing into the league now seem to have no clue how to fight for position, and it is irrelevant anyway because guards do not know how to feed the post.

Tony Parker leads the league in points scored in the paint. Repeat, Tony Parker leads the league in points scored in the paint.

Our guard play is woefully inadequate in terms of slashing and in terms of shooting. They cant feed the post either, so we can't play effective "old style" or "new style".

Until we get a top 20 player who is either a PG or SG, I don't think that we will contend for an NBA title.

Jay Ohh
05-14-2006, 08:57 PM
There are plenty of problems with quickness. Our backcourt has been incredibly slow for like the past three years. Fred Jones being the most athletic guy we have. I want JR Smith or Mickael Pietrus. Maggette if the Clippers want Peja.

Stephen Jackson is way too slow, and so is AJ. Especially compared to other starting backcourts. It would be nice to have some athleticism every once in awhile.

Will Galen
05-14-2006, 08:59 PM
Quickness is something that this franchise has always lacked. None of the draft picks / FAs were lightning quick. The only quick player that I know that was drafted by the Pacers was Kenny Williams. (He was quick to get into trouble also!)

We had a quick back court at one time. I can't remember the names of both players, but Ricky Sobers was one of them.

Peck
05-14-2006, 09:02 PM
We had a quick back court at one time. I can't remember the names of both players, but Ricky Sobers was one of them.

Ricky Sobers & Johny Davis.

That was one hell of a backcourt. In fact other than Jackson & Miller that is my favorite backcourt of all-time for the Pacers.

Peck
05-14-2006, 09:03 PM
What would it take to get Shawn Livingston?

Oh really that much, well I'd do it.
[/QUOTE]

Let me just add one thing to that.

How fast can we do it?

Fool
05-14-2006, 09:24 PM
What would UB's epiphany have been if he was watching the soon to be ECF with the Heat and the Pistons. Certainly not that slashing guards is the only way to go since there is only 1 such player between the 2 teams. Speed and versatilitly have always been assets just like power. The Spurs just had a difficult time beating a team with two power wing players neither of whom are all that quick. Slashing just happens to be where the Mavs (and the Spurs to an extent) are strong.

Trader Joe
05-14-2006, 09:57 PM
Let me just add one thing to that.

How fast can we do it?

I hate to play the role of the mean weatherman predicting rain for your parade but the price to get Livingston would be high, very high. Livingston has shown the signs of being an absolute stud and we would have to give up at least a couple firsts I think to get our hands on him. I think Devin Harris of the Mavs may be a more feasible option. Again tho I think he would have quite the price tag. As we can tell by just having to have this discussion, young fast backcourt players with decent size do not grow on trees.

owl
05-14-2006, 10:40 PM
If you want speed Barbosa is fast and can shoot. Since we are in the
fantasy mode here wanting players like Livingstone, etc.
Pacers just need to start drafting differently. DW is enamored with
tall, slow players. ie Smits, Brezec,Stuart Gray, Greg Dreling, Scott
Haskin, Brad Miller, Scott Pollard. Anyone see a trend? Of all those players
only Smits was really a difference maker. Sorry Peck.
DW might try something different, or Bird in the future.

owl

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 10:58 PM
If you want speed Barbosa is fast and can shoot. Since we are in the
fantasy mode here wanting players like Livingstone, etc.Pacers just need to start drafting differently. DW is enamored with
tall, slow players. ie Smits, Brezec,Stuart Gray, Greg Dreling, Scott
Haskin, Brad Miller, Scott Pollard. Anyone see a trend? Of all those players
only Smits was really a difference maker. Sorry Peck.
DW might try something different, or Bird in the future.

owl

I'm assuming the 'etc.' means DWade...

I'd love to have Livingston, or Barbosa, or anyone from Dallas. My thing is, we can't forget the defensive side of the court. I believe it was KStat that said something to the effect of, "the next time a member of the Pacers' backcourt stops a dribble penetration, it'll be the first." It was true when he said it, and it's still true, and it will be until we get some new players for the 1 and the 2 spots.

Unclebuck
05-14-2006, 11:16 PM
What would UB's epiphany have been if he was watching the soon to be ECF with the Heat and the Pistons. Certainly not that slashing guards is the only way to go since there is only 1 such player between the 2 teams. Speed and versatilitly have always been assets just like power. The Spurs just had a difficult time beating a team with two power wing players neither of whom are all that quick. Slashing just happens to be where the Mavs (and the Spurs to an extent) are strong.



So the NBA is same as it was 12 years ago when 8 of the top 10 scorers were inside players. I'm not buying that, the NBA has changed quite a bit. Pistons win with defense and they shut off penetration better than any team in the NBA.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 11:26 PM
I think, UB, that Fool's point was not that NBA hasn't changed, but more that winning hasn't changed.

Detroit is obviously favored to at least make the Finals again this year, and favored to win by many (even myself). It's because they don't play iso-ball like us, and they don't play Euro-ball like PHX. They play old-fashioned defense, and they execute on the offensive end. Classic basketball will probably always win, and it's what Detroit plays, and so does SA for the most part.

Think of the Colts when Peyton threw 49 TDs. They played a way few teams had ever played - high flying, high scoring, impressive, new age, etc. No one thought that the offense could be stopped because up until the playoffs, no one had stopped it. Then, they met up with New England -- a classic football team that was never afraid to hit you in the mouth on both sides of the ball, and always executed well. End result: NE stopped the offense that couldn't be stopped.

Just like Detroit will stop the offense of Dallas that "can't be stopped." NE did it by playing old-school ball, and Detroit will do it by playing old-school ball.

ChicagoJ
05-14-2006, 11:31 PM
Or San Antonio will come back and stop it. Same point.

I'm still looking forward to a SA/ Detroit final.

sweabs
05-14-2006, 11:33 PM
I agree with the basic premise that we need some speed out on the perimeter, but don't think we have to go as far as to completely model our team after the Mavericks. If we're going to model our team after anyone, I'd prefer the Pistons...but I digress.

While we could stand to use some quickness from the outside positions, it's still important that we have guys down low who can open things up for those players. Since we are using Dallas as an example, just like UB mentioned: Erik Dampier is nothing special down low. But on the other hand, he is important in creating space for these players like Howard and Harris who can get into the lane a lot easier. If we're playing with Jermaine and Foster down low, that just isn't enough physicality and aggression in the paint to make room for perimeter players to drive to the hole with confidence. That's where a guy like Harrison could come in handy.

I still think it's important we have a tough big man holding down the fort in the middle, and am still unsure if whether Harrison can do that. However, I like the fact that David is strong and doesn't shy away from physical play. And I know owl and I are leading this thing, but Shelden Williams is another guy who just seems to have that aggressive instinct that we need in the paint, because in my opinion Jermaine just won't bring you that same intimidating presence (especially with him slimming down this offseason - which is a good thing, because he is not a centre anyway).

And lastly, if we're talking about quickness and perimeter players, I think we need to give Rajon Rondo (http://www.nbadraft.net/profiles/rajonrondo.asp) a serious look in this years draft. As people have mentioned already in this thread, guys with speed can succeed in this league, and if there is one thing Rondo has, it's speed. He could be one of the quickest players in the league right now.

pizza guy
05-14-2006, 11:36 PM
Or San Antonio will come back and stop it. Same point.

I'm still looking forward to a SA/ Detroit final.

Yeah, there's that option too....

Unclebuck
05-14-2006, 11:40 PM
Pistons are the best team and will probably win it all this season. But they aren't a post up team. Sheed posts up some, Tay will some, but they don't have any big bruising players. They have very quick interior players (something I've advocated for several years) But their backcourt generates most of their offense.

Perhaps I did not explain myself very well, but let me make it very clear, I'm in no way arguing against the formula the Pistons use.

The reason I started this thread and what started me thinking about all this is the large number of posts I've read lately that seemed to be saying that the Pacers really needed to upgrade their center position as if that was the reason the Pacers struggled this past season. Perhaps i was also responding to JO's call for a big center.


Question: what teams still playing have tough big man holding down the fort in the middle. I see one team. The Heat.
Seriously. Z rarely plays, The Spurs are going with Horry as they have for a few years now at winning time.

I think using one of our few trading resources on a tough big man to hold down the fort in the middle, would be a huge waste of a resources and would not help our team very much at all. I'd rather pool our resources, and what I mean by that is draft picks, free agent money, players we are going to trade, pool those resources to get the best backcourt we can possibly get. Don't waste our limited resources on getting a center

ChicagoJ
05-14-2006, 11:43 PM
Other than JO, we need to upgrade *Every* position. We all hope that Granger grows into being a starting SF this summer. Some of us hope that David grows into being a starting C this summer.

Our backcourt clearly needs help. Of the seven guys (I include Peja as a SG) that play in the backcourt, only one of them comes close to playing like you've described and he's still not the quickest guy around (especially defensively). The backcourt needs a total overhaul. But that's still easier than finding a starting C in a league with only a few legit starting Cs.

brichard
05-15-2006, 12:36 AM
Color me old fashioned, but I am not a proponent of changing to this. It reaks to me of what we tried to do under the grand master plan of Donnie/Isiah. Assemble a bunch of players with quicks and ups, and have them be interchangagble parts.

Excuse me but :puke:

I want a smart basketball team. A fast and smart basketball team are ideal, but we got handed our jocks by the Euros for a reason. They were playing better team basketball. The USA had far better athleticism, but it just didn't matter in the end.

I think my brother pointed out masterfully that what we have is a very flawed team. Shooting guards who can't shoot, point guards who can't dribble, and low post men who have no low post moves. Once we fix the basics and fundamentals, we need to learn how to play well at all tempos.

The Mavs and the Suns are always fun to watch, but until they make it to the finals, I will not be convinced that they are just built for the regular season.

The Pistons are a far more traditional team and they will win b/c they play offense and defense and Larry taught them how to play the right way.

Just my :twocents:

Peck
05-15-2006, 12:47 AM
Color me old fashioned, but I am not a proponent of changing to this. It reaks to me of what we tried to do under the grand master plan of Donnie/Isiah. Assemble a bunch of players with quicks and ups, and have them be interchangagble parts.
Excuse me but :puke:

I want a smart basketball team. A fast and smart basketball team are ideal, but we got handed our jocks by the Euros for a reason. They were playing better team basketball. The USA had far better athleticism, but it just didn't matter in the end.

I think my brother pointed out masterfully that what we have is a very flawed team. Shooting guards who can't shoot, point guards who can't dribble, and low post men who have no low post moves. Once we fix the basics and fundamentals, we need to learn how to play well at all tempos.

The Mavs and the Suns are always fun to watch, but until they make it to the finals, I will not be convinced that they are just built for the regular season.

The Pistons are a far more traditional team and they will win b/c they play offense and defense and Larry taught them how to play the right way.

Just my :twocents:


Ummmm...didn't you used to blast me back in 00/01 for saying the same thing?

I'm glad you have come around to seeing the light.:buddies:

Bball
05-15-2006, 01:25 AM
Color me old fashioned, but I am not a proponent of changing to this. It reaks to me of what we tried to do under the grand master plan of Donnie/Isiah. Assemble a bunch of players with quicks and ups, and have them be interchangagble parts.

Excuse me but :puke:

I'm hoping that is not what UB meant....

----


I think my brother pointed out masterfully that what we have is a very flawed team. Shooting guards who can't shoot, point guards who can't dribble, and low post men who have no low post moves. Once we fix the basics and fundamentals, we need to learn how to play well at all tempos.

I'm unconvinced we'll ever see anything like what you described as long as Carlisle is the coach unless he's receptive to manage dictating a style of ball to him vastly different than what he seems to prefer. ...And that assumes management would dictate anything to the coach.

I've come to believe part of Pollard's failure to replace BMiller in the starting lineup has had more to do with Carlisle's preferences, not anything lacking in Pollard's game or even injuries. And so, as much as BMiller's departure and what he could've meant to this team has been discussed, would Carlisle have used him? Would Carlisle use any true center much... let alone work and carve out time to develop one?

Pollard has fit in really well when we've been forced away from "JO Ball" due to JO's absence....when Carlisle has used him. (Or 'been forced to use him' might be a more apt statement)

There's been many theories tossed around talking about why Pollard has been sitting. "He's injured"... Then we'll read where he says he's ready to play when called upon and that playing is better for his back rather than sitting. Then we'll read "Carlisle wants to save Pollard for when we play the biggest of the bigs"... Then we're back to wondering why we play one of those teams with a true big and Pollard barely gets in the game, if at all.

But no, he doesn't compliment "JO Ball" and Carlisle doesn't seem to want to get away from that no matter what. And I never want to see it again....

-Bball

Arcadian
05-15-2006, 01:30 AM
Being athletic and smart aren't exclusive traits.

Drafting high school players based on their athletic ability is different than fielding a team that is built on quickness rather than a power game.

Bball
05-15-2006, 01:36 AM
Being athletic and smart aren't exclusive traits.

They are on the Pacers...



Drafting high school players based on their athletic ability is different than fielding a team that is built on quickness rather than a power game.

One of these days I'll figure out why the Pacers got so infatuated with HS kids. ...Having one is one thing, but a lockerroom full is quite another.

-Bball

Arcadian
05-15-2006, 01:41 AM
They are on the Pacers...
-Bball

I'm not sure what we are giving up for smarts on this roster but it isn't athletism.

Unclebuck
05-15-2006, 08:34 AM
Color me old fashioned, but I am not a proponent of changing to this. It reaks to me of what we tried to do under the grand master plan of Donnie/Isiah. Assemble a bunch of players with quicks and ups, and have them be interchangagble parts.

Excuse me but :puke:

I want a smart basketball team. A fast and smart basketball team are ideal,




Perhaps I missed it but when did the Pacers ever assemble a team like I'm advocating in this thread. Have they ever had real quickness in the backcourt. Have they ever had a shooting guard who can create a shot for himself or a teammate. During the Isiah years they had Reggie and Tinsley in the backcourt, I don't see quicks and ups in those two players.

And did I ever say I didn't want a smart basketball team. Are Parker and Manu smart, I think they are, and they certainly can both create some offense and that is what I want.

Skaut_Ech
05-15-2006, 09:04 AM
First of all, I gotta say, I really enjoy this thread. I just got around to reading it.

I think you have some interesting and valid theories about the need for a big man, or I should say the lack of one. I like what rcarey had to say:


it's still important that we have guys down low who can open things up for those players. Since we are using Dallas as an example, just like UB mentioned: Erik Dampier is nothing special down low. But on the other hand, he is important in creating space for these players like Howard and Harris who can get into the lane a lot easier. If we're playing with Jermaine and Foster down low, that just isn't enough physicality and aggression in the paint to make room for perimeter players to drive to the hole with confidence. That's where a guy like Harrison could come in handy.

You have made me re-think things a bit about needing a C, BUT, what I'm thinking is we need is a C who can be a scoring threat and I do still think that should be a priority, but most important, I like what was said about physicality and agression in the paint. We just don't have a paint presence. The remaining teams do. (Except the Suns.)

I also like what Fool said:


What would UB's epiphany have been if he was watching the soon to be ECF with the Heat and the Pistons

:chin2:

Tom White
05-15-2006, 02:32 PM
...The Mavs are only making noise in the playoffs because they finally picked up some decent defenders and a true center to defend the paint....to go along with an awesome offensive team which they have had for years.

They also finally have a coach

SoupIsGood
05-15-2006, 03:11 PM
Mavs suck.

If I had to model my team around one team, it'd be the Spurs.

We really need to draft Rudy Fernandez...

rexnom
05-15-2006, 03:22 PM
Mavs suck.

If I had to model my team around one team, it'd be the Spurs.

We really need to draft Rudy Fernandez...

I love what the Mavs have done. They've had almost as many injuries this year as we have too, yet they still played hard and got 60 wins. People underestimate them. They are not the Mavs of two years ago. They should never be compared to the Phoenix Suns. The Mavs can score like the Spurs can score - they'll do it if necessary but they don't have to outscore the other team to win, it doesn't mean that they don't play defense, however. Avery is an excellent coach. Dirk is much tougher and much more clutch now than he used to be (and I know that is still saying a lot). They have good players at all positions and they play as a team. I like their quickness too.

All this being said though, this is just one way of building a team. Two years ago, you could look at the ECF where the Pacers and Pistons were grinding it out in the 60s and come up with a whole different assessment of the NBA. The Phoenix Suns, that off-season, decided to go against the grain and come up with something entirely different from the Pistons and Pacers. It worked for them. The whole team with one superstar thing is working for the Mavs, not so much for the Cavs. I think it all depends on what you want to achieve as a team. There are many options.

I think one way is to have an inside-outside combo with slashers. This is what the Clippers have, sort of. This is something I think we can go for. We have JO and Peja, who I still maintain work well together. Like people have said before, we need more slashers who can drive and create. You can build a team on quickness but I don't think that means that we can't have our man in the post.

Fool
05-15-2006, 03:25 PM
Soup is just sucking up to the Spurs message board lurkers. :)

Fireball Kid
05-15-2006, 04:07 PM
Mavs suck.

If I had to model my team around one team, it'd be the Spurs.

We really need to draft Rudy Fernandez...
Yes, the Mavs do suck. Its amazing how they are up 2 to 1 in this series against the defending champs. Simply amazing. Stealing one game on the Spurs home court was fools gold. The Mavs have no chance in hell. No chance.

:rolleyes:

SoupIsGood
05-15-2006, 04:13 PM
I say they suck because I don't like them (and they aren't as good as the Spurs).

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are much more interesting characters than anyone on the Mavs, and they're much easier to root for. I just can't get into Dirk or anyone else on the roster, except for Josh Howard.

The Spurs are the better team and will be the ones playing the Pistons in the finals... the Pistons may be better, but I would want to root for a team like the Spurs.

rexnom
05-15-2006, 04:58 PM
Yes, the Mavs do suck. Its amazing how they are up 2 to 1 in this series against the defending champs. Simply amazing. Stealing one game on the Spurs home court was fools gold. The Mavs have no chance in hell. No chance.

:rolleyes:

Wow. No bias there. I think the Spurs lucked out in game one. They were lucky to be so close in game three. Game two they were flat out beaten. Not fools gold at all. Brilliant game plan by Avery executed brilliantly by the Mavs. Spurs fans I've spoken to are more worried now than the ever were last year, and with good cause. And I say this as a fan of the Spurs and their guys, I think they are one of they more loveable teams in the league.

SoupIsGood
05-15-2006, 05:00 PM
:confused:

Fireball Kid
05-15-2006, 05:01 PM
rex, I was being sarcastic.

rexnom
05-15-2006, 05:10 PM
rex, I was being sarcastic.
:blush: Oops. Damn, sarcasm is a hard catch online sometimes...my bad...in that case, good call.

Fireball Kid
05-15-2006, 05:41 PM
:blush: Oops. Damn, sarcasm is a hard catch online sometimes...my bad...in that case, good call.

No problem:D

brichard
05-15-2006, 09:06 PM
Ummmm...didn't you used to blast me back in 00/01 for saying the same thing?

I'm glad you have come around to seeing the light.:buddies:

I don't think you and I differ much on player philosophies. Where we have had more of our differences is with moves Donnie has made.

I liked the fact that Donnie was willing to take a risk on guys like Al, JO, and Bender. They were all relatively cheap in the beginning, and Donnie did hit the jackpot with JO, he got a pretty good 6th man out of Harrington, and a major bust with Bender. A bit of a crapshoot on all 3 with varied results.

But we have also tried going strictly with role players. JT is a PG who isn't steady at shooting, Foster is your rebounder, and that hasn't worked out all that well either.

I've just come to determine that smarts rather than athleticism is the most important attribute a player can have. There are limitations to it ala Mark Jackson, but you have a much better chance of assembling a winning team with savvy vs. athletics.

You probably have held that philosophy longer than I, so :cheers:

brichard
05-15-2006, 09:11 PM
I'm unconvinced we'll ever see anything like what you described as long as Carlisle is the coach unless he's receptive to manage dictating a style of ball to him vastly different than what he seems to prefer. ...And that assumes management would dictate anything to the coach.


But again, why is it that Rick let them run when Bird was coaching? Rick is an X's and O's guy and I think his logic, be it flawed or not, is that our team has the best chance of winning by exploiting JO's mismatch on every posession. Offensively he's the only consistent scorer on the entire team.

Back when Reggie was here, although he often deferred, it seemed clear to me that Rick would give him the green light to shoot. We were just working an inside out game focusing on our 2 strengths offensively in JO and Reggie.

Could it be that Rick is tactically doing the best thing for this team even though we don't like watching it?

Even when we were running for awhile, our defense started sucking and we started turning over the ball frequently. Perhaps he has gotten into this mode of dump it down low ball and he'll never change. But I think he sincerely believes it is our best option to win. Is he right? I guess we'll see.

brichard
05-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Perhaps I missed it but when did the Pacers ever assemble a team like I'm advocating in this thread. Have they ever had real quickness in the backcourt. Have they ever had a shooting guard who can create a shot for himself or a teammate. During the Isiah years they had Reggie and Tinsley in the backcourt, I don't see quicks and ups in those two players.

And did I ever say I didn't want a smart basketball team. Are Parker and Manu smart, I think they are, and they certainly can both create some offense and that is what I want.


Yeah, but what makes SA great is Tim Duncan. It is easy to assemble a free flowing offensive team, and teams like Dallas and Phoenix are fun to watch. But where they fall short is in the role of a big man and a person to play defense.

Whoever wins between Detroit and SA will be determined in the post. And Detroit to me is a far more traditional offensive set than you see in the West. When I watch a West coast basketball team I often wonder if I'm watching the same league.

Anyway, I'm sure you are looking for people who are as smart as well as athletic. I just have heartburn over the last time where we went hard for athleticism and came up a bit short on the smarts side.

Unclebuck
05-15-2006, 10:36 PM
Yeah, but what makes SA great is Tim Duncan. It is easy to assemble a free flowing offensive team, and teams like Dallas and Phoenix are fun to watch. But where they fall short is in the role of a big man and a person to play defense.

Whoever wins between Detroit and SA will be determined in the post. And Detroit to me is a far more traditional offensive set than you see in the West. When I watch a West coast basketball team I often wonder if I'm watching the same league.

Anyway, I'm sure you are looking for people who are as smart as well as athletic. I just have heartburn over the last time where we went hard for athleticism and came up a bit short on the smarts side.

The Spurs have really changed their team from 3 or 4 years ago. They used to throw it into Duncan and everything came from him, in fact it wasn't until Parker and Manu starting creating offense that they won the championships again and were able to beat the Lakers.

One thing no one has addressed: My majpr point was that the Pacers don't need to upgrade their center position. If the Spurs can win with Horry and Duncan playing the big positions, the Pacers should be able to win with JO and who they have at center right now. Of course that is if the Pacers get a shooting guard and point guard that are as good as Manu and Parker.

Anthem
05-15-2006, 10:42 PM
The Spurs have really changed their team from 3 or 4 years ago. They used to throw it into Duncan and everything came from him, in fact it wasn't until Parker and Manu starting creating offense that they won the championships again and were able to beat the Lakers.

One thing no one has addressed: My majpr point was that the Pacers don't need to upgrade their center position. If the Spurs can win with Horry and Duncan playing the big positions, the Pacers should be able to win with JO and who they have at center right now. Of course that is if the Pacers get a shooting guard and point guard that are as good as Manu and Parker.
I know you like Jeff Foster, but he's no Robert Horry. Neither is Croshere.

For that matter, neither is Jermaine.

We'd need a backcourt BETTER THAN Parker/Manu in order to win with our frontcourt.

Unclebuck
05-15-2006, 10:55 PM
I know you like Jeff Foster, but he's no Robert Horry. Neither is Croshere.

For that matter, neither is Jermaine.

We'd need a backcourt BETTER THAN Parker/Manu in order to win with our frontcourt.


If we assume Peja re-signs I like our frontcourt better than the Spurs, so if we were to get Manu and Parker I think we'd be better than the Spurs

Bball
05-15-2006, 11:38 PM
But again, why is it that Rick let them run when Bird was coaching? Rick is an X's and O's guy and I think his logic, be it flawed or not, is that our team has the best chance of winning by exploiting JO's mismatch on every posession. Offensively he's the only consistent scorer on the entire team.
.


I addressed this with a theory in another post,. The gist of it was Rick is a conservative guy by nature and when it's his butt on the line he falls back to his comfort zone. He doesnt seem to want to think outside of the box altho he has proven he can do it when forced to.... sometimes...


Back when he was an assistant under Bird he could use his knowledge and do what Bird asked whether he liked it or not... afterall it ws Bird's beak on the line then (as HC). It's a lot easier to throw away the safety blanket if it's someone else's idea and they pay the price for bad ideas and plans.'

-Bball

CableKC
05-16-2006, 01:06 AM
Would Jason Terry fit the type of quick PG that you are looking for?

CableKC
05-16-2006, 01:08 AM
One more thing....how does a team defend against these type of quick players that drive, penetrate and score?

Is the solution to have better perimeter defenders?

or

Get better interior shot blocking?

or

Is it a combination of both?

GO!!!!!
05-16-2006, 01:13 AM
Defensive roations and help defence... thats what we need... communication and trust... and people willing to take a charge for the team....

Will Galen
05-16-2006, 05:02 AM
I say they suck because I don't like them (and they aren't as good as the Spurs).

Spurs are having a devil of a time convincing Dallas they are better. Now since they are down 3-1 they are going to have to win 3 straight. I don't think they can do it!

SoupIsGood
05-16-2006, 06:09 AM
Spurs are having a devil of a time convincing Dallas they are better. Now since they are down 3-1 they are going to have to win 3 straight. I don't think they can do it!

They will....

ChicagoJ
05-16-2006, 10:07 AM
I think the Spurs can beat the Mavs for three straight games.

I'm not sure the Spurs' bench can beat the Mavs plus the officials, though.

Fool
05-17-2006, 01:34 PM
Simmons agrees (to some degree) and disagrees (to some degree) with UB (I've bolded that part) but there is also some nice reading on screens, Nash, Devin Harris, Simmon's opinion of the decline and resurgance of the NBA, and other things.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060517



INSTALLING THE NBA UPGRADE

The most shocking television moment of May sweeps didn't involve Terry failing to make the final two on "Survivor," the gang finally escaping on "Prison Break," a model opening a suitcase without mugging for the cameras on "Deal or No Deal," or even Jack Bauer never realizing that he could just play the Logan/Henderson tape on somebody's voicemail at CTU.

Devin Harris
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
How fast is Devin Harris? The cameras can't even keep up with him.

Nope, the shocker happened in Game 4 of a spectacular Mavs-Spurs series. With 3:30 remaining in overtime, Tony Parker missed a little bunny to tie the game. DeSagana Diop snagged the rebound and swung it to Devin Harris, who shifted into fifth gear like somebody activated a jet pack on his back. Even though four Spurs had a headstart on him, Harris roared past them like a Kentucky Derby horse. Wooooooooooooosh. Not even TNT could keep up with him; Harris went coast-to-coast so abruptly its midcourt camera couldn't move right to left fast enough.

And maybe TNT missed Harris' layup, but no true basketball fan missed its significance: After 13 up-and-down years, the NBA finally found its way again. Teams are scoring. Teams are running. Teams are attacking. The product works. It's as simple as that. Not even the cameras can keep up.

Just three years ago, I wrote a column declaring that we would never again witness anything like Game 4 of the 1984 Finals, an epic battle that featured two transcendent rivalries (Bird-Magic, Celtics-Lakers), nine future Hall of Famers, two deep benches, dozens of fastbreak baskets, three separate altercations (including McHale's famous clothesline) and four of the uniquely great offensive players in NBA history (Kareem, McHale, Bird and Magic). Both teams attacked whenever they could and took quality shots on nearly every halfcourt possession. Throw in a storybook ending in overtime (Bird nailing a turnaround over Magic for the clinching hoop) and you couldn't ask for a more hard-fought and entertaining basketball game.

As I argued in the column, the league peaked as a product that day. Over the next two decades, overexpansion (which eliminated roster depth) and skyrocketing salaries for younger players (which eliminated their incentive to keep improving) inadvertently diluted the quality of play. Michael Jordan's meteoric rise spawned a generation of copycat superstars who valued one-on-one basketball over team play (with none of them possessing his all-around game). The success of the Bad Boy Pistons and Riley's Knicks inadvertently spawned a wave of defensive teams which slowed games down, limited possessions and pulled the clutch-and-shove routine with elite offensive players. And worst of all, fastbreaks went the way of tight shorts, Converse high-tops and wispy mustaches -- teams weren't running enough, and when they did run, their open-floor instincts were so rusty they ended up looking like a bunch of middle-aged guys floundering in a Tuesday night pickup game.

The whole mind-set needed to change. For me, the low point happened after Game 3 of the Detroit-Boston conference semifinals in 2002: I still remember leaving the Fleet Center after a hideous 66-64 Celtics win, slinking from the building with everyone else, feeling mortified that the sport had been *******ized to that degree. We were supposed to celebrate ... that? Really? When the Americans crapped the bed in Athens two summers later, embarrassed by less talented countries who understood the value of the slash-and-kick game and moving without the ball, that was another seminal moment. We were headed in the wrong direction. That much was clear.

Two years later? Devin Harris shows up four Spurs and a TNT cameraman. And it wasn't the play itself as much as the symbolism involved: Harris never hesitated, not for a second. He attacked. Maybe the cameras couldn't keep up, but eventually, they will.

So how did we get here? It would be easy just to credit the influx of talent over the past decade or so. The league hasn't been this loaded since 1991, paced by an eclectic, compelling group of marquee players (LeBron, Wade, Duncan, Nowitzki, Kobe, Nash and Shaq, six of whom remain alive in the playoffs), with a wave of All-Star caliber players (Brand, Yao, Parker, Billups, Hamilton, Arenas, Carter, Marion, Ginobili, McGrady, Pierce, Garnett, Artest and others) and rising young stars (Hinrich, Howard, Paul, Anthony, Bosh, Stoudemire and others) to complement them.

But that's not that answer. After two depressing playoff seasons (2003 and 2004) sent casual fans scurrying away, the league made a conscious decision to change the overall mentality of the game itself. And this wasn't like Lorne Michaels running an occasional "SNL Digital Short" to make it seem like "Saturday Night Live" was still hip; this was an honest effort by the NBA to change the dynamic of games and make them more appealing to watch. Here's how they did it:

1. They sped up the game by giving teams only eight seconds to get the ball over midcourt and resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds in certain situations (after a foul, a kicked ball, an illegal defense, and so on).

2. They started whistling players for the shoving/grabbing/clutching/mugging crap that had been plaguing the league since the Riley/Daly days (I still think Riley should serve some prison time though).

3. They cracked down on flagrant fouls -- almost too much, actually -- allowing players to attack the rim without worrying about being splattered against the basket support.

4. They relaxed the illegal defense rules, allowing smaller teams to use soft zones and double-team scoring threats more easily (also allowing teams to play more scorers at the same time, since they couldn't be as much of a liability defensively).

5. Referees were ordered to allow moving picks as long as the player setting the pick didn't stick a knee out to trip the defender.

The last one was an unannounced, under-the-table rule change that Team Stern will deny in public to the death, much like Marcellus and Butch always will deny what happened in Maynard's basement with Zed and the Gimp. But it happened. I have more than 200 games on DVD, including just about every relevant game from 1984 to 2004, and players were never allowed to set moving picks before last season. They had to approach the dribbler, come to a full stop, and remain still as the dribbler made his move. Watch an old Jazz game some time -- remember how Stockton and Malone were considered the masters of the pick-and-roll? Well, the Mailman held those picks every time. He never moved. If he did, they whistled him.

Now? You don't have to stop -- you can run over, pretend you're setting a high screen and basically careen into the defender. You can pretend to stop and continue moving your feet to sideswipe the defender as he's stepping around you (a Tyson Chandler specialty). You can even set a screen, make a 180-degree turn, chase the defender, then clip him with a moving pick a second time (a Yao Ming classic). All of these moves are legal in a wink-wink way. Boris Diaw raised it to another level -- instead of setting the screen on Nash's defender, sometimes he runs next to Nash, then quickly cuts toward the basket and "accidentally" picks off Nash's defender at full speed, almost like a wide receiver cutting across the field and picking off someone else's cornerback.

I know this all sounds mildly confusing, but the high screen has become the single most important play in basketball. Four teams execute it correctly (by bending the fake rules that aren't actually in place): Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio and Detroit. Gee, what do those four teams have in common? And while we're here, if you ever wondered how Steve Nash played for eight years and never even made second-team All-NBA, then became a two-time MVP in the blink of an eye, it wasn't just because of his hair and his skin color, or because he found a coach that understood how to build a team around him. Nash took advantage of the aforementioned rules that made penetrating guards just as valuable as reliable low-post scorers (as we're seeing in this year's playoffs with Nash, Wade, Harris & Terry, Parker, Hinrich, Billups, even an old-timer like Sam Cassell).

Thanks to those rules, SmallBall has taken over the Western Conference playoffs this spring. Avery Johnson realized after one game that Dallas could only beat the Spurs by playing two point guards (Harris and Jason Terry) and exploiting San Antonio's shoddy perimeter defense; eventually, Gregg Popovich had no choice but to go small himself (even Big Shot Brob is riding the pine). The Suns-Clips series turned into a splendid SmallBall contest in Games 4 and 5, with the notable exception of the Chris Kaman parts (it's simply the wrong series for him, something Mike Dunleavy will probably realize around Game 12). Coincidentally -- or maybe, not coincidentally -- these have been two of the most entertaining and electric playoff series of the decade.

Which raises the million-dollar questions ...

Is this where we're headed? Are teams better off building for SmallBall over a conventional style? If you can only play five players, and you don't have an above-average center on your roster -- which most teams lack, by the way -- why not just play your best five guys regardless of position? ~ thats the disagree part as I don't think UB would agree with that from the Bonzi Francis Pacer roster discussion

For instance, last summer's most important signing turned out to be Raja Bell, a much ridiculed move at the time. Remember? Twenty-five million for Raja Bell? What was Phoenix thinking? Actually, they were thinking that he's a great defender who makes 40 percent of his threes. Perfect for them. So they started pursuing him on midnight, July 1, then overpaid to make sure they got him. Ten months later, he looked like an absolute bargain even before he saved their season Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Zydrunas Ilgauskas contract (four years, $55 million) would have been fine in 1998, but it's a roster killer in 2006. Much like in real life, you can't survive with slow big guys anymore.

Just look at this year's draft. As recently as three years ago, LaMarcus Aldridge would have been the first pick, because, after all, you always take a good big man first, right? Not this year. LSU's Ty Thomas (a Marion-like forward) will be the first pick, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Aldridge and Adam Morrison (another player who would have been more effective five years ago) will drop out of the top three, whereas Brandon Roy (Washington's outstanding shooting guard) and UConn's Marcus Williams (yes, the Laptop Guy, as well as the only elite point guard in the draft) will end up going higher than people think (and doing better than people think). In the old days, you needed a franchise player to realistically contend for a title. Now? You need two penetrators (including an alpha dog), three or four shooters and two guys who can rebound and protect the rim. That's it. Just ask Phoenix.

It's a different world. Suddenly, Chris Paul and Devin Harris have more value than Chris Bosh and Andrew Bogut. Suddenly, a max contract for Ben Wallace doesn't make quite as much sense. Suddenly, Kirk Hinrich's ceiling has been raised from "multiple All-Star" to "potential three-time MVP." Suddenly, expensive, shoot-first point guards like Baron Davis and Stephon Marbury are untradeable unless you want someone else's junk back. Suddenly, you would be committed to an institution if you drafted Rafael Araujo over Andre Iguodala, and you would throw a three-day long party if Jameer Nelson fell to you at No. 20. Suddenly, it doesn't seem smart to trade Ben Gordon, Tyson Chandler and two lottery picks to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett with about 98,000 miles on his odometer. Suddenly, a team like the 2006 Dallas Mavericks can win an NBA title.

Back in April, I predicted the Mavs would lose to Detroit in the Finals. Now? I'm reconsidering. Can the Pistons really match baskets with the Mavs? How does Ben Wallace have an impact guarding Nowitzki 20 feet from the basket? Who does Rip Hamilton guard? Can the Pistons keep pulling that whole "fat cat" routine -- they assert their dominance one night, then relax the next, and they've been doing it since late January -- against a team as explosive as Dallas? And could the Mavs really end up becoming the first team to win a title solely with outside shooting since the '73 Knicks?

I think they can pull it off. In the meantime, let's kick back and savor a new era of professional hoops. Last night, the Clips rallied from 19 points down in Phoenix by playing SmallBall and out-Phoenixing Phoenix (which should have happened from the opening tip, of course), eventually blowing a three-point lead with a foul to give and 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime, then losing a borderline Stomach Punch Game in double-OT. (Have I mentioned that Mike Dunleavy is coaching this series with both hands wrapped around his neck? I mentioned that, right?) But it was a phenomenally exciting game, and somewhere during the night, I realized that this was the eighth or ninth ESPN classic-caliber playoff game of the spring. This can't be an accident.

So maybe it's time to recant my "There will never be another game like Game 4 of the 1984 Finals" proclamation from three years ago. Maybe there won't be another game with that kind of star power. Maybe Kareem and McHale would have sprung for 60 a night against these gimmicky small lineups. Heck, maybe McHale would have been imprisoned for what happened to Rambis nowadays. But Game 5 of the Clips-Suns series was nearly as dramatic, Game 4 of the Mavs-Spurs series was almost as well-played, and with the way these playoffs are going -- you have to go back to 1993 to find a spring with this many high-caliber games, and we're not even in Round 3 yet -- there's an outside chance that one of these games could rival the famous Game 4 in every category but "Hall of Famers on the floor."

One thing is for sure: I'll be watching. As Devin Harris proved on Monday night, with the New-And-Improved NBA, you never know what you might miss.

Unclebuck
05-17-2006, 02:42 PM
Simmons agrees (to some degree) and disagrees (to some degree) with UB (I've bolded that part) but there is also some nice reading on screens, Nash, Devin Harris, Simmon's opinion of the decline and resurgance of the NBA, and other things.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060517



That's what I'm talking about.

Putnam
05-17-2006, 03:09 PM
That's an excellent article. I'm convinced. Uncle Buck is right!

CableKC
05-17-2006, 05:04 PM
1. They sped up the game by giving teams only eight seconds to get the ball over midcourt and resetting the shot clock to 14 seconds in certain situations (after a foul, a kicked ball, an illegal defense, and so on).


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060517
I think that Sam Cassell was out of the office the day the memo regarding this was sent out. :laugh:

Unclebuck
05-18-2006, 09:46 AM
Through the first two rounds these have been the best NBA playoffs in my lifetime. I've never seen so many good, exciting, close games.

One area where I see the Pacers really lacking is mental toughness. No way this current group could play through the bad calls, play through the adversity and pull out wins. That is trhe Pacers biggest weakness

Doug
05-18-2006, 10:05 AM
Our chief need is a center...a center and quickness...quickness and a center.... Our two needs are quickness and a center...and mental toughness.... Our *three* needs are quickness, a center, and mental toughness...and outside shooting.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our needs.... Amongst our needs...are such areas as quickness, mental toughness.... I'll come in again.

beast23
05-18-2006, 10:31 AM
In trying to prioritize needs, the only thing that matters is the bottom line. What changes will translate into additional wins and a more competitive team?

In my opinion, the biggest defensive weakness of this team is its ability to prevent dribble penetration by opposing guards. Do we need a better starting center to provide a better post defensive presence? Hell yes, we do. But not as badly as we need better defenders against opposing guards.

Defensively, if we stop penetration, by default we help our post defense. Our bigs would spends less time having to switch off to defend penetrating perimeter players. And without having to make those instantaneous decisions, they will probably foul less while only having to concentrate on defending the opposing post players.

Offensively, our biggest need is shooters capable of reducing the number of double-teams on Jermaine. We've talked about a center that can hit a 10-12 foot shot. If our perimeter players were more consistent with their long-range and mid-range jumpers, that could also achieve the same result as having a better shooting center.

So, I conclude that we can do without a new center, if we absolutely had to... we can survive by continuing the center by platoon for another season or two.

However, any improvement we make MUST start with our backcourt. Better defenders is a given. And, if we have better defenders that can also shoot, then we help out JO's offensive problems in the post.

The better backcourt defenders we need must also be able to defend the quick, elite guards. So where does that leave us? Our biggest priority is that we need quicker players in the backcourt that can shoot.

Makes sense. And it's basically what everyone's been saying.

owl
05-18-2006, 11:18 AM
We all know Bird loves players who can score and if they can defend some that is a bonus. I found an interesting blurb on nbadraft.net.


6.) Quincy Douby 6-3 175 PG/SG Rutgers Jr. -- One of the top overall scorers in the draft. Douby lacks a great body and is more of a combo guard, but his sophomore season of playing mostly point guard helps him. As one of the most prolific shooters in the college game, Douby is not unlike Salim Stoudamire who was one of the top rookie performers in the NBA this year.
======
Speaking to NBA scouts this week, the latest rumor circulating is that Rutgers Junior combo guard Quincy Douby has a promise in the mid to late first round. Earlier in the week, Douby announced that he had decided to forego his senior year at Rutgers and signed an agent.

Douby led the Big East in scoring by a wide margin at 25.4 ppg. The rumor is that Douby's camp is considering shutting down all workouts, and will likely limit his workouts from this point forward.

It's rumored to be a Mid-West team which could be Chicago at 16, Indiana at 17 or Cleveland at 25. Another possible destination is Douby's hometown New York Knicks at 20 or 29. One way or another, it appears Douby has found a home in the first round.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++

I would not surprised to see Douby as the Pacers pick. It could be
Reddick. In any case I believe based on where they are picking a guard
of one sort or another will be picked. With the obvious need for quickness and the way the NBA is changing this is the way the Pacers will go.
In the second I would look at Terrell Everett or James White.
If Sere Sene could be snagged somehow that would help with the post
defense. He is supposed to be VERY agile and blocks shots well.
A 7'8" inch wingspan will do that for you. I just have little hope for
Harrison in the post. He may prove me wrong but I am very concerned.

owl

Unclebuck
05-18-2006, 11:32 AM
If the Pacers even think about acquiring a guard who is not a good defender, I'll get sick to my stomach. Especially if we intend to keep Peja, we need good defending guards. I'd love to see us get two ultra quick penetrating guards and play them together in the backcourt. I go back to Jason Terry and Devon Harris as the model of what I want.

But I fear Bird will get a good shooter who can defend anyone

owl
05-18-2006, 11:37 AM
Based on where the Pacers pick there are no good defending guards
except maybe Rondo but apparently his shot is a disaster.
I believe in the second round a defender guard could be snagged who would be a role player.

I like Terrell Everett but his head may be a concern.


owl

CableKC
05-18-2006, 11:52 AM
Based on where the Pacers pick there are no good defending guards
except maybe Rondo but apparently his shot is a disaster.
I believe in the second round a defender guard could be snagged who would be a role player.

I like Terrell Everett but his head may be a concern.


owl

<< COUGH COUGH >> Bobby Jones << COUGH COUGH >>

http://www.nbadraft.net/profiles/bobbyjones.asp


Strengths: Big, athletic guard that can really defend on and off the ball...One of the best defensive shooting guards in college basketball...Tough as nails...Excellent rebounder for his size...Led UofW in rebounding last season...Gifted athlete who runs and jumps with the best of them... Tremendous lateral quickness...Great basketball IQ "Plays within himself" and a motor that doesn't stop... Great in transition and finishes well at the rim... Rapidly improving his jump shot and outside game...Wants the ball in crunch time and hit many big shots for the Huskies...An all out hustler who plays with the kind of intangibles that coaches love.

Weaknesses: Ball handling needs to improve to play the 2 at the next level...Moving without the ball... Free-throw shooting...Often foul prone, may be because of his aggressive defensive style, but still fouls out too often...Needs to continue to improve outside shot... Not enough attempts to determine how well he really shoots from the perimeter yet and does not have NBA range at this time.

Trade up in the draft to get him!!!!!

blanket
05-18-2006, 12:12 PM
Speaking to NBA scouts this week, the latest rumor circulating is that Rutgers Junior combo guard Quincy Douby has a promise in the mid to late first round. Earlier in the week, Douby announced that he had decided to forego his senior year at Rutgers and signed an agent.

Douby led the Big East in scoring by a wide margin at 25.4 ppg. The rumor is that Douby's camp is considering shutting down all workouts, and will likely limit his workouts from this point forward.

It's rumored to be a Mid-West team which could be Chicago at 16, Indiana at 17 or Cleveland at 25. Another possible destination is Douby's hometown New York Knicks at 20 or 29. One way or another, it appears Douby has found a home in the first round.

Walsh doesn't seem like the type to offer draft promises.

ChicagoJ
05-18-2006, 12:24 PM
I'd love to see us get two ultra quick penetrating guards and play them together in the backcourt. I go back to Jason Terry and Devon Harris as the model of what I want.

I'd like at least one of them to have a fairly consistent jumper.

I'd model the backcourt after Parker and Ginoboli.

In fact, I'm almost to the point where I'd be willing to trade JO in a package for Manu (not that the Spurs have any need for JO, of course :grumble:)

Slick Pinkham
05-18-2006, 12:35 PM
You need two penetrators (including an alpha dog), three or four shooters and two guys who can rebound and protect the rim. That's it. Just ask Phoenix.

penetrators: ? and Fred
shooters: Peja, Granger (maybe), AJ (maybe)
rebounders & rim protectors: Granger, Jermaine, Foster(maybe)

By that analysis we need the alpha dog penetrator and another shooter or two

ChicagoJ
05-18-2006, 02:08 PM
Penetrators: Nope
Shooters: Peja and no one else
Rebounders and rim protectors JO (but not really), Harrison (foul prone)

What I like about Granger is that he doesn't fit into any of those pigeonholes but he fits into all them. Granger will be a perfect "second banana."

We need to significantly upgrade our backcourt and center positions, and the backup forward postions.