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View Full Version : Bob Kravitz Article, It's a new season and new Pacers



Will Galen
01-23-2004, 05:33 AM
Nothing new except this. Players not only got down, but as O'Neal hinted Thursday, they also took issue with the inconsistent way those off-the-court matters were handled.
"For whatever reason, last year, we stopped almost liking each other," O'Neal said.

My question is, who was it handling things inconstantly?


http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/114027-1678-039.html


Bob Kravitz
It's a new season and new Pacers

If you're like me -- please, God, no! -- you've spent the past month immersed in the world of two-deep zones, swim moves, chop blocks and Tupe Peko. So you may have missed the following news regarding the Indianapolis sports scene:

The Pacers, our NBA franchise, are really good.

Not really good.

Really, really good, clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference and, if head-to-head play means anything, maybe (gasp) the best team in the NBA.

The Colts, bless them, hogged all the spotlight in recent months, obscuring a number of developments that suggest last year's second-half collapse will not -- will not -- be repeated:

Ron Artest.

At the tail end of last season, he gave his word he would straighten out his act, and for the most part, he has been true to his word.

There were two questionable moments -- one in preseason, another earlier in the regular season -- but coach Rick Carlisle handled them decisively, and Artest seemed to get the message without too much provocation.

Nothing is guaranteed in Artest's world, and there's always the fear he will explode when frustration sets in. But we're halfway through the season, and he has no flagrant fouls, no suspensions, nothing. He's played like an All-Star, and he's acted like one.

Jamaal Tinsley.

Is he absolutely, positively the point guard of the future? That's a leap of faith some of us aren't ready to make just yet, even as Tinsley has helped lead this run of 12 victories in 13 games.

But he deserves all the credit for keeping himself in physical and psychological shape, even at a time when he was glued to the bench.

"Everything happens for a reason," Tinsley said Thursday. "I guess that (opening the season on the bench) was the best thing for me."

Reggie Miller.

OK, I'll admit it: When Miller spent the first two months of the season hidden away from the offense, I couldn't help but wonder if his age, 38, was starting to show.

In this latest stretch of games, though, Miller looks like a man with plenty of game left in that spindly body. He's looking for his shots, and he's making his shots.

"He's the Jerry Rice of the NBA," Carlisle said.

Jermaine O'Neal.

Let's put it this way: If O'Neal really wants out of Indy and desperately wants to move in with Isiah Thomas -- and there's still that sense nationally -- he's chosen a strange way of showing his dismay with his current situation. Because all he's done is what he said he wanted to do: Carry the Pacers to a championship the way Tim Duncan carried the Spurs to two titles.

Which really shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody.

The big issue now, of course, is whether the Pacers will maintain this level of play, or suffer the kind of collapse that doomed last season.

Well, it's a big issue outside the organization. Inside the locker room, it's never mentioned.

But things are very different this time.

First, it's hard to imagine one team can get rocked again by so many off-the-court family issues. Those problems didn't cause the team's second-half demise, but they were an undeniable factor. Players not only got down, but as O'Neal hinted Thursday, they also took issue with the inconsistent way those off-the-court matters were handled.

"For whatever reason, last year, we stopped almost liking each other," O'Neal said.

Then there's Carlisle, who is getting more out of less than Isiah Thomas ever did. Maybe Carlisle's lack of communication skills was overstated in Detroit, or maybe he's just improved in that area since returning to Indy. Whatever the case, this group has gotten the message.

The biggest reason it won't happen again, though, is this: It happened before.

"I don't think anybody who wears this uniform wants to go through what we went through last year," O'Neal said. "Because we're cheating ourselves, cheating the city, cheating the organization. Why not keep playing this way? Why not get past the first round? Why not get to the championship?"

The Colts might be done. But suddenly, there's this feeling around here there could be another championship run right around the corner.

Unclebuck
01-23-2004, 08:47 AM
Just for comparison, read what Kravitz wrote jut a few weeks ago.

http://www.indystar.com/articles/1/107156-9021-045.html


As far as who was handling things so inconsistantly last season, I wonder.

bulletproof
01-23-2004, 11:31 AM
Looks like Kravitz is jumping on the bandwagon before he loses what little credibility he has left. What a jackass. :rolleyes:

ChicagoJ
01-23-2004, 12:00 PM
I think JO is talking more about Tinsley's in-and-out-of-town routine to visit his ailing mother, when the team didn't know when he'd show up and when he wouldn't; meanwhile, JO's stepfather was in town, and he didn't miss a game, but (I believe) AC's father-in-law was in town and he did miss some games.

Therefore, these decisions might have come from Isiah or DW, I have no idea?

I don't think he's referring to IT's complete mis-handling of the Ron Artest situation.

Anthem
01-23-2004, 01:14 PM
*cough* Bandwagon! *cough*

Seriously, a big part of the reason was that the roster didn't allow for a clear pecking order. The starters were going to get their minutes, but after that, who knows? Which means that the players weren't primarily competing against the other team, but against their teammates.

In my mind, this was the biggest problem with last year (even more than the coaching problems), and we haven't really solved it yet.

ROCislandWarrior
01-23-2004, 02:19 PM
"Because we're cheating ourselves, cheating the city, cheating the organization. Why not keep playing this way? Why not get past the first round? Why not get to the championship?"

If the Pacers begin to show signs of a tail spin...I expect JO and Reggie to take care of it before it becomes a problem

Ragnar
01-23-2004, 02:21 PM
*cough* Bandwagon! *cough*

Seriously, a big part of the reason was that the roster didn't allow for a clear pecking order. The starters were going to get their minutes, but after that, who knows? Which means that the players weren't primarily competing against the other team, but against their teammates.

In my mind, this was the biggest problem with last year (even more than the coaching problems), and we haven't really solved it yet.

That was part of the coaching problem and I think we have solved it. Yes there is debate as to who the backup pg should be but at least the question is not Mercer or Artest as the backup pg :pepper:

Anthem
01-23-2004, 03:07 PM
That was part of the coaching problem and I think we have solved it. Yes there is debate as to who the backup pg should be but at least the question is not Mercer or Artest as the backup pg :pepper:

I don't see the problem as solved.

If Bender is going to become ANYTHING, then I've got serious issues with our frontcourt rotations.

Foster / Pollard / Brezec
JO / Harrington / Croshere
Artest / Bender / J.Jones

That's insane. Foster will never play more than 28 mpg, but JO and Artest should both be close to 40. Say 38. That leaves 20 minutes at the forward position and 20 minutes at center. Most of those minutes go to Al Harrington, leaving Pollard/Croshere/Bender with spot minutes only.

We need to consolidate talent into roster spots.

Arcadian
01-23-2004, 03:17 PM
I don't think Kravitz is a basketball guy. It always seems he spends more time on the Colts and prefers it that way.

Ragnar
01-23-2004, 03:19 PM
I agree that we need to thin out the herd a little but sitting Pollard for the rest of the season would not hurt my feeling one bit. Crosier was doing a decent job as a backup center earlier but they are trying to use Pollard. To his credit he is doing a decent job right now.

I dont know if they are just hoping to trade him or what but he is mostly a non factor. He is not as good of a rebounder or defender as Foster and Cro is way better on the offensive end and is not a bad rebounder himself.

Bender is truly an X factor but he is sitting right now because of his knee. I would not want to do anything to change the roster so that we could get Bender more minutes. IMO that would be a disaster.

J.J. is simply not going to play this year at all. Why are you worrying about Brezec he is just roster filler at this point. If Bendy can earn some minutes at pf or Center thats what he needs to do. Play Foster at C move Jermaine there when Foster sits and have Harrington and Bendy play pf. When Reggie sits put Artest in at the two with Harrington getting all of the backup sf minutes.

You would see lineups of

Tins
Artest
Harrington
Bendy
Jermaine

That is after all what the team is suposedly building too isnt it?

Sometimes it would be

backup pg
Artest
Harrington
Jermaine
Cro

Starters would remain I think both Jermaine and Tinsley need more playing time we would benifit greatly from that.

If Bender can contribute I say write off Pollard completely unless we need him for times when Jeff and Jermaine are in foul trouble and the opponent is too tall for Cro to guard.

Anthem
01-23-2004, 08:15 PM
Well, I put JJ and Brezec in italics because they're obviously bench fodder. But I like Brezec a lot, and I'd like to see him getting spot minutes. I think he'll be ready for a consistent role in the rotation by next year.