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View Full Version : Can Harrington Really Be A Center ? {Pacers.com 9.29.06}



Frank Slade
09-29-2006, 01:18 PM
Can Harrington Really Be A Center?

Friday, Sept. 29, 2006

QUESTION
OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner

Q. Although it's intriguing to get more minutes for Al Harrington at center, being undersized as a starter may hurt when he goes up against scoring centers from Miami, Cleveland, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, and a dozen other teams.

I see only a third of the other teams not having an offensive threat at center. Jeff Foster's positives as a starter not only includes protecting Jermaine O'Neal and Harrington regarding fouls, thereby improving the chances that O'Neal, Harrington, and Danny Granger can finish games together, but also he complements the scoring ability of the other four starters with his rebounding and athleticism.

Granger's impact as a sixth man, along with Marquis Daniels, includes a better combination of scoring and defense, compared to a bench featuring Daniels and Foster. Sarunas (Jasikevicius) would be the only shooter off the bench in a 10-man rotation if Granger starts. Has Foster's time come already to be relegated to the reserves considering also that it's likely David Harrison will earn increased playing time at this position? (From Joe in Indianapolis)


A. Harrington may well be listed in the box score at center, but that doesn't mean the Pacers expect him to match up with Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, et al. The fact of the matter is, beyond those three, there really aren't that many threatening true centers in the league these days.

The primary post scoring threats are predominantly players that would be most accurately described as power forwards. It has become commonplace for a team to use two post players in the frontcourt rather than a true power forward-center tandem.

Detroit won it all with Ben Wallace, liberally listed at 6-9, in the middle. Phoenix won 54 games with 6-8 Boris Diaw – who played point guard for Atlanta – playing a hybrid form of the position.

Frankly, designating Harrington as a center isn't even a philosophical divergence for the Pacers. Though listed as a power forward for the balance of his career, O'Neal performs many of the jobs of the traditional center, including low-post scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking.

Though listed as a center, Foster really is a power forward in disguise. While it has been true Foster relieves defensive pressure from O'Neal, Harrington would do the same on the offensive end, forcing defenses to make a difficult choice: double-team O'Neal and leave Harrington (or Granger, etc.) open, or play straight-up, a situation that would play into the Pacers' hands.

Since Harrington was acquired, it's been widely assumed he would start in the frontcourt with Granger and O'Neal. That still is the case. The positional assignment is almost irrelevant because it only applies to where he'll be listed in the box score, not necessarily how he, or his teammates, will be deployed on the floor.

Foster will continue to play an important role, and probably the same number of minutes, and Harrison will get another chance to show what he can do. When you really look at it, all that would change is the semantics.

Pacers.com (http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question_060929.html)


On days like these, I half-way think Bruno asks himself the Question of the Day.

ChicagoJ
09-29-2006, 05:25 PM
That really is a weird question.

I'd rather have JO in foul trouble for 80 games playing with somebody other than Foster...

than JO only playing 45 games with Foster.

EDIT - And Jeff really saved JO from foul trouble in the Jersey series, didn't he. Oops.

Will Galen
09-29-2006, 05:50 PM
Can Harrington be a center?

Well he's the exact same size as Antonio Davis (6'9, 245) so size wise it shouldn't really matter that much. It also wouldn't matter offensively. Where it would matter would be playing defense against the tall centers in the NBA, the guys that can shoot over him.

Shaq? It wouldn't matter against Shaq, because Shaq drops his shoulder and runs over everyone.

ChicagoJ
09-29-2006, 06:17 PM
Can Harrington be a center?

Well he's the exact same size as Antonio Davis (6'9, 245) so size wise it shouldn't really matter that much. It also wouldn't matter offensively. Where it would matter would be playing defense against the tall centers in the NBA, the guys that can shoot over him.

Shaq? It wouldn't matter against Shaq, because Shaq drops his shoulder and runs over everyone.

Yeah, but Croshere was bigger/ heavier than JO but everyone wanted to convert him to SF.

BlueNGold
09-29-2006, 06:43 PM
Yeah, but Croshere was bigger/ heavier than JO but everyone wanted to convert him to SF.

Yes, you cannot look at size and assume someone can handle the position. You don't have to look far. John Edwards is a prime example.

If JO guards the post threats when we face Miami, Cleveland and NJ, we will be ok...although against Miami he will be too worn out to play the other side of the court. Al will get destroyed by any of those centers. These teams are prime competition in the East. All the other teams, it really does not matter. There is a reason some of the best teams in the east also have real centers.

DisplacedKnick
09-29-2006, 06:51 PM
That really is a weird question.

I'd rather have JO in foul trouble for 80 games playing with somebody other than Foster...

than JO only playing 45 games with Foster.

EDIT - And Jeff really saved JO from foul trouble in the Jersey series, didn't he. Oops.

Hard to save someone from foul trouble when they're racking them up on offense by running over people.

Kegboy
09-29-2006, 07:25 PM
I don't think Al can play center, but I'm intrigued by rcarey's idea to play him at centre.

rexnom
09-29-2006, 07:51 PM
I don't think Al can play center, but I'm intrigued by rcarey's idea to play him at centre.
That's actually my favourite idea yet.

Slick Pinkham
09-29-2006, 09:24 PM
Yeah, but Croshere was bigger/ heavier than JO but everyone wanted to convert him to SF.


Did anyone not named Isiah want that to happen, ever?

DisplacedKnick
09-29-2006, 09:41 PM
Did anyone not named Isiah want that to happen, ever?

Donnie Walsh apparently - at least he traded for JO and signed Croshere to big money in the same summer - doubt he gave AC that much money with the idea he'd be coming off the bench.

rm1369
09-29-2006, 10:28 PM
Donnie Walsh apparently - at least he traded for JO and signed Croshere to big money in the same summer - doubt he gave AC that much money with the idea he'd be coming off the bench.

I remember LB stating (as coach) that Croshere could play the 4, but his best position was the 3. My understanding was that AC made it a point to gain wait after AD was traded because he thought it was his best chance at PT.

I never understood those that thought IT tried to screw AC by playing him at the 3. His biggest supporter saw him as a 3.

pizza guy
09-29-2006, 11:27 PM
That's actually my favourite idea yet.

I know a lot of people like their rose-coloured glasses, but Al isn't the right type of player for the C position extensively. A lineup with say Tins, 'Quis/White, Danny, Williams/Baston, and Al could be fun to watch. It would be a pretty darn quick lineup, that could score, and doesn't look too bad defensively. You could even play White at 2, Quis at 3, Danny at 4, and Al at 5 if wanted to go really small.

That's the thing I really like about this team. We have so many possible lineups, so many versatile guys, that we can really do anything we want. And, at the very least, it'll be fun to watch!

Pacesetter
09-29-2006, 11:42 PM
I really don't think using Al at the Center spot is a very good idea. He has the bulk and toughness to battle down there, but the wear and tear on Al isn't worth it. Bad idea, imo.

BlueNGold
09-30-2006, 12:07 AM
The excerpt below about Foster applies very well to JO...maybe even better. Neither of these guys has the frame to bang. The last time we had a real center (Brad Miller), we won over 60 games. Ever since that time, we have been injured. I remember a time when we had a 7'4" center and were in the NBA finals. How times have changed. Maybe the team's improper use of PF's to play the center position is the root cause of many of these injuries.

"It's reasonable to postulate the wear-and-tear of being frequently overmatched against bigger front-line centers has contributed to the injury problems (lower back and hip) that have kept Jeff Foster out of 40 games the past two seasons. If so, a move to the bench, which offers more favorable matchups, could relieve some of the physical demands."

Maybe next year we will have a 6'6" 210lb center...

pizza guy
09-30-2006, 12:18 AM
The excerpt below about Foster applies very well to JO...maybe even better. Neither of these guys has the frame to bang. The last time we had a real center (Brad Miller), we won over 60 games. Ever since that time, we have been injured. I remember a time when we had a 7'4" center and were in the NBA finals. How times have changed. Maybe the team's improper use of PF's to play the center position is the root cause of many of these injuries.

"It's reasonable to postulate the wear-and-tear of being frequently overmatched against bigger front-line centers has contributed to the injury problems (lower back and hip) that have kept Jeff Foster out of 40 games the past two seasons. If so, a move to the bench, which offers more favorable matchups, could relieve some of the physical demands."

Maybe next year we will have a 6'6" 210lb center...

Actually, DW and LB have contacted me about the '07-'08 season since I couldn't play this season because of the new age limits. But look out, I'm coming to abuse those soft centers in the NBA!

I think the need for a true center is totally overrated. I mean, look at the past few NBA Champs (and 2nd place finishers). Miami, Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit--none of them had anything special at center. All undersized softies. Who needs a big guy in the middle? Look at PHX, they've done really well in the post-season without any big, lumbering, cumbersome centers in the middle. In fact, they had a gaurd playing center sometimes, and they just abused the competition.

Will Galen
09-30-2006, 12:45 AM
The excerpt below about Foster applies very well to JO...maybe even better. Neither of these guys has the frame to bang. The last time we had a real center (Brad Miller), we won over 60 games.


Brad was traded just before the season started the year we won 61 games. Foster was our center of record that year.

Robertmto
09-30-2006, 12:52 AM
If JO guards the post threats when we face Miami, Cleveland and NJ, we will be ok...although against Miami he will be too worn out to play the other side of the court. Al will get destroyed by any of those centers. These teams are prime competition in the East. All the other teams, it really does not matter. There is a reason some of the best teams in the east also have real centers.

Did you see the playoffs? Krstic had a field day against the Pacers (alot against JO). Also Brendan Haywood is notoriously good against the Pacers.

It would be better for the Pacers to have Foster, JO and Granger/Al (take ur pick) over Danny Al-Jermaine.

ChicagoJ
09-30-2006, 01:23 AM
Brad was traded just before the season started the year we won 61 games. Foster was our center of record that year.

According to Reb Porter, or the box score, or the all-star ballot, yes. But anybody paying attention knows that JO played nearly every minute at center. Al and Jeff split the PF minutes.

ChicagoJ
09-30-2006, 01:24 AM
It would be better for the Pacers to have Foster, JO and Granger/Al (take ur pick) over Danny Al-Jermaine.

Now that's just silly.

skyfire
09-30-2006, 01:54 AM
Big centers are becoming situational players. Having a forward line with a capable post defender and shotblocker and then bringing on a big center to mix it up abit seems to be a more flexible option. Yao is the only big center you could really say was in his prime.

Will Galen
09-30-2006, 03:23 AM
According to Reb Porter, or the box score, or the all-star ballot, yes. But anybody paying attention knows that JO played nearly every minute at center. Al and Jeff split the PF minutes.

The very reason I said Jeff was our center of record.

Peck
09-30-2006, 03:33 AM
The excerpt below about Foster applies very well to JO...maybe even better. Neither of these guys has the frame to bang. The last time we had a real center (Brad Miller), we won over 60 games. Ever since that time, we have been injured. I remember a time when we had a 7'4" center and were in the NBA finals. How times have changed. Maybe the team's improper use of PF's to play the center position is the root cause of many of these injuries.

"It's reasonable to postulate the wear-and-tear of being frequently overmatched against bigger front-line centers has contributed to the injury problems (lower back and hip) that have kept Jeff Foster out of 40 games the past two seasons. If so, a move to the bench, which offers more favorable matchups, could relieve some of the physical demands."

Maybe next year we will have a 6'6" 210lb center...


Now in fairness we had a 7'4" shooting guard & a 6'11" center with Ric & Dale.

But in all seriousness the idea of not calling Jermaine O'Neal the center just makes me ill.

I'm sorry guys but this goes back to that ego thing I have talked about for year & year with this guy. You mean to tell me the Pacers went out & got the player he wanted & he still wants to make sure he is listed as the power forward instead of center?

Yes, yes I know what differance does it make what they are called.

EXACTLY!!!!!

If it didn't matter then why does J.O. want to be listed as a p.f. instead of a C?

I'm sure some will say I'm once again making a mountain out of a mole hill here but to me this just goes back to that lingering doubt about character that I have with him.

I want him to succeed, I want him to do well, I even want to like him. But everytime I edge his way something like this pops up & strikes me.

I'm worried that this will not be a name only thing, I'm really worried that he will try & make Al play the center spot.

Also let's end the myth of there being no good big centers in the NBA.

Krystic, Curry & Pavolivk all reside in the E.C. & all are very good capable big men who would either tower over Al or out size him. Bogut, Howard & Wallace are all also significantly bigger or stronger that Al as well.

Al is no sissy, so don't take this as a slam at him because I only respect the heck out of him if he is willing to try this. But the man was a small forward just four years ago & IMO while he is big enough & strong enough to play p.f. the center spot is just not for him.

RamBo_Lamar
09-30-2006, 07:41 AM
The positional assignment is almost irrelevant because it only applies to where he'll be
listed in the box score, not necessarily how he, or his teammates, will be deployed on the floor.

Ultimately it just depends on the matchup. I would think the opportunities for Harrington to play Center in the true classical sense, and be dominant, would not be very often - especially
on the defensive end.

Trying to think of outstanding undersized Centers doesn't bring many to mind, but Wes Unseld does stand out. While Harrington is of the same playing weight that Unseld was, he has a far different physique. Unseld was stockier and very strong, able to carve out space around the rim and go after rebounds against larger players, in a sort of "Barkleyesque" kind of way. Players like this are few and far between, and I certainly don't forsee Harrington knocking anybody around
like Unseld did.

Now maybe in a "smallball" situation, or going against a Jason Collins type Center, Harrington
could be effective. It will certainly be fun to see what happens!

:D

Speed
09-30-2006, 07:50 AM
Did you see the playoffs? Krstic had a field day against the Pacers (alot against JO). Also Brendan Haywood is notoriously good against the Pacers.

It would be better for the Pacers to have Foster, JO and Granger/Al (take ur pick) over Danny Al-Jermaine.

Krstic, imho, is the reason to go smaller, he killed the Pacers because he could hit a wide open 20 footer, Al, DG and more mobile guys can play a guy out there. Krstic looked all world when no one guarded him. As for Haywood, I can live with their offense going through him, all day.

My thing is, if you go small, you have to force the team your playing to go adjust and be outside there comfort zone. Carlise is poor at this, he seems to always be adjusting to the other team and not forcing their hand, like a Larry Brown would do.

If you play Cleveland, take Illgauskas out by abusing him on the perimeter and scoring on him everytime down.

Watch Phoenix, they can play a 6'8" guy at center because they double hard in the post on defense and a true center is spinning in circles 25 feet away from the basket trying to figure out whats going on, when Phoenix is on offense.

More on adjusting, Carlise is good at adjusting to the other team, but not forcing them to adjust to you. Coaching and the psychology of having a system that your team believes in and a situation that you can impose your will on the opponent is something Carlise doesn't do.

It's already started, well we might start Foster/Harrison against big centers, it may look good on the chalk board, but it grays the roles of players and it undermines your teams confidence in your system and the left out starters ability, puts unrealistic pressure/expectations on the Foster/Harrison's of the world. So your going to put Harrison on Yao for one game to start and Harrison gets killed, who does that help? If your in seven game series, by all means do anything to get an extra win with an adjustment, but you can't have the foundation of your team being that. Teams need roles, clear expectations and beleif that what they do works w/o gimmicks or tricks.

Good teams don't bend with the wind every game like that. That seems like grasping for something to sneak a win in, which bad teams do.

Start who your going to start, give consistent minutes to your best players, stick with a rotation, tell the non playing guys to stay ready when they are called and remind them they are still getting paid, very well. This solidifies resolve, this creates a team or the buzz word chemistry.

And lastly, be a hardazz about it, Carlise, but be in it together, get that us against the world. Heck, most of the world doesn't think they'll make the playoffs, at this point.

Sorry for the rant, stepping down off the soapbox, now.

BlueNGold
09-30-2006, 09:00 AM
Brad was traded just before the season started the year we won 61 games. Foster was our center of record that year.

Point well taken. We had a decent post season as well, falling to Detroit. However, 03-04 appears to be a flash in the pan.

The test of time has proven that Foster's injuries are due to him playing out of position. The same is true for JO. Another year of this could become a huge mess without Pollard and Croshere waiting in the wings....and with DH having lung issues. Maybe Al playing C will turn out to be our only option. ...or maybe we can dig up Samaki Walker.

SoupIsGood
09-30-2006, 11:46 AM
Peck, Tim Duncan does the same thing. He refuses to be listed as a C. Should we worry about his ego/mentality/attitude

Arcadian
09-30-2006, 12:15 PM
The answer to the question, "is Al really a center," is of course not.

That isn't the question though. The question is does todays NBA allow teams to get away without playing a center.

I suppose I would to want play the better player than putting a 7 footer on the court to say that we have a center. However, I idea would want a center deserving to start on my roster.

On a sidenote JO is not a center either. While he maybe used there a lot it still doesn't make him a center.

Robertmto
09-30-2006, 04:26 PM
As for Haywood, I can live with their offense going through him, all day.

:slap:

Peck
09-30-2006, 05:27 PM
Peck, Tim Duncan does the same thing. He refuses to be listed as a C. Should we worry about his ego/mentality/attitude

Yes.

I will for the life of me never understand why all of these big men refuse to be big men.

I guess Shaq is just to much man for anybody.

Robertmto
09-30-2006, 07:35 PM
Didn't Rasheed Wallace wanna replace Ben or something like that as center?

JayRedd
09-30-2006, 07:59 PM
You can put a cat in the oven, but that don't make it a biscuit.

We haven't had a starting center for 3 years. We still don't.

But until the League/media realize that traditional "1, 2, 3, 4 and 5" labels are becoming more and more interchangable (and pointless), someone will still have a "C" next to them when they show that cool little computer graphic announcing the lineup on TV. That disappears once the ball goes up.

Really who cares?

Does Tim Duncan play differently now that he's a "Center". Do you guys really believe Shawn Marion is a PF?

So sure, list Al at Center. Then let JO take the jump and be our dominant post player on both offense and defense.

And since he's going to be standing on the sideline, we may as well just call Boomer an assistant coach while we're at it. Because he's probably closer to a coach than Al Harrington is to a center.

denyfizle
10-02-2006, 06:08 AM
this is a just ploy by Larry Bird to raise Al Harrington's fantasy value because he drafted him in the 3rd round. :whoknows:

Evan_The_Dude
10-02-2006, 09:54 AM
The positional assignment is almost irrelevant because it only applies to where he'll be listed in the box score, not necessarily how he, or his teammates, will be deployed on the floor.

Thank you. QFT.

AesopRockOn
10-02-2006, 11:33 AM
[quote=JayRedd;477462]You can put a cat in the oven, but that don't make it a biscuit.

We haven't had a starting center for 3 years. We still don't. [quote]

D. Davis?

I do agree with the first part though.;)

JayRedd
10-02-2006, 11:47 AM
We haven't had a starting center for 3 years. We still don't.

D. Davis?

I try to forget that season...Apparently it's working.

bulldog
10-02-2006, 12:46 PM
edit: I didn't read carefully. Doh!

Mourning
10-02-2006, 01:42 PM
Did you see the playoffs? Krstic had a field day against the Pacers (alot against JO). Also Brendan Haywood is notoriously good against the Pacers.

It would be better for the Pacers to have Foster, JO and Granger/Al (take ur pick) over Danny Al-Jermaine.

Krstic is a very good player, but I think our line up is a lot better suited both defensively aswell as offensively to take on the Nets now. I would like to have that extra 3 point specialist/veteran for a few minutes per game.

Anyway, defensively the Nets would have a much harder time now, because they can't afford to double or triple team JO nearly as much as they used in the last play-offs, while we also now have a much more effective slasher in the backcourt that will need to be more closely guarded.

Then offensively they will also have more trouble as we also seem to have gotten better there by letting go of Peja and adding Al, who is no ace at defence, but he sure is big improvement to Peja.

Now, Peja was here relatively short, so I don't think we will really notice missing part of his smart offensive playing (when he didn't hit his shots from downtown he would actually take shots closer to the basket or go inside to finish the ball up close).

I do hope that our current players develop some of that game IQ on the offensive end, because we can't have players that just keep shooting there shots from there preferred distance to only see them missing those. They need to realize when to defer or change tactic. I hope we improve significantly in that area. We need to.

Regards,

Mourning :cool:

Speed
10-03-2006, 08:52 AM
And lastly, be a hardazz about it, Carlise, but be in it together, get that us against the world. Heck, most of the world doesn't think they'll make the playoffs, at this point.



.."I want there to be no doubt that if we're going forward, we're going forward with the idea that I'm going to push these guys as hard as I can push them to be as good as they can be. This is not just a coach-player thing. It's a partnership. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
"You can't go into a foxhole as a coaching staff and think you can have success without the players with you and vice versa. They both said they had no doubt and that meant a lot to me. It's important that everybody knows we're heading into this thing head-first and we're going to do what we can to make this thing go the right way." <o:p></o:p>
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Jackson</st1:place></st1:City> punctuated the coach’s statement with one word: "Together."

----------------

Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!