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Hicks
08-07-2007, 12:22 PM
Q&A: TUESDAY, AUG. 7, 2007
Controversy Doesn’t Change Bird’s Plans


Editor's Note: In the wake of Jermaine O'Neal's conflicting comments about a possible trade to the Lakers, team President Larry Bird sat down with Conrad Brunner of Pacers.com for this exclusive Q&A. He not only addressed the O'Neal controversy but a variety of other topics, including where he believes the team fits in the ever-shifting landscape of the Eastern Conference.

Q. From your impression of the events of the last 48 hours, does Jermaine O'Neal want to be traded? Does he not want to be traded? Ultimately, would either position influence your decision-making and, if so, how?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/jermaine_oneal.jpg
<center>O'Neal</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. I don't think it influences anything in terms of what we're trying to do here. We're trying to put the best team we possibly can on the court and Jermaine's a heck of a basketball player. He's our best basketball player. So what we're going to do is, every time somebody calls about our players, we talk to them. It doesn't necessarily mean we're going to trade them. There have been some discussions over the past couple of months that involved Jermaine, like there have been every year, but nothing has come of it yet. It's just talk. He indicated he might want to be traded yesterday, then today he doesn't want to be traded. So I think what we do is we look at our team and if we find players out there that can make us better, we have to look at it.

Q. You've said more than once this summer that you hope Jermaine will remain with the Pacers. Have events of the last 48 hours changed your feelings at all?

A. No. He's our best basketball player and we realize that. What Jimmy O'Brien wants to do here is a style of play that will fit Jermaine perfectly. You always want your players to be happy but sometimes they're not happy. You just deal with it.

Q. Three teams in the East have made substantial moves, Boston, obviously with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen; Orlando with Rashard Lewis and New York to a lesser degree with Zach Randolph. Has the landscape shifted and if so where do the Pacers fit?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/kevin_garnett.jpg
<center>Garnett</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. I think some teams probably made themselves better on paper but until you start playing the games you really don't know. There's some awful big names out there that got traded to the East but still, you have to play the games. I think with our new coach Jimmy O'Brien, the way he's going to play, his style, we didn't get big-name players but we got shooters. Our bench is a lot deeper now than it was last year. We added Kareem Rush, one of the best shooters in the league. We added Travis Diener, who I think's going to be one heck of a point guard, be able to run the pick-and-roll, play the style Coach O'Brien wants to play. These guys play with a lot of passion. We picked up Andre Owens and Stephen Graham, great, great role-players that can play minutes for you and they will be playing this year. The style Jimmy's going to be playing is the style I want to play. I want to get up and down the court a little bit faster. Bringing in Dick Harter, our defense is going to be better. Where we stack up to everybody else I don't know but I think we're a better basketball team than we have been here in the last couple of years.

Q. How do you see Jermaine fitting into a team that runs more?

A. He's going to have to get up and down the court a little bit faster but the thing is, the shooting is going to open it up for him. From what I've seen in the summer, we'll have great ball movement, we'll get open shots and the middle won't be clogged up like it was. If teams do double-team Jermaine, we're going to make outside shots and eventually it's going to have to soften up and he'll be able to maneuver down low.

Q. The concept of the Pacers being in a rebuilding mode seems accepted everywhere outside the building, but that's not the approach you've taken this summer. Why do you think there's a confusion in the perception of your philosophy?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/danny_granger.jpg
<center>Granger</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. There's no confusion to me. Rebuilding, to me, is when you take your top players and trade them for draft picks and young players. We have not done that. We have a core of young guys but they have some NBA experience. David Harrison's been in the league four years, Danny Granger's going into his third year, Shawne Williams is going into his second, this is Travis Diener's third year, and Ike's. These are young players that have played in the league and have some experience. No, we're not rebuilding. We've got a nucleus of young players and we've got veteran players. You have to have a good mix of that to move forward with your franchise and put them in a position to win.

Q. As presently constituted do you consider this to be a playoff contending team?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/mike_dunleavy.jpg
<center>Dunleavy</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. We'll win more games. With Dick Harter here and the way Jimmy's going to run his defense, we'll be better there. Offensively we picked up some guys that can make outside shots and will open it up for our guys down low. And our young players are going to get better. Danny improved immensely from one year to the next. Shawne Williams is going to get the opportunity to play, and Travis, and Kareem Rush is going to make shots. I know Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy have worked extremely hard this summer to improve their games. We have guys here now that have been practicing all summer. We're taking it seriously. The way Jimmy plays, he's going to expect these guys to play hard every day. That's one thing he will guarantee you. We will play a style of basketball our fans will like and we will play hard every night. We will give maximum effort.

Q. It's clear you have an enormous amount of confidence in Coach O'Brien. How big an impact can a coach have on the situation?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/jim_obrien.jpg
<center>O'Brien</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. I've been in this league 27 years and I've seen it over and over again. If you have the right frame of mind and the guys buy into what you're trying to do, you will have success. When I coached here, the team had some injuries, they won 39 games, and just by the change of scenery and a new direction the guys won 58 games. I ain't saying I was the reason for that but there was a change in scenery and a different style. The guys have to buy into it. We tried to change our culture around here, first of all. We went through a lot the last three years. I have a great passion for this franchise because I followed this franchise since the ABA years. I know what Indiana's all about. I know the style they want to play. I know they want these to come out every day and work hard not only during the games but in practice. They want them to be good citizens. That's what we're trying to change here and I think we're on the right track. Eventually, it's all going to come together.

Q. In terms of the areas of the roster you'd like to address during the rest of this summer, particularly with Darrell Armstrong in a sort of limbo, do you want to get another point guard? Are there other needs remaining?

A. We're still talking about D.A. but if Darrell ain't going to be here we want to make sure we get him to the place he'd like to finish his career at. Would we like to get another point guard? We might. I'm not sure because we think Andre Owens can give us a few minutes, along with Travis and maybe Marquis. If you're really looking, maybe another big guy or another shooter.

Q. Are you completely comfortable going into the season with Jamaal Tinsley as the starting point guard?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/jamaal_tinsley.jpg
<center>Tinsley</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. Yes, and I think Jimmy O'Brien will be the best coach for Jamaal, I really do. I know the working relationship they have will be the type of relationship Jamaal will buy into. Jimmy will not only on the defensive but the offensive ends have Jamaal do the things he wants done out there. I think we're a better team. I like our team. No, we didn't make the big deals everybody else has so far, but I like our team. We needed shooting and we got it. Our bench is a lot better. We've got 11, 12 guys that can play. A lot of guys don't know Stephen Graham, they don't know Andre Owens and they really don't know Travis other than from college. But you'll see a big difference in the way we approach the game.

Q. Have you been encouraged by the reports you've gotten about the players' progress on their various offseason programs?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/troy_murphy.jpg
<center>Murphy</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. Well, with Murph, the one thing we saw last year was he didn't play as tough as he did in the past. You've got to understand, Murph was a double-double guy for three years in this league. I think in Golden State they wanted to run so they lost a lot of weight. Now he's bulking up. The thing we do in the summer is send our trainers and strength and conditioning guys out everywhere our players are at and we set them up with programs that are going to do the things we need them to do. Our guys go out and check on them about every two or three weeks and they can see the difference in them. And Marquis has been here just about every day and his knee's doing well. He says this is the first time he's played without pain. He's very valuable to our team. Marquis is a different type of player but he's going to be very valuable to what we're trying to accomplish.


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

I haven't even read this yet (yes, gentle readers, I was more concerned with formatting it for you all before taking the time to read it myself), but there's sure a lot of stuff being fed from the "mouths" since the quotes from JO.

GrangerRanger
08-07-2007, 12:29 PM
I like Kareem, but even I had to laugh over the "One of the best shooters in the league.":laugh:

Naptown_Seth
08-07-2007, 12:31 PM
Let me summerize...

STANDING PAT, GET USED TO IT


I have. I'm ready to see this group have a go at it, bad or not. They've sparked my curiousity.

blanket
08-07-2007, 12:38 PM
Doesn't this belong in the JO trade thread? ;) j/k

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

These are the bits I found most interesting:



Our bench is a lot deeper now than it was last year. We added Kareem Rush, one of the best shooters in the league. We added Travis Diener, who I think's going to be one heck of a point guard, be able to run the pick-and-roll, play the style Coach O'Brien wants to play. These guys play with a lot of passion. We picked up Andre Owens and Stephen Graham, great, great role-players that can play minutes for you and they will be playing this year. The style Jimmy's going to be playing is the style I want to play. I want to get up and down the court a little bit faster.




There's no confusion to me. Rebuilding, to me, is when you take your top players and trade them for draft picks and young players.

According to JO's quotes, this is what the FO said they're planning to do...


Well, with Murph, the one thing we saw last year was he didn't play as tough as he did in the past. You've got to understand, Murph was a double-double guy for three years in this league. I think in Golden State they wanted to run so they lost a lot of weight. Now he's bulking up. The thing we do in the summer is send our trainers and strength and conditioning guys out everywhere our players are at and we set them up with programs that are going to do the things we need them to do. Our guys go out and check on them about every two or three weeks and they can see the difference in them. And Marquis has been here just about every day and his knee's doing well. He says this is the first time he's played without pain. He's very valuable to our team. Marquis is a different type of player but he's going to be very valuable to what we're trying to accomplish.

pacers_1
08-07-2007, 12:52 PM
he says that they have murphey bulking up because in golden state they made him lose weight because they wanted to run but i thought we were going to run this year

Rajah Brown
08-07-2007, 12:53 PM
The next time either Brunner or Monteith actually ask or follow up w/
Bird or Walsh with a legit, but confrontational/contraversial question
will be the first time.

I mean c'mon. You just let LB shovel that Rush is one of the best
shooters in the NBA bs and move right past it...?

Hicks
08-07-2007, 12:55 PM
he says that they have murphey bulking up because in golden state they made him lose weight because they wanted to run but i thought we were going to run this year

My guess is he mentions the running as his explanation for why they'd have him slim down (and nothing more).

avoidingtheclowns
08-07-2007, 01:00 PM
he says that they have murphey bulking up because in golden state they made him lose weight because they wanted to run but i thought we were going to run this year

i assume bird would say golden state runs and outscores you but plays no defense. the pacers want to play solid D and shoot well and get the ball across the halfcourt line faster but not just shoot without regard for human life.

Naptown_Seth
08-07-2007, 01:07 PM
My guess is he mentions the running as his explanation for why they'd have him slim down (and nothing more).
No, he's right to say there is a contradiction there. He's talking about the team playing more the way he wants which means getting up and down the court.

Then he turns and says that they have having Troy bulk up to get back to being tough (ie, stop getting beat on the contested glass) because all the running in GS ended up slimming him down. So good F'n luck with that, bulking a guy up to play a style that will run his weight right back down. Worked great for Bender and JO...


I like that Bird has this JOB uptempo vision apparently, but his comments also still come off as confused or contradictory as if that vision isn't really as clear as he implies. He strongly states that Owens and Graham are going to play real minutes for the team (okay, I'll assume that means 10 mpg). That would shock me at this point.

He also mostly downplays Dun and Troy you'll notice. Most of what is going to be good about this team is all these NEW guys. It comes off as a sales pitch to me, trying to say "see, all new, fixed everything, now we can finally run thanks to these new guys and the shooters".

Yet they traded a 40+ 3pt shooter to GS last year. So again I wonder about the plan that goes with this vision. I see a lot of efforts going in different directions, and mostly just doing what their limited hand will let them do, vision be damned.


i assume bird would say golden state runs and outscores you but plays no defense. the pacers want to play solid D and shoot well and get the ball across the halfcourt line faster but not just shoot without regard for human life.
Wait, did the fire JOB already? Yeah, I wouldn't assume that "shoot without regard" part just yet. It's been the MO up till now for his offenses.

Speed
08-07-2007, 01:15 PM
Jimmy


There's our secret source from a few weeks ago.

JayRedd
08-07-2007, 01:17 PM
I like our team. No, we didn't make the big deals everybody else has so far, but I like our team.

Well, that makes one of us.

And for those of you that don't have the time to read this whole pile of words, here's the gist:



The way Jimmy plays
shooters
up and down the court
Diener
shooters
Jimmy's style
12th/13th man contributions
good citizens
Kareem Rush, one of the best shooters in the league
players practicing this summer
Marquis feels good
change of scenary
JOB's system
shooters
Diener
the way Jimmy plays
we're trying to change here and I think we're on the right track. Eventually, it's all going to come together.

avoidingtheclowns
08-07-2007, 01:18 PM
Wait, did the fire JOB already? Yeah, I wouldn't assume that "shoot without regard" part just yet. It's been the MO up till now for his offenses.

i'm trying to break down what i think bird meant. i tend to agree with you but o'brien and bird keep saying they'll only take shots when they're open and a player's feet are set. which isn't nellie's system which is something like "if you haven't shot the ball before you cross the halfcourt line get outta my gym!"


There's our secret source from a few weeks ago.

indeed

Reggierock
08-07-2007, 01:21 PM
I like Kareem, but even I had to laugh over the "One of the best shooters in the league.":laugh:

At least he (bird) follows through with his own hype. Still, you could do a lot worse than Rush.

Trader Joe
08-07-2007, 01:24 PM
Let me summerize...

STANDING PAT, GET USED TO IT


I have. I'm ready to see this group have a go at it, bad or not. They've sparked my curiousity.

Agreed. At least if the bottom completely falls out we have the draft to look forward to. Not to mention I completely agree that JOB is the perfect coach for Tinsley.

count55
08-07-2007, 02:03 PM
The next time either Brunner or Monteith actually ask or follow up w/
Bird or Walsh with a legit, but confrontational/contraversial question
will be the first time.

I mean c'mon. You just let LB shovel that Rush is one of the best
shooters in the NBA bs and move right past it...?


Brunner works for the Pacers...you're expecting penetrating interviews?

I'm on an investor's call with our CFO this afternoon...know what I'm gonna do? When he start's spinning, I'm just gonna say "Sorry, Jordan. I'm going to have to throw the bull**** card on that one."

How do you think that one's going to work out for me?

Oneal07
08-07-2007, 02:09 PM
After reading this. . Jermaine is not going to get traded!!

diamonddave00
08-07-2007, 02:19 PM
After reading this all I get from it is Bird saying he's plan today . If Lakers , Nets or whoever calls with an offer he likes JO is gone. Bird hopefully has at least sets of plans Pacers with JO---- Pacers without JO. Because Larry will trade JO in a heartbeat if he gets what he wants.

rexnom
08-07-2007, 02:26 PM
Did he just compare the KG and Rashard Lewis acquisitions to the Kareem Rush and Travis Diener acquisition?

JayRedd
08-07-2007, 02:29 PM
Did he just compare the KG and Rashard Lewis acquisitions to the Kareem Rush and Travis Diener acquisition?

What's wrong with that?

Rashard Lewis is one of the best shooters in the NBA and so is Kareem Rush. Seems logical to me.

rexnom
08-07-2007, 03:07 PM
What's wrong with that?

Rashard Lewis is one of the best shooters in the NBA and so is Kareem Rush. Seems logical to me.
Yeah, I guess...and I'm pretty sure Travis Diener can shoot like KG and run the pick-and-roll as well...I see now. Thanks for clearing that up.

Dr. Goldfoot
08-07-2007, 03:35 PM
Q. Are you completely comfortable going into the season with Jamaal Tinsley as the starting point guard?

<table align="right" width="65"><tbody><tr><td>http://www.nba.com/media/playerfile/jamaal_tinsley.jpg
<center>Tinsley</center></td></tr></tbody></table>
A. Yes, and I think Jimmy O'Brien will be the best coach for Jamaal, I really do. I know the working relationship they have will be the type of relationship Jamaal will buy into. Jimmy will not only on the defensive but the offensive ends have Jamaal do the things he wants done out there.




That's really all I care about anymore. JO will still be here.

Jamaal Tinsley
Rush or Daniels
Granger
JO
Foster

There's your Indiana Pacer starting lineup. I'm fine with it.

GrangerRanger
08-07-2007, 04:16 PM
I kinda of like what he said in the article about Andre Owens. I hope we really do give him a chance and see what happens.

Kegboy
08-07-2007, 04:20 PM
Well, that makes one of us.

And for those of you that don't have the time to read this whole pile of words, here's the gist:


The way Jimmy plays
shooters
up and down the court
Diener
shooters
Jimmy's style
12th/13th man contributions
good citizens
Kareem Rush, one of the best shooters in the league
players practicing this summer
Marquis feels good
change of scenary
JOB's system
shooters
Diener
the way Jimmy plays
we're trying to change here and I think we're on the right track. Eventually, it's all going to come together.

You left out Dick Harter, Dick Harter, and Dick Harter.

Naptown_Seth
08-07-2007, 04:21 PM
If Dick Harter continues to coach for more than 4 hours consult a doctor.

DisplacedKnick
08-07-2007, 04:22 PM
I like Kareem, but even I had to laugh over the "One of the best shooters in the league.":laugh:

I just checked this thread ...

My comment to that statement was, "Uh, Larry - a little hint - Kareem Rush wasn't IN the league. He was in EUROPE."

All the spin's making me dizzy.

d_c
08-07-2007, 04:32 PM
he says that they have murphey bulking up because in golden state they made him lose weight because they wanted to run but i thought we were going to run this year

I can tell you that bulking up Murphy doesn't work. You're banging your head against the wall if you're doing that.

Murphy with extra bulk doesn't make him a better inside player. It might help his rebounding a little bit, but it only makes him worse of an inside scorer (gives him absolutley no elevation) and not any better of a defender.

It also reduces his stamina, but that won't really matter as much if you can keep him to around 25 minutes a game, which is what he should be playing regardless of whether he's slimmed down or bulked up.

Since86
08-07-2007, 04:42 PM
Without getting into a big physiological debate, all I will say is that your basis is wrong.

Adding bulk back to a player like Murphy, who's game isn't any where close designed to speed and agility isn't a negative.

LoneGranger33
08-07-2007, 04:44 PM
Did he just compare the KG and Rashard Lewis acquisitions to the Kareem Rush and Travis Diener acquisition?

He knows a future MVP candidate when he sees one. And the Rush/Lewis comparison is not about this year, but for the future, when TPTB sign Kareem to a 8-year, 172 million dollar contract.

avoidingtheclowns
08-07-2007, 04:44 PM
he's also speaking from watching murphy in GSW... when murphy added bulk when they tried to make him more of a PF/C than a PF/SF he slowed down and lost lift. so logic aside, troy demonstrated just that

EDIT: LOL @ LG33's sig...nice

Hicks
08-07-2007, 04:47 PM
I Didn't Demand a Trade to the Lakers, but if I Did, Here's How I Would Do it
A novel by Jermaine O'Neal





:laugh:

Since86
08-07-2007, 05:00 PM
he's also speaking from watching murphy in GSW... when murphy added bulk when they tried to make him more of a PF/C than a PF/SF he slowed down and lost lift. so logic aside, troy demonstrated just that

EDIT: LOL @ LG33's sig...nice


You're going the opposite way from what Bird said. He was a double-double guy for three years before he lost weight, while he was more bulky. His production went down as did his weight.


A. Well, with Murph, the one thing we saw last year was he didn't play as tough as he did in the past. You've got to understand, Murph was a double-double guy for three years in this league.

He's not a quick player. He needs to be able to push people around, or not get pushed around, when he's inside. Plus, him adding bulk isn't going to hinder his outside shot, because he's a spot up shooter to begin with. His lift isn't going to be affected, because he has no lift. You can barely slide a piece of bread under his feet when he shoots, which is why he jumps forward on his release, instead of elevating and going straight up.

The thing we do in the summer is send our trainers and strength and conditioning guys out everywhere our players are at and we set them up with programs that are going to do the things we need them to do. Our guys go out and check on them about every two or three weeks and they can see the difference in them.

d_c
08-07-2007, 06:13 PM
Murphy bulked up after his rookie year. He came back for his 2nd season and had his best year as a pro (double double along with a decent enough shooting %). Then he bulked up some more. Then he got foot injuries his 3rd year. Then he got a big contract from Mullin. Then he shot 41% FG in his 4th year and got his shot blocked by guys like Aaron Mckie.

He slimmed down in his 6th year (last season) because Nellie asked everyone to come in lighter. That's when the only thing noticeable that went down for him was his rebounding.

Murphy has never once in his career pushed anyone around inside. Despite all the added bulk and endless hours spent in the gym, he was still unable to post up on your average 6'6" wing player. Whenever he tried posting up a guard, he'd just wind up shooting a 15 foot fadeaway.

This bulking up was a problem because 1) it helped get him injured and 2) he was a reasonably mobile guy for his height when he first got in the league. I thought he was pretty effective as a high post guy who could shoot the foul line jumper and put the ball on the floor going to the bucket from time to time. Early on, he had more lift. He could actually dunk on guys if he had a running start. I know that's hard to imagine now, but he could actually do some of that his first two years in the league.

The Warriors foolishly first tried to bulk him up to be more of an inside player, and then when that failed they made him work on his 3 point shot. They made him go away from the things that made him look like a pretty good role player his first 2 years in the league. What they ended up with was a bigger, slower guy who could rebound better but still couldn't score inside and was more injury prone.