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Suaveness
01-28-2004, 04:08 PM
there was a JO article that was on the front page of ESPN's NBA page, can you post that here?
:dance:

Hicks
01-28-2004, 04:49 PM
Here you go:

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O'Neal's defense powering Pacers

By Greg Anthony
ESPN Insider


Is Jermaine O'Neal the MVP? You sure could make a strong case for it when you consider what his team has accomplished thus far and his impact on the game at both ends.


Jermaine O'Neal
Power Forward
Indiana Pacers
Profile


2003-2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
45 21.0 10.6 2.0 .440 .760
He has significantly improved his individual and team defense to really solidify the Pacers' front line. Last year, while his offense showed significant improvement, let's just say he was defensively challenged. When you can't guard your own man, whether in the paint or on the perimeter, it forces your team into a constant state of help. That, in turn, breaks down the team's ability to control the defensive boards. It also gives good teams a 3-on-2 mismatch on the weak side and allows for open shots and penetration to the basket.

Now keep in mind that in the NBA everyone gets beaten, but not everyone gets beaten down. In the past, teams would attack Jermaine when they had the personnel to do so. That was the Pacers' weakness. It isn't any more, and that is a testament to this kid's desire to be best. He has committed himself to becoming one of the very best, and he will only get better. Not everyone possesses this trait. Not everyone wants the pressure of competing at the highest level.

The other area of improvement defensively is O'Neal's understanding of how to play weak-side and help defense. It's critical to know where the ball is in relation to the basket, and he has really improved his awareness of this, as well as his reaction. When an opposing player knows you're going to be there to block shots and put a body on penetrators, they are less apt to want to attack the basket. Once they start to settle for jump shots, everyone's defense improves. As a defender, when you know the front line is there to protect, it allows you to be even more aggressive on the perimeter.


O'Neal is rapidly becoming one of the elite big men in the NBA.
This is a big factor in the success of teams like San Antonio (with Tim Duncan), Houston (Yao Ming) and Detroit (Ben Wallace). When teams know they don't have an open season on the basket in the halfcourt, it takes away a huge part of their offensive capability.

A lot of young players are unwilling to make this sacrifice on the defensive end, because it takes a tremendous amount of effort and sacrifice and can impact their production on the offensive end. But the players and teams who do make the sacrifice are the ones who typically compete for championships.

Jermaine O'Neal has made the commitment and joins Ron Artest to give the Pacers two guys who can dominate a game on the defensive end. That is a huge advantage, because when that becomes a part of your personality, the officials tend to give you the benefit of the doubt on close calls. That little edge will win a lot of close games down the stretch and on into the playoffs.

With all the talk about O'Neal's improvement and dominance on the defensive end, let's not overlook what he is doing with the ball. His offense has improved by leaps and bounds mainly because he can consistently knock down the 17-foot jump shot, and that gives any big man a huge advantage in attacking defenses. Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber and Tim Duncan come to mind as guys who have mastered the art of the jump shot. It gives you the opportunity to get easy baskets and relieves the pressure of always having to play out of double teams in the post.

The biggest problem big men have is defending on the perimeter. Plus, the rotations make it much more difficult to double team a big away from the basket. Other than Shaq, all the best bigs in the league can take their defender outside and pose a legitimate scoring threat, and it is what separates them from the rest.

But O'Neal also adds the ability to beat people off the dribble, and on the low block he can go left or right (and actually prefers going left). His passing is coming around, too. He's still not as good as he could be, but he's definitely improved from a year ago. All things considered, this guy is becoming a force that opposing teams will find it harder and harder to deal with.

If the Pacers continue to perform at this level, O'Neal will give KG and TD a legit run for the MVP and possibly for the ultimate prize, a world championship. He has come a long way from being on the practice squad in Portland. You think the Blazers would like to re-think that Dale Davis trade from a few years ago? What do you think a front line of Rasheed Wallace, Zach Randolph, and Jermaine could do out West?

Greg Anthony, a veteran of 11 NBA seasons, is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider.

Hicks
01-28-2004, 04:55 PM
Damn, I'm glad he's ours! :mango:

ChicagoJ
01-28-2004, 05:31 PM
But O'Neal also adds the ability to beat people off the dribble, and on the low block he can go left or right (and actually prefers going left). His passing is coming around, too. He's still not as good as he could be, but he's definitely improved from a year ago. All things considered, this guy is becoming a force that opposing teams will find it harder and harder to deal with.


I'm now ready for him to spend a summer working with Bill Walton to improve his passing. Even last summer would have been a year too soon. Once he masters passing out of a double-team (hell, once he gets to being decent at passing out of a double team), LOOK OUT WORLD!!

Ragnar
02-02-2004, 01:22 PM
You know as pissed off as I am with Donnie over the Brad Miller thing I have to say he is a freaking genious. Everyone (myself included) thought Portland robbed the Pacers. No one thinks that now.

The Chicago trade was for Brad but he got them to throw in Ron Artest :o It kind of makes me think the trade was for Artest all along and Donnie just let people think it was for Brad.

MagicRat
02-02-2004, 03:31 PM
The Chicago trade was for Brad but he got them to throw in Ron Artest :o It kind of makes me think the trade was for Artest all along and Donnie just let people think it was for Brad.

I think somebody is forgetting that Isiah built this team...... :shakehead:

Ragnar
02-02-2004, 03:33 PM
The Chicago trade was for Brad but he got them to throw in Ron Artest :o It kind of makes me think the trade was for Artest all along and Donnie just let people think it was for Brad.

I think somebody is forgetting that Isiah built this team...... :shakehead:

Oops my bad I forgot Isiah is the genious. Or is it genie?