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Will Galen
10-03-2008, 04:36 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/SPORTS04/810030453/1088/SPORTS04

2-headed monster can help
Ford confident he and Jack can push Pacers to playoffs
By Mike Wells (mike.wells@indystar.com)
Posted: October 3, 2008

T.J. Ford says all you have to do is look at his track record.

In his previous two stops before coming to the Indiana Pacers, Ford teamed with his backup to give his respective team one of the top point guard tandems in the league, and he played an important part in leading those teams to the playoffs. <object classid="clsid<img src=" http:="" www.pacersdigest.com="" apache2-default="" images="" smilies="" biggrin_pd.gif="" alt="" title="biggrin" smilieid="3" class="inlineimg" border="0">
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He did it in Milwaukee with Mo Williams. He did it again in Toronto with Jose Calderon. Now Ford plans to have the same kind of success in Indiana with Jarrett Jack.

"We definitely could be one of the top tandems in the league," Ford said Thursday. "Coming into the places I've been, nobody felt the point guard was going to be that dominant in Toronto and Milwaukee, and look at what we turned it into. I don't see why the same thing won't happen here."

That would be good news for the Pacers, especially coach Jim O'Brien, who has had a revolving door of point guards during his NBA (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/SPORTS04/810030453/1088/SPORTS04#) head coaching career.

After the Pacers missed the playoffs last season, O'Brien said they needed to improve their point guard play. He said he no longer could trust injury-prone Jamaal Tinsley.

"I thought our biggest hole was at the point guard spot because Jamaal's history was that he got injured a lot," O'Brien said. "Andre (Owens) didn't work out as well. At the end of the year, we were bringing in people off the waiver wire. That's not a good situation to have."

They solved their problems the week of the draft.

First, they worked out a trade to Toronto for Ford. Then, on draft night, they selected point guard Jerryd Bayless at No. 11 and traded him to Portland for Brandon Rush, Josh McRoberts and Jack, the experienced point guard they coveted to complement Ford.

Ford and Jack's job is pretty simple -- be an extension of the coach, push the tempo and contain dribble penetration, another glaring weakness last season. Travis Diener, who had a 4.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, is the third point guard. O'Brien has yet to name a starter, but Ford appears to have the edge.

"The thing is we're trying to make each other better," Ford said. "Me, Jack and Travis all feel the same way. It's all about getting this team where it needs to be. The track record speaks for itself. I improved and the people behind me improved at the other two places I played at."

Neither Ford nor Jack is shy. The two constantly make points to teammates in practice.

Ford isn't a feared shooter -- 31 percent in his career on 3-pointers -- but he uses his quickness and strength to get to the basket. Jack can play both guard positions.

"T.J. is one of the quickest guys in the league," Jack said. "I can push the tempo like him and I think I can stretch the defense a little more with my shooting. I'm excited because coach said he's going to throw us out there together at times."

Both still are learning the nuances of O'Brien's offense.

"The ball has to move, and it's not that we don't respect their ability to dribble, but the ball travels faster (on passes) than a dribble," O'Brien said. "We have a style where they'll have the ball in their hands a lot and they'll be penetrating a lot, but in order to open up avenues and driving lanes, the ball has to be moved."
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Sounds good to me, but most everything does at this time of year.

duke dynamite
10-03-2008, 04:46 AM
Odd choice of words..."monster".

Gyron
10-03-2008, 08:41 AM
When I saw two headed monster, I had flashes of Walsh/Bird...Bad choice of words for this board....

McKeyFan
10-03-2008, 10:08 AM
I'm getting excited about seeing this:

Ford
Jack
Dun
Granger
(Center)

I've heard grumblings it won't work. But I'm holding out hope.

Here's one more. Anybody think this could work in certain small-ball situations?

Ford
Jack
Rush
Dun
Granger

Putnam
10-03-2008, 01:06 PM
Two comments:

Instead of "Two-headed monster" we ought to adopt the phrase "Thunder and Lightning" when referring to our point guard tandem.

Jarrett Jack used that term in his first interview after he came to the Pacers, and it emphasizes how these two different players can complement each other: speed and height, offense and defense, one-on-one scoring versus team facilitator, etc.

Also, can I plead with everyone to be clear about which "Jack" you are talking about? "Jack" is already shorthand for the Pacers' great point guard of the 90s and for a shooting guard they had for a couple of seasons.

In the months to come, I am sure we're going to have comments like: "Jack impresses me as a pretty good all-around scorer -- maybe the best we've had at the 2 since Jack. Of course Jack can't handle the ball as well as Jack used to do but he doesn't have the baggage that Jack did."

ChicagoJ
10-03-2008, 01:37 PM
"We definitely could be one of the top tandems in the league," Ford said Thursday. "Coming into the places I've been, nobody felt the point guard was going to be that dominant in Toronto and Milwaukee, and look at what we turned it into. I don't see why the same thing won't happen here."

....

"The thing is we're trying to make each other better," Ford said. "Me, Jack and Travis all feel the same way. It's all about getting this team where it needs to be. The track record speaks for itself. I improved and the people behind me improved at the other two places I played at."

I have failed at to resisting temptation to point out that it was some of Ford's weaknesses that prompted the playing time for his backups.

Hey, it was in today's paper - I'm not starting a bazillion threads on the subject, but I think that the Starting PG question is the biggest uncertainty of this season. Ford may "appear to have the edge" (quoting Wells) now but I'm pretty sure the "edge" will deteriorate over the season just like it did in his previous two stops.

Ford reminds me of everything I didn't like about Travis Best - quick and can get to the basket but too small to finish, can defend the dribble but easily shot over, below average court vision and distribution skills. Its no secret that I'm hoping Jack turns into the next Mo Williams/ Calderon and makes Ford expendable while he still has trade value.

On the other hand, credit to Bird - much as I hate doing so - for not just stopping with Ford, but playing it forward (or replaying Ford's previous two stops) to the point that he realized that he needed to get somebody to go with Ford if those deficencies reveal themselves again.

Since86
10-03-2008, 04:16 PM
Ford reminds me of everything I didn't like about Travis Best - quick and can get to the basket but too small to finish, can defend the dribble but easily shot over, below average court vision and distribution skills. Its no secret that I'm hoping Jack turns into the next Mo Williams/ Calderon and makes Ford expendable while he still has trade value.

Ford is nothing like Travis on the offensive end. Travis was a SG put in a small PG body, not even a "tweener." He was a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE PG.

I can't believe you didn't even mention Travis' major flaw. He literally would dribble the shot clock away. That's not even close to how TJ plays. He distributes the ball very well, and in a timely manner I might add.

Travis was a good jumpshooter. TJ is not. TJ does finish in the lane, better than Travis atleast.

There is very little similarities between the two offensively wise, subtracting body type.

Hicks
10-03-2008, 05:14 PM
I'd also say TJ is quicker & faster than Travis. A better passer, too. Best was probably stronger than him, and a better defender.

imawhat
10-03-2008, 11:34 PM
Two comments:

Instead of "Two-headed monster" we ought to adopt the phrase "Thunder and Lightning" when referring to our point guard tandem.


How about "Boardwalk and Park Place"?

I'm very interested to see how this pans out. We'll have two starting-level point guards, so the team will be in good hands most of the time, assuming they stay healthy.

I can't wait for people to see them play, especially those who aren't so familiar with either of them.

Merz
10-05-2008, 12:21 AM
I have failed at to resisting temptation to point out that it was some of Ford's weaknesses that prompted the playing time for his backups.

Hey, it was in today's paper - I'm not starting a bazillion threads on the subject, but I think that the Starting PG question is the biggest uncertainty of this season. Ford may "appear to have the edge" (quoting Wells) now but I'm pretty sure the "edge" will deteriorate over the season just like it did in his previous two stops.

Ford reminds me of everything I didn't like about Travis Best - quick and can get to the basket but too small to finish, can defend the dribble but easily shot over, below average court vision and distribution skills. Its no secret that I'm hoping Jack turns into the next Mo Williams/ Calderon and makes Ford expendable while he still has trade value.

On the other hand, credit to Bird - much as I hate doing so - for not just stopping with Ford, but playing it forward (or replaying Ford's previous two stops) to the point that he realized that he needed to get somebody to go with Ford if those deficencies reveal themselves again.


Again, I'm wondering if you've ever seen TJ play or are you just basing this off the fact that TJ and Travis have simular height and nothing more. What gets me in your comment is stating that Ford has below average court vision and distribution skills. That is simply not true. He does have the occasional bout of ball hogging but he really can get on a roll distributing the ball. I could easily see TJ being in the top 10 and quite possibly the top five in assist per game if he gets his 30-32 minutes per game (especially in our running offense).

Milwaukee trading Ford instead of Mo Williams was clearly a mistake as they quickly became a much worse team.

How bout giving the guy a chance instead of prejudging him just because he was the central peice in the deal that sent your boy JO out of town.

sweabs
10-05-2008, 12:33 AM
I have to agree with Merz here. Sure, TJ has his times where he tries to do too much of the scoring on offense. However, he can definitely be a facilitator when he wants to. He is very good at penetrating and kicking. He'll leave his feet when he gets near the rim, but he always seems to kick it out to a wide open guy on the perimeter.