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thunderbird1245
12-28-2008, 01:55 AM
One of cable television's highest rated shows stars Kyra Sedgwick, the actress wife of Kevin Bacon, as a detective working for Los Angeles Police Department as head of what they call their Priority Homicide Division. The entire plot of the show is that she was brought in to finish difficult cases that LAPD couldn't seem to get finished.....the name of the show is, appropriately, "The Closer."

While I'm not recommending we bring a Hollywood actress to help run our franchise, I do think our Pacers are in desperate, more than any team in the league perhaps, would be helped by obtaining a "closer"....someone who gets the job done, regardless of how it may look or feel.

To be clear, I'm not talking about a "closer" in an offensive sense, as it is usually referred to in basketball. I am instead referring to our inability to stop teams from scoring, particularly in crunch time, but in reality all throughout the game. Consider some following stats:

The Pacers are 10-19 as I currently write this. As of now, the are I believe the 4th or 5th worst field goal percentage defense in the league, and while I havent looked it up lately, we also foul I think more than most teams in the league, giving up more foul shots by far than the average NBA team, with the usual exception of Utah.

In spite of that, in those 19 losses, we have had the lead in the 4th quarter a staggering 12 times! In addition to that, I believe we have been within 1 possession during the final 3 minutes 8 of those losses, and have been (by my unofficial count) ahead 5 different times in the last 20 seconds, only to see our opponents score baskets at the end of games to either win or send games into overtime, where we have also been pitiful. Someone else can list all the specific games, but off the top of my head at midnight on a Saturday night I can think of the Boston game (Ray Allen hits a three), the Charlotte game at home (Ray Felton sends it into overtime) and the New Jersey game this week (Devin Harris scores at the buzzer). I know there have been a few more....after a while, it becomes hard to keep track.

Our lack of ability to make any team in the league struggle offensively, no matter how poor they may be, is the single biggest factor in my view of why we aren't 16-13, or 14-15, or somewhere much better than we currently are at least. Coming from a coaching perspective, our defense is so abysmal at times that it makes us difficult to watch, even when we win a shootout against a fellow doormat such as Golden State this week.

I believe the time has come to at least start to ask some difficult questions of ourselves, to our Pacers, and to our fellow fans. As I see it, the defensive problems at their core can be boiled down to three central elements: Effort, scheme, and talent. This thread will attempt to hit all three topics, and hopefully create some quality discussion.

I'll discuss effort first.

The popular thing I read or hear from casual fans, and sometimes on here, is that the Pacers are downtrodden, but at least we are happy with the effort they are giving. I know it makes us feel better to think that and verbalize it, but isn't this just damning with faint praise?

I expected and demanded effort from my teams in my coaching days, and I expect it from my employees and myself everyday. I am sure most of you experience those feelings everyday too at your jobs. Giving your best, your maximum effort, as a professional athlete is not only expected, it should be a given. I no longer will give our Pacers a pass for incredibly bad or stupid play defensively just because of the shadow word of "hustle" or "effort". That is a staple, not a bonus plan....nothing for me to be excited about anymore, and you shouldn't lower your expectations of success just because your team seems to "hustle", if they are completely unsuccessful while doing so!

Everyone, and me included until now, has been over-rating our team's hustle and effort anyway, I guess because it makes us feel better about things, I don't know. But effort has to come from the mental side too, and if our "effort" was truly so great then we should be seeing at least some marginal improvement collectively by now. We aren't seeing that, in fact I think we are regressing defensively.

Praising effort can be a cop out for fans to say something nice about bad teams. Here in Bloomington, you often here about the IU fans (of which I am one and proud of it) praise this years team for always hustling and "playing hard". People say that, but they don't know what it really means at times. You see a player hustle after a loose ball or just get to help side in time to take a charge, and everybody says "great effort!". Well, it isn't always great effort, in fact it is often because the player was late and out of position to start with, thereby creating a driving lane...if the player on defense truly was demonstrating "great effort", he would have been in the right place to begin with, and the drive may never have been attempted.

My bottom line is this: Playing hard or semi hard most nights isn't good enough for me. My standards are higher than that, and our team should be better defensively than it is. We don't improve, we don't get tougher, we don't get physical, and lately, we don't seem all that bothered as a team or as fans even when our defense becomes more and more porous. In fact, there is a certain human nature that wants us to just accept it for what it is....but acceptance of failure is, well, unacceptable!

Maybe its just the late hour, our my cranky mood, but our Pacers are starting to just roll over and accept the losing I am afraid, and I'm afraid it is happening here too among us. Realism is one thing, but accepting mediocre effort and results is something else. No more lip service to playing tougher defense guys, either get the job done, or we will find someone else who will.....that is the type of message I am longing to hear someone say on the coaching staff.

That is a good lead-in to my next discussion point, which is our defensive scheme, and the ability of our coaches to get it to work.

I hear people say often that our scheme is similar to what Boston runs. Well, I am a coach/scout by trade, and I breakdown teams on film at the high school level alot. Either we are trying to do something more complex than Boston that to me is unidentifiable, or we just completely stink at doing what the coaches are attempting to install. Regardless, something will need to change from a coaching standpoint defensively, because we are beyond porous.

Our perimeter guys, especially it seems to me our point guards although they arent the only culprits, are still getting beat WAY to easily and too often off the dribble. This is causing our alreadly slow and weak inside guys to have to overreact and help too much, and our complicated rotations out of help are way too slow, and therefore we give up easy jumpers uncontested way too often.

Other problems exist too of course. Our screen/roll defensive scheme has cost us at least 2 games at the end I can think of (Boston game and one more I can't remember), when our big man INEXPLICABLY, when helping "hedge" on the ballhandler/shooter, LEFT THE BALL TOO SOON to rotate back to his man (before the original defender was in position) and gave up an open three point shot to beat us eventually. In the Boston game at Conseco, it was Jeff Foster (a vet who should know better) who left RAY FREAKIN ALLEN alone at the top of the circle with the Pacers ahead 3. Allen of course nailed the three ahead of a flailing attempt by a too late Marquis Daniels, and the Pacers lost eventually.

We are not "tied together" very well defensively. Do you want something to watch in a Pacer game to prove this? One of the keys to man to man defense that is successful is the theory of "jumping to the ball". That is the principle of when the opponent makes a pass, that all 5 of your defenders should slide toward the ball one slide, in a defensive stance, reacting as one force to help stop the shot. I cannot tell you how much a typical high school team in this state that is well taught practices that....it is an old fundamental. Some coaches (including yours truly) have tied the defenisve players together by rope even, FORCING them to move as one in help position. The oldest defensive drill in the world is the "4 man shell drill".....and the Pacers look like they've never heard of it. Watch how the Pacers weakside defenders do not all react jointly to a pass, and you'll see what I mean.

You know what? Maybe our scheme is too complicated for our players, because maybe we have the dumbest players in the league. This is a defensive thread I know, but how many times will Jarrett Jack need to leave his feet with no where to pass and turn it over in the last 2 minutes to learn not to do that? How many times will we leave a great shooter wide open at crunch time when we leave the basketball for no reason? For a professional basketball team full of players who have played their entire lives preparing for these moments, we make a ton of silly mistakes.

Which leads me to a lack of talent. Obviously, we lack some in this area. But again, I've always told my teams that intelligence and heart and effort can make you a quality defensive team. But in reality even I know that heart and "want to" can only take you so far. We badly need an influx of defensive individual talent...... our seemingly shoddy scheme might look a little better if we didn't have such dopes trying to execute it perhaps.

We need several new pieces to be a good defensive team in the future. I go back and forth about what order we need them with this group, but I'll stick with my normal philosophy I think and put them in this order:

1. An elite wing defender to guard the opponents best player so Granger doesnt have to. I know everyone is semi happy with Marquis Daniels and his offensive contributions, but in reality he is a sieve at times. Granger is a nice shot blocker and I think does play more physically like I like defensively, but we still need a bookend to play next to him.

2. We badly need a physical, strong enforcer inside....a Dale Davis type player who can intimidate physically. The Pacers have the softest bigs in the league as we know. Taking charges is nice, and our bigs do it well, but if we had better defenders on the perimeter and an enforcer inside to punish drivers, maybe teams wouldnt just dunk on us with impunity like they do now. Maybe an intimidator would keep teams from wanting to drive in the first place, especially if we committed some hard fouls! In reality, we may need a couple of guys like this....and they aren't as easy to come by as you would hope.

3. I had higher hopes for the Ford/Jack combo as a defensive pairing. Jack in particular is getting exposed at times when playing the point, and I may be the only one, but I absolutely despise playing these 2 players together. I think playing them together, combined with our already soft as charmin front line, makes us the pansiest team in the NBA. I need further study about these 2 players defensively to see if them in combination can play the position defensively the way I want. If I decide not, I may be pushing to draft a point guard in June, when back in October I would never have though that.

Speaking of the draft, there is a distinct lack of anyone I consider a superior wing defender in the draft, with the possible exception of Earl Clark from Louisville...and he is iffy to me as a potential lockdown defender. I see no real "tough guy" big power forwards either, other than Blake Griffin who I think will be an outstanding pro, an all NBA level player eventually. Other than him I don't see a tough guy who has the other skills to play next to Roy Hibbert in the future, so Larry is going to have to be creative I think to fill these holes with players already in the league I think. I like Thabeet from UCONN alot as a center anchor of defense so far, but I question whether he and Hibbert could play together, and I'm not willing to write off Roy yet at all, and in reality all those players will likely be gone by our eventual pick anyway. I think we likely will need to go the free agent route, using our MLE, or creative sign and trades.

One potential answer I think is the Lakers Trevor Ariza, who I think we should make priority number one for next summer. He is an unrestricted free agent, is likely to leave LA for a starting spot and more money, and most teams will be saving up for the summer of 2010. We will have money coming off the books in Daniels and Nesterovic, so he should be affordable, and he makes a ton of sense. No reason I can't start the drumbeat now for him, so some of you can watch him play the rest of the season with a closer eye and give us your opinions on him. I think he is perfect for one of the pieces we need to become a great defensive team.

I am very concerned about the team style and identity we are seemingly going for, or at least that Jim O'Brien is going for. I think we are soft, weak, play too small, and play too.....immature?....gutless?....wimpy? I don't know what word I would describe us now, but what I envision us being is tough, physically strong, intimidating, smart, enthusiastic.....and "relentless". I hate to quote Isiah, but he once said in his tenure that we "need some dogs". I agree with that....we need some junkyard dogs in here!

How much help would it be, for instance, to have a player like a Paul Milsap, or Trevor Ariza (I view him as a perimeter guard dog), or to go back in the past, a player like Rick Mahorn or Dale Davis? I think it could help a ton, and it is the direction that we need to go. I envision us as being the toughest, hardest to play against, most physical team in the league, not some pansy collection of jump shooters who play matador defense and try to outscore you.

Regardless of what players are here and how we play, I am and will always remain a loyal fan....after all, that is what I am and what I do, and I am sure many of you can relate. But my loyality doesnt need to be blind, and it doesnt mean I can't question things.

Larry Bird: it's time to start acquiring some players who can be athletic and mentally and physically tough enough to defend with pride, and who would rather bleed and cause blood to flow than give up a drive or a jump shot.

Jim O'Brien: it's time to quit paying lip service to defense, and to actually start demanding it be played well and played correctly. It's time to quit worrying about protecting your job, and to start doing your job! It's time to either get the players to buy in, to simplify your scheme, or to coach it and teach it better. It's time to get your assistant coaches involved, and perhaps to its time to quit being so stubborn offensively and to use your offense to help hide your swiss cheese defense.

Players: it's time to quit blaming injuries, youth, inexperience, and all the other crap excuses that the media in our town and the fans and staff may give you. It's time to suck it up and take some individual pride in stopping someone. it is time to study harder, scout better, play with even more effort and tenacity, it is time to concentrate, be more determined, and to be tougher. It's time to quit making excuses, and to start making plays that can win ballgames on the defensive end.

Fans: it's time to start holding people accountable for their play, and to raise our expectations above where they are now. We are starting to become enablers by accepting passively terrible play, and sometimes poor effort. We need to start being more demanding of this team, and not just lay back and accept our fate.

In fact, I think that is the key word: Accountability. It is time we had some regarding this team's performance, starting right now. The business side is solid now, and we have good citizens and people. All that is awesome, but I expect alot more from my favorite team than having a group of solid citizens who get their butts kicked every night.


As always, the above is just my opinion.

Tbird

Bball
12-28-2008, 02:14 AM
:amen:

I don't know what to add other than that. I whole-heartedly agree.

-Bball

rexnom
12-28-2008, 02:38 AM
[Kristen Wiig]CONFEEEESSSS!!![/Kristen Wiig]

rexnom
12-28-2008, 02:41 AM
Wait. Why do we need a wing defender? How is that a concern when Rush-Granger are our starting wings of the future?

Dr. Goldfoot
12-28-2008, 02:45 AM
I like the fact that this post is coming from T-bird. It will garner more attention than if I had somehow come up with it. I'm also happy that you didn't mangle it with all of that boring technical speak you usually bombard us with :). It's a pretty sound assessment of this team, this board and those who call the Pacers their team. I'd really like to see T-bird & UB have a civilized discussion on the current state of the defense from coaching/scheme/players etc...

CableKC
12-28-2008, 03:53 AM
TBird, long but interesting read....at least the parts that I skimmed through. Regarding the running our "Team Defense", something that I thought can be effective but requires that ALL 5 Players be in absolute sync in order for it to work....I have 4 questions.

1 ) Doesn't acquiring or drafting a Player with a High Basketball IQ....a clear requirement for a Player to properly fit into the Offense and ( most notably ) Defense....limit the # of Players that we should be interested?

Sure, we can look for some athletic freak that can rebound and block shots like Stromile Swift or tried to go after a perimeter defender like Mickael Pietrus....but both are known to be "dumb as rocks" when it comes to Basketball IQ...so they wouldn't really fit the Team. I have always been under the impression that one of the reasons ( other then being the most NBA-Ready ) why we went after Hibbert ( a smarter more fundamentally sound but clearly not the most athletic Player in the draft ) as opposed to someone like JaVale McGee or Jason Thompson ( both Players that can be considered more offensively and athletically gifted ) was due to Hibbert's high Basketball IQ....one of the requirements of Players that I thought that we have to have for anyone on our team....not only to understand how they fit into the offense but ( most notably ) the Team Defense concept. I'm not diminishing the benefits of having Players with a high Basketball IQ.....cuz I would much rather have a smart Basketball Player as opposed to a stupid one.....but it would seem that the # of options that we would have to improve our team would be limited.

2 ) Do you think that we run too much of a complex defensive system for Players to properly implement?

This goes back to the notion of having Players with High Basketball IQs. Not only does our offense seem to require Players that are Athletic to properly excel in the Offensive and Defensive end....but it requires them to have the smarts to properly implement the defense since the whole notion of Team Defense hinges on everyone doing everything right in order for it to work. This was one of the reasons why I suspect that Diogu was moved.....he was a pure Low-Post scorer ( something that we lack now )...but couldn't grasp the Team Defense and therefore never fit JO'Bs team.

3 ) Given the players that we have, basically a team with pourous perimeter defense and soft interior defenders, are we running the right type of defense?

From what I have seen of this team so far, I get the impression that we can go one of 2 ways......wait til next season to try to address the 2 problems that you mention ( acquire/draft a wing defender and interior defensive presense ) and stick with the same defensive system that we run OR completely scrap the Team Defense concept and change our Defensive system to one that may fit the likely 8-9 Players that we will have in our primary rotation for the next 2-3 seasons.

4 ) Since you appear to be much smarter then me when it comes to Basketball matters, do we actually run a similiar type of defense that the Celtics run?

You ( as well as others in the past ) brought up the notion that "in theory" the Pacers defense is similiar "in nature" to Boston's defense. Obviously, the Celtics defense is the best in the league while ours is one of the worst. I don't see the similiarity.....with the obvious difference in the pace of the offense ( which I understand can affect the defense ).

As for our Wing Defenders, you touch AGAIN on something that we have discussed before.......in the previous offseason, we both agreed that we needed to pursue a Player like Quiton Ross.....a roleplaying Guard lockdown type perimeter Defender. After seeing how Ariza harassed, hounded and shutdown Granger in the 4th QTR of the most recent Pacer/Laker game.....I couldn't agree more that IF we have to pursue a Wing Defender in the 2009 Offseason that we should try to make a run for him. There is a reason why top Lockdown defenders are locked down for 3 or 4 year contracts....every team needs one and once they get one...they are locked up for $3-5 mil a year type contracts. Anyone know if Ariza is a Restricted or Unrestricted FA for the Lakers?

thunderbird1245
12-28-2008, 07:18 AM
Wait. Why do we need a wing defender? How is that a concern when Rush-Granger are our starting wings of the future?

I am not as high on Rush as several on this board are, although I think potentially he could develop into a fine NBA player and potential starting level player.

But, in my mind, he projects to be a 6th-7th man type....sort of a well-rounded supersub who can do multiple things well but who doesn't have one super-skill. He projects to me, in an ideal setting, to be a James Posey level player......a key member of the rotation, first or second sub off the bench for a really good team.

Tbird

DGPR
12-28-2008, 09:06 AM
I didn't realize Trevor Ariza was so young, he's in his 4th year in the league and he's only 23.

D-BONE
12-28-2008, 10:44 AM
I am all about Ariza and have been for a while. He's a lockdown wing in waiting. LA absolutely fleeced Orlando IMO in the deal where they acquired him. Rush and Granger are or will be good defenders, but not great defenders. Ariza has a chance to reach that level.

I also agree with disappointment at the PG so far. Of course it's better than Tins, but their defense is less than I'd imagined and they both have TO/decision making issues, Jack's lately coming at the most inopportune times.

As I've grown more disillusioned with the absolute lack of defense as the season has progressed, I have begun to wonder about scheme and coaching. This is a complaint/critique that many here suggested last season, as well. So, apparently, it has not been resolved.

However, given our glaring deficiency in defensive talent, what type of overhaul or scheme change can maximize our play?

I do like the fact that the team consistently plays hard. On the other hand, your point about players focusing their effort, taking responsibility, increasing team play, etc. so that the effort becomes more high quality is on target. The base effort has been consistent but the quality of effort (or how it translates into actual performance) seems to be dropping off.

idioteque
12-28-2008, 02:47 PM
Our lack of ability to make any team in the league struggle offensively, no matter how poor they may be, is the single biggest factor in my view of why we aren't 16-13, or 14-15, or somewhere much better than we currently are at least. Coming from a coaching perspective, our defense is so abysmal at times that it makes us difficult to watch, even when we win a shootout against a fellow doormat such as Golden State this week.



I agree with you that (from the games I've seen at least) our defense is really, really bad. Defense at PG is an especially large issue. Maybe I'm acting as the antithesis of everything that you're posting, but it really doesn't bother me an incredible amount this year because we're still growing so much as a team. Our team is made up almost exclusively of new players who haven't played a lot together and I'm willing to give the abysmal defense a pass until January, where I'm really hoping that we show at least some improvement. If it stays this bad or gets worse throughout this year though, I will become more concerned.


The popular thing I read or hear from casual fans, and sometimes on here, is that the Pacers are downtrodden, but at least we are happy with the effort they are giving. I know it makes us feel better to think that and verbalize it, but isn't this just damning with faint praise?Not really. As a team we are deficient when it comes to talent and we are an underdog almost every night. We're just removed from the brawl and subsequent PR mistakes that totally decapitated this franchise. It's going to take time for the Pacers to become the Pacers again. We're a traditionally good franchise and I know we'll get there again. But like Portland's rise back to respectability, it's going to take some time.



Maybe its just the late hour, our my cranky mood, but our Pacers are starting to just roll over and accept the losing I am afraid, and I'm afraid it is happening here too among us.It is not possible for a fan to "roll over and accept losing" while also acknowledging the effort and hustle that a team puts in night in and night out, especially a talent deficient team. If Brandon Rush comes off a screen perfectly but misses the jump shot, I acknowledge his effort for getting in position to make the shot but my acknowledgment comes with the future expectation that he will hit that shot most of the time. But since he is a rookie, I am willing to give him a pass and applaud his effort. BUT THAT ONLY COMES WITH EXPECTATION OF FUTURE RESULTS.


Realism is one thing, but accepting mediocre effort and results is something else. No more lip service to playing tougher defense guys, either get the job done, or we will find someone else who will.....that is the type of message I am longing to hear someone say on the coaching staff.I really think we will. You truly don't think this team is a finished product, do you?

As for your Ariza talk, well, good luck with that. Phil Jackson isn't going to take anyone on this roster for Ariza, LA is really high on him right now. Ariza was a pretty unsung player in Orlando and we're going to have to do something similar in plucking a good defensive player off of another team's bench.

I think Rush will be a very good defender on the NBA level. Of course, I don't get to watch every Pacer game, but he looked great (most of the time) guarding Caron Butler in the Washington game this year.

count55
12-28-2008, 03:15 PM
I agree with you that (from the games I've seen at least) our defense is really, really bad. Defense at PG is an especially large issue. Maybe I'm acting as the antithesis of everything that you're posting, but it really doesn't bother me an incredible amount this year because we're still growing so much as a team. Our team is made up almost exclusively of new players who haven't played a lot together and I'm willing to give the abysmal defense a pass until January, where I'm really hoping that we show at least some improvement. If it stays this bad or gets worse throughout this year though, I will become more concerned.

Not really. As a team we are deficient when it comes to talent and we are an underdog almost every night. We're just removed from the brawl and subsequent PR mistakes that totally decapitated this franchise. It's going to take time for the Pacers to become the Pacers again. We're a traditionally good franchise and I know we'll get there again. But like Portland's rise back to respectability, it's going to take some time.


It is not possible for a fan to "roll over and accept losing" while also acknowledging the effort and hustle that a team puts in night in and night out, especially a talent deficient team. If Brandon Rush comes off a screen perfectly but misses the jump shot, I acknowledge his effort for getting in position to make the shot but my acknowledgment comes with the future expectation that he will hit that shot most of the time. But since he is a rookie, I am willing to give him a pass and applaud his effort. BUT THAT ONLY COMES WITH EXPECTATION OF FUTURE RESULTS.

I really think we will. You truly don't think this team is a finished product, do you?

As for your Ariza talk, well, good luck with that. Phil Jackson isn't going to take anyone on this roster for Ariza, LA is really high on him right now. Ariza was a pretty unsung player in Orlando and we're going to have to do something similar in plucking a good defensive player off of another team's bench.

I think Rush will be a very good defender on the NBA level. Of course, I don't get to watch every Pacer game, but he looked great (most of the time) guarding Caron Butler in the Washington game this year.

I very much agree with this post.


(RE: Ariza - He will be an Unrestricted Free Agent next summer, but he would be wise to stay with LA.)

Justin Tyme
12-28-2008, 03:55 PM
Truly enjoyable post to read, especially in regards to what I have been saying as of late... lack of "D" with a coach who has a shootout mentality who isn't getting his job done as the teacher when it comes to getting his team to playing "D". He's all lip service about playing "D" with no substance in getting it done.

I truly believe T-Bird hit the nail on the head about so many fans are willing to accept low expectations and standards with this team giving a 1,001 excuses why the Pacers aren't/shouldn't be better.

Am I the only one that thought T-Bird came just short of saying that JO'B wasn't getting the job done as a coach with the players he has and with the system he's trying to instill, and that maybe another coach was needed?

Justin Tyme
12-28-2008, 04:06 PM
I very much agree with this post.


(RE: Ariza - He will be an Unrestricted Free Agent next summer, but he would be wise to stay with LA.)


Absolutely, he has a great chance of winning 1 or more championships there. What's he got a chance of winning with the Pacers? A few playoff games?

Hicks
12-28-2008, 04:13 PM
He might come if he's looking to be a bigger piece of a team.

count55
12-28-2008, 04:32 PM
Absolutely, he has a great chance of winning 1 or more championships there. What's he got a chance of winning with the Pacers? A few playoff games?


He might come if he's looking to be a bigger piece of a team.

Well, what I meant was that he was in a perfect situation: a good team where he can just be an athlete. If he take a bigger contract or goes to a team where he will be expected to be the key defensive stopper or a starter, odds are he turns that he will not enjoy anywhere the personal success he has with no expectations being placed on him.

I have to wonder if he's not a bad contract waiting to happen.

Hicks
12-28-2008, 04:44 PM
I suspect he is a bad contract waiting to happen.

Dece
12-28-2008, 04:45 PM
I would say we are the hm... the word I'd like to use probably won't fly, wussiest team in the league, and it hurts to see and say that.

I miss so much the days of Artest/good JO/Stephen Jackson playing balls to the wall no easy buckets defense with Tinsley ball hawking 2 steals a game. People were scared to play us, because any shot in the paint meant you were getting hammered. We turned Iverson into a 20 foot jump shooter, he was scared, and he was the toughest guy in the league.

God that was a good team... I like pretty much nothing about us now, other than the jersey.

Kuq_e_Zi91
12-28-2008, 05:37 PM
I would say we are the hm... the word I'd like to use probably won't fly, wussiest team in the league, and it hurts to see and say that.

I miss so much the days of Artest/good JO/Stephen Jackson playing balls to the wall no easy buckets defense with Tinsley ball hawking 2 steals a game. People were scared to play us, because any shot in the paint meant you were getting hammered. We turned Iverson into a 20 foot jump shooter, he was scared, and he was the toughest guy in the league.

God that was a good team... I like pretty much nothing about us now, other than the jersey.

I miss those days too. As I was reading the part where T-Bird said we need tough, physical players I immediately thought of those days. We had Ron and SJax and we were fierce. Now we have a bunch of softies who won't send a message, with the exception of Granger. This team is all about image now and you can't blame them after what happened. Basically, we traded toughness for image and PR. But I understand it had to be done for some of the fans asking for Ron's and SJax's head on a silver platter. It's just too bad we had what we're looking for, let it go, and now we're searching for it again.

D-BONE
12-28-2008, 05:44 PM
I have to wonder if he's not a bad contract waiting to happen.

That's a legit concern. I really like the guy as a defensive player, but I'm not saying go after him at all costs-I wouldn't overpay. Then the question becomes, what's he really worth (to us anyway) and what will he command?

Whatever the case, I'd love to have him in a completely subjective/ideal scenario. As to the pressure of higher expectations, I think it depends on how a team defines his role. I wouldn't ask for much more than focusing on defense as a primary function.

This discussion does lead into a broader one regarding what we think we have on this roster that will or won't be part of the long-term rebuild. If you think, at some point, more emphasis needs to be placed on defense and tougheness, it's obvious that we don't have the parts for that inside and it's questionable whether we have the parts on the perimeter. I am particularly underwhelmed by our PG defense so far.

I know these types of players don't grow on trees, but how do you go about getting them specifically then?

Tom White
12-28-2008, 06:05 PM
Oddly enough, the guy who fits a lot of the description of what we need is Artest.

Pity about that situation.

BRushWithDeath
12-28-2008, 06:26 PM
Oddly enough, the guy who fits a lot of the description of what we need is Artest.

Pity about that situation.



If Artest were mentally stable he'd be one of the top 5 players in the NBA. If.

Hicks
12-28-2008, 06:46 PM
He's good, but not that good.

Justin Tyme
12-28-2008, 06:57 PM
I've been mulling over the issue of a defensive stopper, perimeter player, so I'll throw out a couple of names to be debated.

Quinton Ross & Greg Buckner

I'll be the 1st to admit I'm throwing out those names b/c of posters over the last year mentioning they are good "D" players. Could either one be the "D" stopper the Pacers need.

One thing about both is their contracts. Ross is an expiring and Buckner's next 2 years are unguaranteed which in essence makes him an expiring.

Any comments about either?

rexnom
12-28-2008, 09:03 PM
I'm sorry, I just don't buy that Trevor Ariza (who I actually like), Ross, or Buckner of all people will take this team to the next level (by which I mean lower echelon playoff team). And I don't think that we'll be drafting someone of this sort, at least with our first round pick, when we drafted a guy of the same ilk who can also do many other things well this past year.

I still think that this team needs time. We're not even 30 games into our first rebuilding season and we're supposed to be trying to find "pieces?"

I'm also a bit wary of pointing the finger at guys like Jack who aren't really part of our future and are meant to play a much smaller part than they really do. To me, it's like blaming Sasha Vujacic for losing the finals or the rat at the end of The Departed for the entire movie being worse than Reservoir Dogs. Yeah, maybe these factors come into play, but in the end, the Departed is just not as well acted, directed, or written, Kobe underperformed worse than Sasha, and Jack probably won't play any minutes at SG by 2010.

thunderbird1245
12-28-2008, 11:27 PM
I didn't see the game against New Orleans on Sunday night obviously, but it reads like more of the same.

The new numbers I believe are we've now led in 13 of 20 of our losses sometime in the 4th quarter, and been within 1 possession I think 7 times out of those 13 losses in the last 2 minutes.

We are also now 2-20 when we give up more than a 100 points. That isn't as alarming as the fact that we have actually given up 100 that many times.

Once again, an athletic defensive stopper would have made a huge difference I would presume.

To Justin: I think Buckner is too old to be very effective anymore, but I was beating the Quinton Ross drum all last winter and during the summer until Memphis picked him up late (and very cheaply I might add). Ross would be a nice cheap pickup, but further study and thought has now made me believe that Ariza is better for us, mainly due to his superior size over Ross and his youth.

I don't think it is a given that Ariza re-signs with the Lakers by the way. They have alot of money tied up in wings there, including Luke Walton, and Sasha Vujevic, and they will need at least some money for an Andrew Bynum new contract.

I think the Lakers SHOULD re-sign Ariza long term, I'm just not sure they will. From his perspective, I think it is very possible he may want to go somewhere where he will be a starter and a more integral part of the team, instead of playing 20 minutes a night like he does in LA currently. He might like a higher paying deal with added responsibility and a bigger role somewhere. To me and my way of thinking, he starts here alongside Danny Granger, irregardless of what happens with Mike Dunleavy.....but that is just me. Rush to me is an ideal backup for both Granger and Ariza long term, and it also lets us not have to play so much small ball with both Ford and Jack in the game, which like I said in the original posting I hate.

I will say this though: Even though I am being critical of Jim O'Brien quite a bit, I know how much these repeated tough losses must be on him, or any other coach for that matter. I have been there on a much smaller level, and it eats at you even at the high school level. Losing is misery, losing repeatedly at the end of the game is beyond misery, it's torture....and I know what Kravitz meant this morning when he said the staff dies a little inside each time this happens to them.

Tbird

Unclebuck
12-29-2008, 12:01 AM
I don't have the time or patience right now, but I object to the assertion that we are getting our butts kicked every night - that simply isn't true, every game is extremely close. Sure a loss is a loss, but losing by 2 point is a lot different from losing by 20 every night.

D-BONE
12-29-2008, 12:08 AM
I don't have the time or patience right now, but I object to the assertion that we are getting our butts kicked every night - that simply isn't true, every game is extremely close. Sure a loss is a loss, but losing by 2 point is a lot different from losing by 20 every night.

Who said that?

I thought the close games was a key component in the argument of the original post? If we were more proficient defending, several of those excruciating losses would have gone in our favor.

D-BONE
12-29-2008, 09:44 AM
Name me any guys on the roster outside of DG, RH, and BR (and MAYBE McRoberts) about whom you can say I definitively want him involved in our long-term makeover.

I respect the fact that somebody could sway my thinking during the second half of the season or Rush could improve exponentially and make me believe he can really become the caliber of perimeter defender we lack, let alone a legit starting 2.

If that were to happen I'd be less inclined to consider an Ariza-type move. At the same time, if you state we're in a rebuild, then it inherently assumes there will be multiple, necessary fothcoming moves.

Another semi-interesting guy amongst many I suppose is Dominic Maguire from the Wiz. Long, athletic, boards, defends, and blocks, and probably has capacity to grow offensively. Again, not unlike Granger in position. Don't think he's quite big enough to be a 4, but could still be beefing up.

Country Boy
12-29-2008, 10:13 AM
I'm sorry, but when does coaching and scouting at the high school level, make one an expert at the NBA level? Comparing High school basketball to the NBA is apples and oranges and only works on paper or in someone's mind. Hell, there is even a great deal of difference in High school basketball style of play let alone trying to translate it to the NBA level. Hint, what works in Hickory doesn't necessarily work at Ben Davis.

Now, the Pacer's problems are more of a talent problem, rather than lack of effort or playing dumb. The Pacers are learning to crawl, the walking will come in time.

CableKC
12-29-2008, 01:22 PM
I'm sorry, but when does coaching and scouting at the high school level, make one an expert at the NBA level? Comparing High school basketball to the NBA is apples and oranges and only works on paper or in someone's mind. Hell, there is even a great deal of difference in High school basketball style of play let alone trying to translate it to the NBA level. Hint, what works in Hickory doesn't necessarily work at Ben Davis.

Now, the Pacer's problems are more of a talent problem, rather than lack of effort or playing dumb. The Pacers are learning to crawl, the walking will come in time.
In defense of TBird, he has been a contributor on this board that has offered very inciteful if not educational posts about basketball itself, his opinions of the Pacers and where they are headed. Although none of us here on PD are claiming to be basketball experts, TBird isn't claiming to be one....and I'm assuming that everyone else on the Board here ( maybe except for Mr. Boyle himself ;) ) can't claim to be one as well.

But when you think about it, your last statement about a lack of talent essentially echoes what TBird was saying about the Pacers need ( or lack of ) an aggressive Perimeter Defender and Interior Presense.

Speed
12-29-2008, 01:23 PM
T bird, nice job and I always appreciate your threads, they always have some meat to them. I really really appreciate it.

I'm half way through reading it, but I wanted to comment. As I don't disagree as using giving "effort" is an excuse for not performing and that "effort" should be the baseline anyway. I want to say this, "effort" in the NBA over an 82 game schedule is NOT the baseline, so to say our guys are giving good effort means alot to me. It means they are mentally tough enough to not pull a Baron Davis multiple times a year. Kevin Garnett demands this "effort" of himself and of his teammates. So, I think of it as a pretty big deal. Yes, it can be an excuse, but I don't think it is with what I am seeing, I think it's the truth.

As for scheme. I think it's nothing like Boston or anything I have seen at the NBA level. It's help side to the strong side, but since you can't help to the middle of the lane for more than 3 seconds a big will cheat over ALL the way to the strong low post. It's unique in how committed they go to the strong side. I was taught to help side the the imaginary line that runs goal to goal, the length of the court, you can't do that in the NBA, defensive 3 seconds. I was told to push guys to the middle, where your help is, unless you are close enough to one of the out of bounds lines to use that as another defender.

This Pacers defense is predicated on pushing a guy to the outside away from the middle and if it's done right. I think it's very inventive and creative. The problem I see is it's counter intuitive to the way you'd normally play and it's not something that can't be beaten. I am especially concerned for guys like McBob, BRush and Roy that they are learning instinctively to execute a team defense that won't be in place in a couple of years.

Last night the Hornets used a pick and roll at the top of the arc. This let CP3 find the nooks and crannies in the defense and no one adjusted, well, until a smart player like Nesto started hedging the pick and roll a bit, but even then it didn't disrupt a player of his caliber.

Although I like the defense SOMETIMES, I am not sure it is a system that can be used all the time against every team in every situation.

I keep telling myself that Obie has the long term in sight with all of this late game NON coaching that it sure seems to me that he's doing. I really really hope that he is trying to develop these guys so that they can get into a defense and get a good shot on offense based on the circumstances and not by designed plays. I hope that he's intentionally undercoaching to increase their ability to learn and know what to do in the clutch.

The thing I don't know is if he's helping the process and if he's putting guys in a situation to suceed or if he's just saying okay figure it out for yourselfs. I may be giving the coaching staff too much credit here, but how many times do we have to see Jarret Jack make a horrible turnover at the end of a game or see a Chris Paul high pick and roll in the last 5 mins before they step in and say, alright lets put something in place here and you can still learn from it.

Sorry for the monolog, but it's frustrating to keep beating these teams for 44 minutes and then fold.

I finished reading the rest of it, again nice read, nice emotion about the fellas. I like it, T Bird, whether I agree or not.

We do need some dogs, that is right (or is it Dawgs, I guess). I would be all for, after this year, filling the spots with Reggie Evans, Joe Smith, or like you saw with Posey last night or of that ilk. Byron Scott was that guy in Larry Browns first year as head coach. I say "next year" becuase the current players need to play and develop this year, next year they need to put it all together. Danny needs to continue to become the man, the youngens get experience. To paraphrase, Reggie Miller isn't walking down that hallway.

Country Boy
12-29-2008, 03:22 PM
In defense of TBird, he has been a contributor on this board that has offered very inciteful if not educational posts about basketball itself, his opinions of the Pacers and where they are headed. Although none of us here on PD are claiming to be basketball experts, TBird isn't claiming to be one....and I'm assuming that everyone else on the Board here ( maybe except for Mr. Boyle himself ;) ) can't claim to be one as well.

But when you think about it, your last statement about a lack of talent essentially echoes what TBird was saying about the Pacers need ( or lack of ) an aggressive Perimeter Defender and Interior Presense.

Putting a disclaimor as just one's opinion does not negate the intended message of a post.

Naptown_Seth
12-29-2008, 04:05 PM
when our big man INEXPLICABLY, when helping "hedge" on the ballhandler/shooter, LEFT THE BALL TOO SOON to rotate back to his man (before the original defender was in position)
It's odd because not too long ago it seemed like Jim had them not just sticking with the ball but jumping ahead of the PnR hard enough to almost trap it. This was forcing the pass much earlier in the PnR than the offense wanted and left their big far from the rim and forced to make a play off the dribble.

But as you say, that seems to be gone. Maybe some bigs just can't pull it off, I don't know. But the previous effort was noticebly.


PG defense is the number one issue now. They are allowing effective movement with the dribble and that eliminates that first attack on the early passing lanes. On top of that dribble penetration into the lane brings help defense and that means open passing lane options that are harder to attack.

So all of that means less tipped balls, the JOB staple. It also means less transition offense for the Pacers.

I also think that teams started to figure out that they were being pushed to the sidelines/corner and began to either attack that with good baseline dribbles or simply were prepared to break those attempts when they weren't solid enough (split the trap, etc).



Ariza - I like him as the lanky fast-break guy, but I think he benefits from his role too. I don't think he's ready to be a main guy, just like I think Danny would look just brilliant alongside Kobe at this point. Ariza gets to be unleashed without having to worry about carrying the team like a top 3-4 option does.

BillS
12-29-2008, 04:14 PM
I wish, I wish, I wish that some of our most savvy observers like tbird could get into a practice session (or, better, a series of them) and see what they are actually working on.

Are they working on these things and just unable to get them on the floor? Is the coaching staff assuming everyone knows them and is just going beyond them? Have we even had enough consecutive practice sessions since camp to make a difference?

It would also answer many of our questions on why certain players are in at the end of games when we (as fans) don't always see the logic behind it. Are these players normally able to execute while the ones on the bench are not? Are the coaches working on reacting to disruptions in plays? More to the point, are players doing one thing in practice and another on the floor?

naptownmenace
12-29-2008, 04:16 PM
IMO, the best individual post defender on this team is McRoberts and the Pacers should just start giving some of Rasho and Foster's minutes to him. Not that I have anything against Rasho but defensively he's slow and poses no threat.

McRoberts seems like the kind of player that you described T-Bird. He's athletic, hungry, and is tenacious on D. He has a greater offensive skill-set than Foster and is a better shot-blocker. Whatever he gives up in experience, the Pacers gain in hustle and toughness.

We should at least experiment more with a lineup with Granger, Rush, Foster, and McRoberts on the floor together. What could it possibly hurt?

Oh yeah... great post T-Bird. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote.

Since86
12-29-2008, 04:57 PM
Please no.....

Everytime I hear her stupid fake accent I want to punch her straight in the mouth.

Hicks
12-29-2008, 05:31 PM
I'm sorry, but when does coaching and scouting at the high school level, make one an expert at the NBA level? Comparing High school basketball to the NBA is apples and oranges and only works on paper or in someone's mind. Hell, there is even a great deal of difference in High school basketball style of play let alone trying to translate it to the NBA level. Hint, what works in Hickory doesn't necessarily work at Ben Davis.

Now, the Pacer's problems are more of a talent problem, rather than lack of effort or playing dumb. The Pacers are learning to crawl, the walking will come in time.

I understand what you're saying, but couldn't this have been said in a less insulting way?

Country Boy
12-29-2008, 08:57 PM
I understand what you're saying, but couldn't this have been said in a less insulting way?

You are absolutely correct, and I will apologize to Tbird for the tone of my post. He is one of my favorite posters on this board and I respect his knowledge of basketball and his contributions to PD.

BRushWithDeath
12-30-2008, 03:46 AM
He's good, but not that good.

He can guard 5 positions. He can score. He rebounds. He can pass. And he has extreme toughness. When he wants to. Which brings me back to my "if he were mentally stable" point. Top 5 may have been hyperbole but top 10 wouldn't be.

Hicks
12-30-2008, 12:09 PM
I've never agreed with the thought that Ron could guard 1's and 5's. Quick swingman even gave him trouble, and long swingman (let along a true center) would also give him trouble. He's a very good swingman whose defense is better than his offense.

ChicagoJ
12-30-2008, 02:36 PM
When I think of a defensive closer, I think of Dale Davis.

And then when I think of Dale Davis, I think of FT shooting that chips paint off the rim and cracks the backboard.

So in a dream world, I'd like a defensive closer than can hit the FT after he grabs the rebound and gets fouled.

That is what I think (and have been saying for a while) that the team needs to find. I don't mind Murphy at PF in some situations and like the fact that he is actually skilled and fundamental, but with this surrounding cast he needs to be replaced by a gritty, tough interior defender that is still fundamentally strong. That's what we need to find in the draft. We'll have plenty of offense in the future from Brandon, Danny, Dunn, Hibbert and PG-TBD.

Naptown_Seth
12-30-2008, 04:25 PM
Again, as many of us are saying, I just don't get where McBob loses minutes based on what we see during games. Either he's acting up in practice and getting benched to cool out or...well I don't know.

It's not that he's this amazing answer, but certainly he's shown as much pop at the PF spot as Rush has at SG and Roy has at C.



I hate to say it but Ron at "SG" in the Quis role, guarding the best of the opponent's SG/SF and letting Danny hit the 3 ball at the other end, would be a solution. But we know the cost already and it's just not worth it. Besides, if he didn't have issues his price tag would be way out of the Pacers' range.

BillS
12-30-2008, 04:55 PM
I hate to say it but Ron at "SG" in the Quis role, guarding the best of the opponent's SG/SF and letting Danny hit the 3 ball at the other end, would be a solution. But we know the cost already and it's just not worth it. Besides, if he didn't have issues his price tag would be way out of the Pacers' range.

If he didn't have issues we'd already have locked him in and may have been looking at a whole different world in 2004-2005.

shockedandchagrined
12-30-2008, 05:29 PM
Again, as many of us are saying, I just don't get where McBob loses minutes based on what we see during games. Either he's acting up in practice and getting benched to cool out or...well I don't know.

What is his contract situation? Second year of a two-year deal that cannot be extended? Can he be tendered an offer or does it have to wait until the off season for some CBA reason?

Not knowing the above particulars could make this comment irrelevant, but is it possible that his time is being minimized to prevent any real competitive contract offers?

imawhat
12-30-2008, 07:29 PM
Our screen/roll defensive scheme has cost us at least 2 games at the end I can think of (Boston game and one more I can't remember), when our big man INEXPLICABLY, when helping "hedge" on the ballhandler/shooter, LEFT THE BALL TOO SOON to rotate back to his man (before the original defender was in position) and gave up an open three point shot to beat us eventually. In the Boston game at Conseco, it was Jeff Foster (a vet who should know better) who left RAY FREAKIN ALLEN alone at the top of the circle with the Pacers ahead 3. Allen of course nailed the three ahead of a flailing attempt by a too late Marquis Daniels, and the Pacers lost eventually.

Uh, that was not Jeff Foster's fault. Jeff left Ray for two reasons: 1) Marquis took (inexplicably) way too long to recover. I'm assuming Jeff thought Marquis was back (as she should've been) and 2) He had to recover on Garnett, who makes about 90% of his wide-open jumpers. Jeff staying on Ray Allen any longer would've put us at a bigger disadvantage.



I also think that teams started to figure out that they were being pushed to the sidelines/corner and began to either attack that with good baseline dribbles or simply were prepared to break those attempts when they weren't solid enough (split the trap, etc).

You think so? As I see it, we've abandoned forcing guys to the corners, rather than other teams' executing against our strategy.


I know our team can play good defense. We saw it for the first 8 games of the season, and then it quickly deteriorated when player fatigue started creeping in. Fatigue doesn't appear to be as big an issue anymore, so I'd like to see the team go back to forcing the corners. It's a no-brainer to me, and I'm scratching my head as to why we're not doing it.


I also disagree about getting a guy like Ariza, who I like a lot, btw. None of these guys like Ariza will be finishing the game as long as Dunleavy and Murphy are on the team. And in my opinion, there's no reason to get a closer that's not going to play. Plus, we have a potential lock-down defender on the bench with Brandon Rush.

On offense, I think we just need several players who WANT to make plays. To me, that's the #1 offensive issue at the end of games. Most everyone is stationary off the ball and passive with it. I'm unsure if that's correctable, but we'll see.


Defensively, I think we "close" by using good strategy and alertness. Let's look at some of our close losses:

-Rashard Lewis' game winner vs. Orlando Nov. 21st (http://www.nba.com/video/games/pacers/2008/11/21/nba_orl_ind_0020800171_recap.nba/index.html?player=game&q=0020800171). Granger falls asleep while watching Jameer Nelson dribble and loses Rashard, who gets a wide-open look.

-11/28 vs. Charlotte-2 plays: (http://www.nba.com/video/games/pacers/2008/11/28/nba_cha_ind_0020800229_recap.nba/index.html?player=game&q=0020800229) Troy Murphy makes an unnecessary shift to stop Felton (who was well-guarded by Jack), leaving Okafor with an unguarded layup under the basket, which tied the game. After Ford's bucket puts us up two, Jack forces Felton to the right (his strong side) too early. Murphy is out of position and has no chance of stopping Felton, who hits the tying basket which forces overtime. Pacers lose.

-12/19 vs. Clippers-2 plays: (http://www.nba.com/video/games/pacers/2008/12/19/nba_lac_ind_0020800377_recap.nba/index.html?player=game&q=0020800377) Jack inexplicably loses Gordon while looking for the inbounds pass. Gordon hits layup to put Clippers within one. With eight seconds to go, Rush fails to challenge a wide-open three, which Thornton makes. Sure Al's a 25% 3-pt shooter, BUT the Clippers are down three. Challenge and force Al to either go to the hoop for 2 or make a pass (0.75 a/to ratio).

-12/23 vs. Nets: (http://www.nba.com/video/games/pacers/2008/12/23/nba_njn_ind_0020800412_recap.nba/index.html?player=game&q=0020800412) The Pacers miss a perfect opportunity to trap Carter, who mishandles the inbounds pass (two defenders were on either side of Carter). Then Jack (inexplicably) sags off of Harris with 3 seconds remaining and Harris hits the game winner.


Our close losses are not the result of a lack of defensive closer. These are all mental mistakes/poor execution that can be corrected by good coaching/player awareness. Actually, we saw the perfect example of good/bad coaching/player awareness on Sunday. (http://www.nba.com/video/games/pacers/2008/12/28/nba_20081228_paul_arena_link.nba/index.html?player=game&q=0020800447) We played the pick and roll correctly on Paul by sagging our big off of Paul. Rather than split the defense like he had the previous 4 possessions, Jeff played in perfect position, forcing Paul to circle around the basket and force time off the clock. Paul was played into the opposite corner and picked up by Murphy, who did an excellent job. Chris could only shovel the ball to West, who made a heck of shot. However, imo, Jack could've realized that Paul was covered just prior to picking up his dribble and could've rotated to West. Of course, that could be nitpicking because I think it would've been a tremendous play for Jack to come over on West.


Despite this poor execution, I think the Pacers are much more desperate for defensive effort/strategy than needing a closer, as I think even the games with examples above were lost by what happened in quarters 1-3. While a paint job (finisher) would be nice, getting the transmission (defense) fixed [not replaced] is a necessity.

D-BONE
12-30-2008, 10:36 PM
After viewing the Hawks game I'm moving more in the direction of the central idea of this tread-that we do not have the necessary capacity to get enough stops (in order to "close") to consistently win.

The idea that we need to prioritize upcoming acquisitions (whether that be trades, FAs, draft picks) around the following three (in no particular order)...

-above average wing defender
-above average point guard defender
-interior defender/rebounder

...seems completely legit. As an earlier post suggests, I think we have a decent number of offensive option moving forward. We don't have any automatics on the defensive side.

And, for those who claim that Rush is a lock down wing defender in the waiting, while that could happen, I think it's by no means a given. And suppose he does a couple years down the road, what's wrong with having three above average defenders if you add another in the meantime?

ChicagoJ
12-30-2008, 11:18 PM
I've got more confidence that Rush could turn into a lockdown wing defender than of any player on our current roster to own the paint defensively. So I would make that priority #1.

Further, Jarret Jack drives me a little crazy with his tunnel vision at PG, but his lack of court vision is no worse than Heywoode Workman's was. And he's a tough nosed defender. I'd like more ball movement and court vision from him, but we can live with him, I think, while we solve other problems on the roster.

BRushWithDeath
12-31-2008, 01:57 AM
Again, as many of us are saying, I just don't get where McBob loses minutes based on what we see during games. Either he's acting up in practice and getting benched to cool out or...well I don't know.

It's not that he's this amazing answer, but certainly he's shown as much pop at the PF spot as Rush has at SG and Roy has at C.




It's astounding to me that he isn't offered an opportunity given what he's already shown.