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View Full Version : Slumping Dunleavy Trying to find his way



andreialta
01-02-2010, 06:43 AM
http://www.indystar.com/article/20100102/SPORTS04/1020357/1062/SPORTS04?source=nletter-sports

His normally picture-perfect jump shot is coming up short. His drives to the basket are ending with a missed layup or the ball landing out of bounds after his shot is blocked due to a lack of elevation.
This is not the same Mike Dunleavy who averaged a career-high 19.1 points two years ago.


What you see is a player who is admittedly uncomfortable and trying to feel his way out after playing a total of 36 games in the past two seasons because of a knee problem.
"I think it's a combination of things," Dunleavy said after practice Friday. "I'm hardheaded and I tend to think it's not my knee or my legs and things like that. Other people who have watched me and seen me on a daily basis say it is.


"Maybe that has something to do with it and certainly playing with a new group of guys, I haven't played much with anybody out there."
Dunleavy is battling through one of the worst shooting slumps of his eight-year career.


He goes into tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Conseco Fieldhouse 14-of-62 (22.5 percent) from the field in the past seven games.
Dunleavy, a favorite player of coach Jim O'Brien, spent nearly the entire second half of Wednesday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on the bench.
Dunleavy had no problem with being relegated to the bench, and in fact, said he would have done the same were he in O'Brien's position.
"It wasn't a big deal," Dunleavy said. "It's part of the game. Coach and I have a great relationship. I trust what he sees out there."


O'Brien and Dunleavy had a meeting Friday, and the swingman told his coach he feels uncomfortable on the court.


"I had a long talk with Mike, and it's a combination of things," O'Brien said. "He'll improve and he'll probably improve within the next two weeks. It's a combination of not practicing and our passing game hasn't been as good as we would like. We took major strides today on getting our guys refocused on that aspect."


Dunleavy, who had knee surgery in March that caused him to miss all of training camp and the first 13 games of the season, is just getting back into his normal workout routine.

(2 of 2)

The team's medical staff recently cleared him to start doing leg work in the weight room and his minute restriction has been lifted, meaning O'Brien has the freedom to play him as much as he would like.
"I've gotten to the point where I'm going to step it up," Dunleavy said. "I'm going to do more and if it makes me more tired or my leg weaker, for now that's OK, because in the long run it'll be better. That's my vantage point and that's what we talked about doing."


The Pacers' offense is at its best when there is constant movement on the court. Dunleavy's strong suit is moving without the ball, but it is pointless if the rest of his teammates do not follow his lead, which has happened often this season.


"We just have to stick with it," Dunleavy said. "Keep moving and urging guys to move. I think with more practice time, guys will get a better understanding of it. We definitely have something good going with our offense.


"It's hard to guard, and now you throw in Roy (Hibbert) and we have a little bit of a low-post presence. The newer guys will figure it out and we'll get it."

Spirit
01-02-2010, 07:22 AM
The fact they took his minute restriction off and are now letting him do leg workouts sounds promising. I still don't think his legs are the problem injury-wise. I think they are just tired and that he might need a couple of games off to rest.

MikeDC
01-02-2010, 09:36 AM
Well, I do think it's possible for him to get better. Early in the year Derrick Rose had an ankle injury that we were told wouldn't get any worse with play, but it was just a matter of him having to "get back in shape". He was dreadful early in the year. No lift whatsoever. Slowly over the course of about a month, he got his legs under him and started looking more like you saw the other night.

So, I think it'd be doable for Dunleavy too.

NapTonius Monk
01-02-2010, 10:26 AM
I think Dunleavy will be fine as his strength and stamina grow. No worries.

Putnam
01-02-2010, 10:45 AM
Here's something to watch for:


It's a combination of not practicing and our passing game hasn't been as good as we would like. We took major strides today on getting our guys refocused on that aspect."

McKeyFan
01-02-2010, 10:59 AM
Here's something to watch for:

That was what I noticed as well. Seems like most of us around here recognized a weak passing game about 20 games ago.

Los Angeles
01-02-2010, 12:22 PM
I's say "slumping" is a serious understatement.

NuffSaid
01-02-2010, 02:25 PM
I'm not too worried about Dunleavy getting back into game shape. He's smart (although admittedly stubborn), but he knows when it's time for him to call "uncle". (No, not Reggie...silly readers :p) So, I'm sure that whatever is causing problems for him physically he along with the training staff will work to correct it. My concern is for the team.


The Pacers' offense is at its best when there is constant movement on the court. Dunleavy's strong suit is moving without the ball, but it is pointless if the rest of his teammates do not follow his lead, which has happened often this season.

It bothers me that part of the "blame" for Dunleavy's slump is being deflected on the team. You can't blame the team for him missing wide open shots. You can't blame the team for him having a shot blocked that should have been an easy layup. You can't blame the team for him driving into traffic and dribbling the ball off his foot. That's all on Dunleavy. So, while I'm glad to hear that he along with the coaching staff and trainers have finally acknowledged he's having strength and conditioning problems, I'm concerned about how they're slightly blaming the team for his problems. Sure, not getting a pass where the player feels comfortable receiving it to score the ball is important, but I'm a firm believer that a good basketball player can turn a bad play into a good one, and IMO Dunleavy hasn't had nearly as many bad passes thrown his way that he couldn't handle as he's had good passes he just didn't capitalize on. Missing wide open shots no matter how bad a pass can't be blamed on the team. That's strictly on the player. Granted, the Pacers haven't taken very good care of the ball lately and have made some very weak passes, but what I've seen of Dunleavy's performace of late...this is much more on him that the team.

Anthem
01-02-2010, 02:56 PM
It bothers me that part of the "blame" for Dunleavy's slump is being deflected on the team. You can't blame the team for him missing wide open shots. You can't blame the team for him having a shot blocked that should have been an easy layup. You can't blame the team for him driving into traffic and dribbling the ball off his foot. That's all on Dunleavy. So, while I'm glad to hear the he along with the coaching staff and trainers have finally acknowledged he's having strength and conditioning problems, I'm concerned about how they're slightly blaming the team for his problems. Sure, not getting a pass where the player feels comfortable receiving it to score the ball is important, but I'm a firm believer that a good basketball player can turn a bad play into a good one, and IMO Dunleavy hasn't had nearly as many bad passes thrown his way that he couldn't handle as he's had good passes he just didn't capitalize on. Missing wide open shots no matter how bad a pass can't be blamed on the team. That's strictly on the player. Granted, the Pacers haven't taken very good care of the ball lately and have made so very weak passes, but what I've seen of Dunleavy's performace of late...this is much more on him that the team.
And it's especially worrying given d_c's recent post on Dunleavy's history... that he tends to blame his teammates when he plays poorly.

I mean, if I was Hibbert, Brandon, Tyler, or even Murph/TJ, I'd be a little pissed if Dunleavy's answer was to blame me for his crappy play recently.

But maybe it's just the reporter and not Dun. We'll see.

CableKC
01-02-2010, 03:38 PM
That was what I noticed as well. Seems like most of us around here recognized a weak passing game about 20 games ago.
I can agree that this is something to pay attention to....but doesn't this imply that JO'B either didn't focus on this ( a major aspect of his offense ) before?

or

Worse.......they do focus on this on a regular in Practice, the Players didn't pay attention to it and this is simply "JO'B Talk" ( as in telling us something that we don't know ) to the press?

I'm not trying to find fault here with JO'B....the Players obviously started play more "me-ball" as opposed to "we-ball"....but "passing the ball" ( duh ) is such an obvious thing that would be focused and paid attention to on a regular basis ( whether it is on-game or in practice ) that I'm surprised that this particular aspect has to be "re-focused" on in the first place.

As you mentioned.....we all know that "we-ball" makes JO'Bs offense work better.....why did it take someone ( anyone ) on the Pacers team ( Players and Coaching Staff ) this long to notice this?

On Dunleavy, I'm really hoping that his shooting slump is simply related to healthy/injury concerns and not related to something else.

d_c
01-02-2010, 04:01 PM
And it's especially worrying given d_c's recent post on Dunleavy's history... that he tends to blame his teammates when he plays poorly.

FWIW, I don't ever recall Dunleavy directly calling out his teammates. He never did that in GS and I don't think he does that now. He's just always going to imply that he knows the game and plays it the right way, so if things aren't going well, don't blame him.

Anthem
01-02-2010, 04:19 PM
FWIW, I don't ever recall Dunleavy directly calling out his teammates. He never did that in GS and I don't think he does that now. He's just always going to imply that he knows the game and plays it the right way, so if things aren't going well, don't blame him.
You don't think some of the guys might take this as getting called out? Dude hasn't played in 2 years, has looked terrible when he HAS played, and he says the problem is that the other guys need to "get a better understanding" of the offensive system? That it's "the newer guys" that haven't figured it out?

The Pacers' offense is at its best when there is constant movement on the court. Dunleavy's strong suit is moving without the ball, but it is pointless if the rest of his teammates do not follow his lead, which has happened often this season.

"We just have to stick with it," Dunleavy said. "Keep moving and urging guys to move. I think with more practice time, guys will get a better understanding of it. . . The newer guys will figure it out and we'll get it."

jhondog28
01-02-2010, 04:20 PM
FWIW, I don't ever recall Dunleavy directly calling out his teammates. He never did that in GS and I don't think he does that now. He's just always going to imply that he knows the game and plays it the right way, so if things aren't going well, don't blame him.

Let me reiterate what DC just said. He never went after his teamates directly. The Oakland media really made Dun out to seem pretty arrogant and self absorbed. I know on one specific occassion a media member was in the GS locker room and he was interviewing Mikael Pietrus about Pietrus making a boneheaded play to end the game where they lost it and he stepped in to defend Pietrus basically dropping F bombs on the media member saying he was trying to goat Pietrus into saying something bad so the writer could write about it. So I know first hand Mike defends his teamates.