View Full Version : Star article, Carlisle: Miller's the starter

Will Galen
09-17-2004, 09:35 AM
Carlisle: Miller's the starter
Newcomer Jackson begins season as backup at shooting guard

By Mark Montieth
September 17, 2004

Reggie Miller has been the Indiana Pacers' starting shooting guard for the past 17 seasons. Coach Rick Carlisle sees no reason why next season should be any different.

Miller is listed as a starter on the roster breakdown on the message board in Carlisle's office, and almost certainly will be there when the season opens Nov. 3.

"In my mind, to start the year he's the starter," Carlisle said. "I would think the starting team (from last season) will remain intact."

Miller, the Pacers' all-time leading scorer, averaged 10 points per game last season, his lowest output since he had an identical average as a rookie in 1987-88. He came off the bench in support of John Long that season, but has started since.

Miller's age -- he turned 39 on Aug. 24 -- and the acquisition of Stephen Jackson in July fueled speculation that a change might be in order. Carlisle says he never gave it serious thought, a decision made easier by the fact Jackson repeatedly has stated his willingness to come off the bench.

Jackson started on San Antonio's championship team two seasons ago and started for Atlanta last season, when he averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game.

"He's a guy who has continually said he'll do whatever we need him to do," Carlisle said of Jackson.

Carlisle was quick to add that the starting lineup can change. Scot Pollard, for example, started the first two games at center last season, then was replaced by Jeff Foster for the rest of the season. Kenny Anderson started the season at point guard but lost the job to Jamaal Tinsley after he was injured.

"We'll do whatever's best for the team," Carlisle said.

Carlisle, Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh and team president Larry Bird met Wednesday with Bloomington residents Wayne Winston and Jeff Sagarin, who presented a detailed statistical analysis of the Pacers. Their research showed Miller to be above average among shooting guards in his influence on the outcome of games.

That came as little surprise to Walsh, who drafted Miller in 1987.

"He's always started for us because he's the best (shooting) guard we have," Walsh said. "I'm going to assume that's the case until someone proves it wrong."

Miller had a stopover in Indianapolis on Wednesday and Thursday morning while making his way from New York -- he attended a roast for former teammate Mark Jackson -- to his offseason home near Los Angeles. Miller took a physical and worked out at Conseco Fieldhouse, then took time to write a message on the locker room board that scolded rookie David Harrison for not keeping his area neat.

Carlisle said Miller appears to be in much better condition than this time last season, when he was recovering from ankle surgery.

"One thing's for sure," Carlisle said. "I know Reggie Miller well enough to know he does not want to be given the starting job because he's Reggie Miller. He won't stand for that. If he can't play at the level he knows he has to play at to be a starter, he'll probably come to me and talk about doing something else.

"My feeling is, be careful before you write off a guy like Reggie Miller. Don't underestimate greatness. At any age."

Will Galen
09-17-2004, 09:48 AM

Sorry Peck! Didn't see your article until after I posted.

Everybody PLEASE make their comments at the above address.