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Hicks
10-01-2004, 12:52 AM
http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/countdown_2004_center.html

No Superstar on Roster,
but Many Quality Options

By Conrad Brunner | Oct. 1, 2004
No, the Pacers did not acquire a player capable of matching up with Shaquille O'Neal, now transplanted into the Eastern Conference in Miami. Of course, you can't exactly blame them, since that player doesn't exist. But the team does have the promise of more quality depth in the middle than last season.

Coming off the best season of his young career, in which he established himself as a credible starter if not an All-Star candidate, Jeff Foster offers the Pacers plenty of athleticism, aggression, rebounding and defense. No center in the league can outrun him. But he remains a relative non-entity, offensively, and at 242 pounds lacks the bulk to bang with the biggest of the big.

"On the first day of camp, Jeffís the starter," said Coach Rick Carlisle. "What happens from there is not going to be up to me. Itís going to be up to those guys."

The most likely challenger is Scot Pollard, who thought he would be the starter after being acquired last year from Sacramento in the trade for Brad Miller. For whatever reason, Pollard never played up to the active, physical and passionate level he established with the Kings. He wound up producing the worst season of his career while Foster stepped forward.

"The way it came down, Jeff Foster just really took advantage of the opportunity that he got," said Carlisle. "We like Scot a lot as a player. I still think heís a very good NBA player and a guy capable of starting in this league. But the way it happened, Foster was very opportunistic about taking advantage of his chance."

At 29 and in good health, there's no physical reason why Pollard can't regroup and carve a more prominent place in the rotation, and there is a need for a bigger, more physical complement to Foster. Waiting in the wings is first-round pick David Harrison, the first-round pick from Colorado. Standing 7-0 and weighing 280 pounds, the son of former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman Dennis Harrison has NBA size, strength and skill. Though there were questions about his dedication prior to the draft -- a big reason he slipped to the Pacers at No. 29 -- Harrison immediately moved to town and has been working out since July.

"I donít think anybody in the NBA questions his ability to play at this level," said Carlisle. "He certainly has some great tools. He certainly has strength and he certainly has the ability to score inside. The question remains, can he raise his level of play and establish a level of consistency in the NBA game? If he can do that, heíll be a guy that can help us.

"Frankly, we donít have anyone with his strength and power and explosiveness that plays the five spot. But he must condition himself for the 100-game haul that is the NBA season. Weíve been very happy with his diligence and his commitment to this point. He just needs to continue it."

Joining Harrison on the watch list is undrafted rookie free agent John Edwards, a 275-pound 7-footer from Kent State. A late bloomer, Edwards developed from walk-on to Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.

sweabs
10-01-2004, 12:59 AM
I am really looking forward to seeing Harrison play this year. It should be interesting to say the least! All I am really hoping from him is that he play hard every night - be physical down low, play some defense and get some rebounds.

Who knows? Maybe Pollard will lose out again - this time his back-up centre position? :laugh:

SoupIsGood
10-01-2004, 01:06 AM
The seasons so close, I can touch it, I swear I can...

Hicks
10-01-2004, 01:08 AM
I'm going to have an eye on Harrison, for sure, but I heard about him losing his cool wayyy too easily during the summer league, which is consistent with his rep from college, so until he proves that's not an issue, I'm going to consider him a non-factor. Hopefully he grows up, because he has a lot of tools to bring to the table.

Anthem
10-01-2004, 01:23 AM
What this team needs is another elder statesman. Not in a starting role, but as a backup and counselor. Somebody to tell the kids how to get through it.

I wonder if Dale Davis is available.

Hicks
10-01-2004, 08:15 AM
I hope we sign Dale back next summer.

Peck
10-01-2004, 01:29 PM
I know who will be on here shortly to disagree with this statement but I'll say it before he gets here.

If Dale Davis were on our team right now he would be the starter. He's still better than Jeff Foster & still provides a better compliment to J.O.

O'Neal would no longer be required to slog it out down low on defense like he has to now.

But that is just a pipe dream for me.

What I am left with is a list of centers who I pretty much consider a group of backup centers. Harrison is interesting from a size standpoint, but the one game I saw him play in the s.l. sure did nothing to impress me. He played much much shorter than he was in that one game.

However, I am aware that one game in the S.L. does not a career make.

Pollard? Who knows, as of now he is the best vs. Shaq we can offers:bananadead:

Foster? Just not my idea of a center. Unlike he who will counter the Dale Davis thought, I want my power positions to be the 4 & 5 spot. Not the small forward.

Harrison? He was the last pick in the first round of a poor draft. If he offers anything this season it will have to be considered a success.

Croshere? Yes, he will get some min. here. Sadly, IMO, he is better than the above choices.

O'Neal? He's the real center. This is to bad because the guy is a really great powerforward. It takes away from his game to be forced to play agaisnt the power players night after night.

SoupIsGood
10-01-2004, 03:12 PM
If teams wanted to keep up with Jeff, they would just play a forward at center that can run with him.

ChicagoJ
10-01-2004, 03:41 PM
-snip-
O'Neal? He's the real center. This is to bad because the guy is a really great powerforward. It takes away from his game to be forced to play agaisnt the power players night after night.
-snip-

I don't see this as a problem. I think its great that JO can play against the power players night after night and maintain his outstanding nightly consistency. I don't see that as something that takes away from his game; to me its something that enhances his status, in my mind, as one of the top-three or four players in the league.

I don't think its a problem in any way, shape, or form that JO is this team's C.

I wanted to emphasize that, in the PF preview, Rick said:


"And when we find out how David Harrison can play at center, thereís the possibility we could play very big and keep Jermaine at the four spot."

IOW, unless JO is paired with Harrison (or Pollard), JO *is* the team's C. (Not Foster) :p

JO's going to play 38-40 mpg at center, if Harrison can give us 8-10 mpg as a rookie, that's potentially a tremendous improvement over last season's frontcourt rotation. :twocents:

MSA2CF
10-02-2004, 12:48 AM
I am happy with Scot, David, and Jeff.

Anthem
10-02-2004, 01:27 AM
Peck, I know you love the guy, but I dunno. I like Dale a lot, but he didn't look so good last year.

I'd love to have him on the team. I'm just not sure how much is still in the tank.

Peck
10-02-2004, 03:23 AM
Hard to say. I'll be honest, I saw Dale play a couple of times last year so I'll take your word on it.

Still though, knowing Dale from the past, I bet he is still in great physical shape. He's probably lost a step or two over the years but I bet the strength & smarts are still there.

Hey, I'll be the first to admit it, I'm blind when it comes to Dale. But, to me, in a straight up comparison of Dale & Jeff I still will go with Dale. But then again it may just be me.

SoupIsGood
10-02-2004, 04:08 AM
If teams wanted to keep up with Jeff, they would just play a forward at center that can run with him.

His baskets would be off turnovers and missed shots. there are no assignments on fast breaks.


So the whole "No other center can keep up with Jeff" arguement just got thrown out the window?

Anthem
10-02-2004, 12:39 PM
Hard to say. I'll be honest, I saw Dale play a couple of times last year so I'll take your word on it.

Still though, knowing Dale from the past, I bet he is still in great physical shape. He's probably lost a step or two over the years but I bet the strength & smarts are still there.

Well, to be honest, I think he'd have been the startert last year. I was thinking more along the lines of "If Dale continues to decline and Jeff continues to improve, then next year Jeff would be the better starter."

There's no question, though, that he'd be the savviest player in our frontcourt. Even if the guy was in a wheelchair, having his warrior self around JO, Foster, and Harrison would be worth it.

SoupIsGood
10-02-2004, 04:39 PM
If teams wanted to keep up with Jeff, they would just play a forward at center that can run with him.

His baskets would be off turnovers and missed shots. there are no assignments on fast breaks.


So the whole "No other center can keep up with Jeff" arguement just got thrown out the window?



Never played????? Since Jeff would likely be NEXT to the other teams center when they have the ball (guarding him) it's PRETTY LIKELY that the center would be the guy running up court next to him, or behind him. :rolleyes:


You make no sense what so ever. First you say no center in the league can keep up with Jeff, so I say if they want to keep up with him, they'll play a faster forward at center. You say that doesn't matter, but now it does. You say there are no assignments on fast breaks, and then you say the other center will be running with Jeff? Which one is it? Is that your final answer? Are you sure? You seem indecisive and flip-floppy.

MSA2CF
10-02-2004, 05:20 PM
I saw the word flip-flop, and you know who I thought of?

http://www.june24.net/images/john-kerry.jpeg

:p

Anthem
10-02-2004, 06:58 PM
I don't know what, exactly, he's eating, but it's sure making me hungry.