View Full Version : Pacers happy to have back Mike Dunleavy

04-03-2011, 12:18 PM

There was no doubt Indiana Pacers swingman Mike Dunleavy would be inserted back into the rotation immediately once his broken left thumb had healed.

The Pacers missed Dunleavy's ability to set the tone offensively by moving without the ball during his 19-game absence.

Dunleavy's return meant someone from the group of Danny Granger, Paul George, Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones would lose minutes.

Granger and George are starters and Rush recently found his shooting stroke. That meant Jones, who spent the first part of the season planted on the bench under former coach Jim O'Brien, was out of the rotation.

"The only thing I felt bad about was that there were 10 guys playing before and then I come back and somebody is going to be out of the rotation," Dunleavy said. "I feel bad about that, but that's part of the game. Other than that, I knew I was ready to go."

Jones didn't do anything to warrant the demotion. He was simply caught in a numbers game.

Interim coach Frank Vogel said Jones has handled the situation well.

"Dahntay has been a pro," Vogel said. "I've talked to Dahntay, and rather than disrupt the substitution patterns for multiple guys, for the short term I've given Mike Dahntay's minutes just to get his feet wet. We'll see where we are game by game from here forward.''

An immediate concern was how Dunleavy's return might affect team chemistry as the Pacers chase a playoff spot.

Dunleavy has to regain his shooting stroke, but he has had no problems fitting in so far. He has totaled 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting in 34 minutes in two games. Dunleavy is wearing a protective brace on his left hand.

Dunleavy usually checks in for Granger midway through the first quarter.

"I really don't have too much of an issue working myself back in with guys," Dunleavy said. "They know how I play.

"I've been here awhile, especially coming off the bench with the second group. I'm really comfortable with them. It's been as smooth as possible."

The wing rotation could change as early as tonight against the New Orleans Hornets because Vogel isn't ready to commit to a permanent group outside of Granger.

"It's really going to be a day-by-day, game-by-game situation," Vogel said. "Like everybody on the team, if somebody is going well, I'll stick with him."

Don't rule out Dunleavy returning to the starting lineup, either. He has started 44 of the 56 games in which he has appeared this season.

The downside of moving him back into the starting lineup is that Dunleavy is the worst individual defender of the group.

"It's too far to project, but I see that as a real possibility," Vogel said about Dunleavy starting. "I think he's doing well. We have a lot of guys playing well.

"Dahntay was playing well before Mike came back. Paul and Brandon are both playing well. They're an unselfish group. They care about winning."

04-03-2011, 02:35 PM
Not too overly concen about Mike's defense. The one thing that I like about Vogel is that he's not scared to sub in George or Rush, if Dunleavy is getting lit up by the opposing SG. Plus, I WANT George's and Rush's scoring in the second unit. Their collective defense/offense against a second unit should work very well for us.

04-03-2011, 02:45 PM
If Mike is playing small forward, he is an adequate defender for a backup small forward's standards. He does a great job of doubling big men, help defense, and taking charges.

At this point I am done talking about player's limitations. I want to talk about what they CAN do. Mike can't guard a top flight shooting guard one on one, but he can take charges and do what it takes to win. He can also get hot and go for thirty on any night. Josh McRoberts might not box out that well or play great post defense, but he can block some shots, get offensive boards, and have some thunderous putbacks. Darren Collison, who the tides have recently turned against, may not have good court vision, but he can sure as hell score and his intensity during games is very much needed.

Anyway, it is apparent that when Mike isn't winded or fatigued, his jumper is respectable and he gets things done on the court and things just run better with him on the court.

I am excited for him in the post season as this is his first post season of his career! (Yes, I am going to go out on the limb and say that the last spot is OURS)

04-04-2011, 09:57 AM
I hope he's fully healthy, we need the boost (since it's increasingly apparent that we are going to the playoffs).

04-04-2011, 02:15 PM
Mike is horrible against quick scoring guards when he has to guard them one on one... like say Dwayne Wade, but he is very very good at being in the right spot, rotating to help. He seems to know he is doing more than anyone else out there besides Jeff. The game last night for instance, there was a play where nobody rotated and Dun quickly tried to cover for the lapse and almost got a charge out of it. He picked up the foul but it was close. I was impressed with that play. We need desperately need smart players with our group of not so smart starters. (I mean basketball smart)

If we aren't playing Miami in the first round, I am all for him starting. If it is Miami, I want Paul on him.