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View Full Version : Pacers' Jones Has Another Fight on His Hands



Will Galen
10-07-2004, 04:36 AM
http://sports.excite.com/news/10072004/v6960.html

Oct 7, 2:30 AM (ET)

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -Fred Jones enters the Indiana Pacers' training camp knowing he'll have to fight for every minute of playing time he can get. And that's just the way he likes it.

After a breakout season, Jones had shoulder surgery in July, then watched the Pacers trade for Stephen Jackson, another shooting guard.

Now, instead of becoming the heir apparent to Reggie Miller, Jones again finds himself having to scratch and claw just to get on the court.

"I like to fight," Jones said Wednesday. "I'm aggressive. I've been in a lot of fights in my life. I'm not going to back down."

That's exactly what coach Rick Carlisle wants to hear. Carlisle is a fan of competition in practice, believing it fosters improvement in everyone involved.


Even more encouraging is that Jones appears to be recovering quickly from a painful shoulder injury he sustained in the playoffs last season.

Jones was hurt in Game 3 of the second-round series against Miami, and played through it the rest of the postseason.

After three months of recovery time, Carlisle said Jones looks as if "he hasn't missed a beat."

The coach was most impressed by Jones' physical condition when he returned for training camp. Instead of adding weight during a long stretch of inactivity brought on by the surgery, Jones lost about nine pounds.

"He kept himself very mindful to the fact when you have an injury you can't blow up," Carlisle said. "Right now, he's playing the same way he did in the playoffs last year."

That's a good thing for the Pacers. After a slow start last season, the 6-foot-2 Jones used his acrobatic win in the slam dunk championship at All-Star weekend in Los Angeles as a catapult to a strong second half and playoffs.

"I went into the dunk contest not feeling well about it," Jones said. "Then it gave me a lot more confidence that I ended up winning, so I came out of that thinking, 'Man I need to push this up a little bit more and see what I can do."'

His outside shot started falling, and his defensive intensity increased, making him a valuable member of the rotation by season's end. He averaged 4.9 points and 2.1 assists in 81 games.

That didn't stop the Pacers from trading Al Harrington to Atlanta for Jackson, a shooting guard with 3-point range and good defensive skills.

And while Jones appears to be No. 3 on the depth chart behind Miller and Jackson, Carlisle said that shouldn't discourage him.

"We're very deep at that position right now, so I'm not sure who's going to get how many minutes," Carlisle said. "But I've told him not to look at the depth chart, not to count heads, but just to play and make it tough on us not to play him. That's what he did last year and that's what he's continuing to do this year."

That's the only way Jones knows how to do it. After starring at Oregon in college, the 2002 first-round draft pick saw minimal playing time his rookie season.

"My rookie year, I didn't get the opportunity to play," Jones said. "Last year was like my rookie year on the floor. Now I know what I can do and I expect it to go up a little more."

Whether it happens for Jones this year or not, Carlisle made it clear that he wants the 25-year-old in Indiana for a long time.

"He's a guy that, regardless of what happens in the short term, is an important part of this franchise's long-term vision," Carlisle said.

owl
10-07-2004, 02:56 PM
I really like Freddie and if not for his injury he may have been enough to push the Pacers past Detroit.
He was the only one who played aggresive against
Detroit.

owl

Eindar
10-07-2004, 03:58 PM
I'm thinking it won't be so bad for Fred. The way Reggie's talking, if they win a ring this year, he'll hang it up, and that would make Fred the #2 option at SG. At most, Reggie has this season and next, so it's not like he's buried beneath a young guy like Michael Redd.

I think, however, if he's serious about wanting to be on the floor, he should really work on his ballhandling skills, a la Bobby Jackson. He's never going to be a starting SG in the league, and he's probably not going to be a starting PG at any time in the league. But if he works on the ballhandling (he's already got better decision making and court vision than Anthony Johnson) he could be the #2 option at both guard spots, which could secure him about 25 MPG.

Regardless, I want him on the Pacers, cause I love the way he plays.

Suaveness
10-07-2004, 08:02 PM
I think one way to get Freddy into the rotation is to have him backup SG this year, have SJ play the 3, and Bender at the 4. That would seem to work and have both SJ and FJ in. Plus next year you can have SJ start and FJ backup

3Ball
10-07-2004, 10:50 PM
Actually, he only realistically has a shot of playing a lot of minutes if someone goes down for a chunk of the season. Thinking of it from the team's point of view rather than from Freddie's, we have a damn fine piece to plug in if we need to. For the first time in a while, our backcourt is deeper than the front.

Suaveness
10-07-2004, 11:59 PM
I think one way to get Freddy into the rotation is to have him backup SG this year, have SJ play the 3, and Bender at the 4. That would seem to work and have both SJ and FJ in. Plus next year you can have SJ start and FJ backup

So, theoretically, Bender and Jackson would each play about 9-10 minutes per game? Somehow, I don't see that as very likely.

Jackson is going to back up the 2. Bender will back up the 3 and 4. Jackson and Bender will split time backing up the 3 as well, situation depending. Freddie is going to have to carve out a spot at PG if he wants to get regular minutes. Or, Reggie could do what's best for the team.....







Not at all, Bender would get the majority of 4 minutes at backup, SJ would get majority of 3 min at backup, FJ would get most at 2.

Hicks
10-08-2004, 12:03 AM
Suaveness, that's the problem. JO plays 40 minutes a game, leaving 8 minutes left behind him. So does Ron. JB has to spend time at the 3 to get his 30 minutes (that's what I expect him to get; Al's minutes).

Even if you view JO as the center, there's still another 48 minutes that Foster and someone else will share. Probably Cro.

ChicagoJ
10-08-2004, 12:05 AM
I think Bender will get all of his minutes at PF. Regardless of who starts at PF (Foster or JB), I see Foster at 20 mpg (just like last season) and JB at about 28 (about what Al played at PF last season).

But there are only ten minutes of backup SF available anyway, assuming Ron plays 38mpg again this year, so that doesn't really change anything.

Are you suggesting we traded Al for a 10mpg guy?

If Reggie plays 20 mpg (although I think that's too high), then SJax will probably take another 20 minutes at SG. Fred should see eight mpg this season at SG. I'd like to see Fred get another 12 mpg at PG, but we all know that AJ signed a four-year deal, so don't hold your breath on that happening.

ChicagoJ
10-08-2004, 12:14 AM
I see this:

C - JO - 40 mpg; AC or Harrison, 8 mpg
PF - Foster - 20mpg; JB 28 mpg
SF - Artest - 38 mpg; SJax - 10 mpg
SG - Uncle - 18 mpg; SJax - 22 mpg; Fred - 8 mpg
PG - Tinley - 35 mpg; AJ - 13 mpg

which means a ten-man rotation of:
JO - 40
Ron - 38
Tins - 35
Sjax - 32
Bender - 28
Foster - 20
Uncle - 18
AJ - 13
Cro - 8
FJ - 8

Total = 240

Come playoff time, say goodbye to Cro and Freddie, and you've got a solid 8-man rotation.

indytoad
10-08-2004, 12:41 AM
This is all true only if Bender plays all year, which I don't think is very likely. Take Bender out of the lineup and things open up a little bit for Freddy.

IndyToad
There waits the creature called the Shrike

Anthem
10-08-2004, 01:42 AM
I see this:

C - JO - 40 mpg; AC or Harrison, 8 mpg
PF - Foster - 20mpg; JB 28 mpg
SF - Artest - 38 mpg; SJax - 10 mpg
SG - Uncle - 18 mpg; SJax - 22 mpg; Fred - 8 mpg
PG - Tinley - 35 mpg; AJ - 13 mpg

Crazy. Even with our "shallow" frontline, that's really no minutes at all for Croshere or Pollard. Nice insurance, sure, but not much else.

EDIT: I really can't see Reggie only playing 18 minutes a game. I think there's a better chance that Freddy gets fewer minutes. Whether or not that's a good thing I'm not going to comment on.

Peck
10-08-2004, 01:54 AM
It's a damn shame. I think Freddie could be a starter at the two guard spot in the league.

Defensively he is capable of being one of the best backcourt defenders in the N.B.A.

He was developing on offense both inside & outside.

I just wish that he had a bigger chance to develop here.

ChicagoJ
10-08-2004, 11:31 AM
I see this:

C - JO - 40 mpg; AC or Harrison, 8 mpg
PF - Foster - 20mpg; JB 28 mpg
SF - Artest - 38 mpg; SJax - 10 mpg
SG - Uncle - 18 mpg; SJax - 22 mpg; Fred - 8 mpg
PG - Tinley - 35 mpg; AJ - 13 mpg

Crazy. Even with our "shallow" frontline, that's really no minutes at all for Croshere or Pollard. Nice insurance, sure, but not much else.


Okay, but who are you taking minutes away from to give to AC or :yikes: Pollard?

Ragnar
10-08-2004, 11:58 AM
Man I hope Tins plays over 30 minutes a game. I think he needs to play around 38 to 40 minutes.

Will Galen
10-08-2004, 03:40 PM
I see the averages looking more like this.

Ron Artest..........37
Jermaine O'Neal..36
Jamaal Tinsley....32
Stephen Jackson..31
Reggie Miller.......25
Jonathan Bender..25
Jeff Foster...........24
Anthony Johnson..18
Austin Croshere....14
Fred Jones...........14

You guys are basing your averages on 296 minutes, but that's not the way it works. Players get hurt and the Pacers will win some games big, thus the reserves will play more minutes.

In fact with so many major players changing teams those who's starting lineups have stayed fairly intact will have an advantage at first. Thus I think the Pacers will have a better won-lost average than last year. Thus, I really doubt that JO, and Artest will play as many minutes as last year, the team is to good, so they will sit a couple minutes earlier than usual.