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View Full Version : CNNSI.com Pacers, ehh... Bender Scouting report



Mourning
10-22-2004, 11:58 AM
;)

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/magazine/10/14/pacers/

"The pressure is on a quiet 7-footer to make some long-awaited noise

On the rare occasions when Jonathan Bender speaks, his voice is so soft that the listener must lean in to hear him. So while it may not be the best choice of phrase to call this a put-up-or-shut-up season for the 23-year-old forward, there's a pervasive sense in Indiana that Bender will either have a breakout year or be tagged a bust. "It's time for me to deliver," he says. "Actually it's past time."

Since he was plucked out of Picayune (Miss.) Memorial High with the fifth pick in the 1999 draft, Bender has displayed a rare blend of height (7 feet), athleticism (a 39-inch vertical leap) and touch. (His shooting percentage has risen every year.) Says All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal flatly, "JB is the most talented player on this team." But Bender has been injured for much of his career; he missed all but 21 games in 2003-04 after surgery on his left knee. When he has played, he has at times been tentative and unable to hold position in the low post.

Still, his flashes of brilliance were frequent enough that the Pacers felt comfortable dealing 6'9" sixth man Al Harrington to the Hawks for swingman Stephen Jackson, a move that will free up considerable minutes at power forward. Asked by reporters whether the trade will upgrade Bender's role, team president Larry Bird smirked and said, "It better!"

Hoping to seize the opportunity, Bender worked out daily over the summer with trainer Macki Shillstone in New Orleans. He reported to training camp conspicuously stronger at 235 pounds -- up 15 from a year ago -- and spent early sessions firmly planted in the interior. "The trade meant that a good friend won't be around," he says of Harrington. "But I'm trying to see it as a blessing in disguise. I'm finally healthy, and I just need to deliver." -- L. Jon Wertheim


FAST FACTS
Record: 61-21 (1st in East)
Points Scored: 91.4 (20th in NBA)
Points Allowed: 85.6 (3rd)
Coach: Rick Carlisle
(second season with the Pacers)
2004 Schedule | 2004 Draft Picks | 2003 Stats
Rick Carlisle became the second coach to win 50 games and a division championship in each of his first three seasons. Pat Riley was the first to do it.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
With 2003-04 statistics

JEFF FOSTER
POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
C 182 6.1 7.4 0.8 0.33 0.87 54.4 66.9

JERMAINE O'NEAL
POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
PF 10 20.1 10.0 2.1 2.55 0.76 43.4 75.7

REGGIE MILLER
POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
SG 126 10.0 2.4 3.1 0.81 43.8 40.1 88.5

JAMAAL TINSLEY
POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
PG 93 8.3 2.6 5.8 1.62 41.4 37.2 73.1

RON ARTEST
POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
SF 26 18.3 5.3 3.7 2.08 42.1 31.0 73.3


BENCH PVR 2003-04 Stats

G-F STEPHEN JACKSON 70 18.1 ppg 4.6 rpg 1.78 spg 42.5 FG% 34.0 3FG%

F AUSTIN CROSHERE 147 5.0 ppg 3.2 rpg 38.8 FG% 38.9 3FG% 89.4 FT%

F JONATHAN BENDER 199 7.0 ppg 1.9 rpg 0.52 bpg 47.2 FG% 40.9 3FG%

G ANTHONY JOHNSON 246 6.2 ppg 1.8 rpg 2.8 apg 0.88 spg 40.6 FG%

F-C SCOT POLLARD 274 1.7 ppg 2.7 rpg 0.43 bpg 41.2 FG% 57.1 FT


Issue date: October 25, 2004"

Regards,

Mourning:cool:

Unclebuck
10-22-2004, 12:40 PM
I rec'd Sports Illustrated in the mail yesterday. They are picking the Pacers 2nd in the east. There were some interesting comments from an NBA scout, I'll dig those out, don't see them on the website

Mourning
10-22-2004, 01:16 PM
That would be great UB! And, yeah, CNNSI has an SI members exclusive part. So, looking forward to your next post on this:angel:.

Regards,

Mourning:cool:

SoupIsGood
10-22-2004, 06:38 PM
The NBA scout made it sound like JO is a wissy little girl, or something I thought. "He needs to play more like a big man" was the theme. He played center most the year, I'd don't think he could do that if he only had the "skills of a guard", as they say.

Mourning
10-22-2004, 06:51 PM
Speaking of Centers ... IF, I know its still a big "if" becuasue its still so early, BUT if Pollard keep playing the way like he has so far in the preseason and can translate into being decent and Jeff keeps it up aswell ... would that logically lead to JO seriously reducing his minutes at Center and getting more minutes at his natural PF position? I would hope so, anyone up here have an idea on what Rick might think about that:confused:

Regards,

Mourning:cool:

Unclebuck
10-22-2004, 10:09 PM
Paraphrasing: here is what an opposing team's scout had to say

Of the top three teams in the East, they're are suddenly the smallest after trading Al harrington to Atlanta. Now their 6th man is going to be Austin croshere, Bender, jackson or even Fred Jones, none of whom can help J.O inside against the Pistons or the Heat.

Scot Pollard is a duplication of jeff Foster. You have 2 offensive liabilities when thy're on the floor together.

Over the summer Artest said that he was the best player on the team - and I agree. In a tight game he's more of a go-to-guy in the post than O'Neal. If you're physical with J.O. and get him off the block, he will settle for the 10-15 ft turnaround. It's not that he isn't tough; it's that he wants to prove he is skilled enough to make difficult shots.

Artest is 25 years old with a fundamental game of a veteran, only problem is he doesn't have a veterans head. So they can't count on him under pressure. but they have to stick with him or risk seeing him mature with another team.

Tinsley had a pretty good year, though Bird's talk that he'll become an allstar is an exaggeration. In the transition game he's excellent, but in the half court, coach Carlisle takes the ball out of his hands. Tinsley makes the pass then cuts to the corner to spot up, which limits the chances for mistakes.

This is Reggie's final year and Carlisle has made it clear that he'll bench Reggie if he isn't producing . Eevn if Reggie stars , he won't get starter's minutes - That's why they got Jackson, though I'm not a big fan. He tends to get carried away offensively because he thinks he is better than he really is.

Mourning
10-23-2004, 06:36 AM
:thumbup: Thx UB!

This is a scouting report I could live with, certainly compared with the one NBA.com produced. I don't necessarily aggree with everything, but I do aggree with a lot of this one.

Regards,

Mourning:cool:

Unclebuck
10-23-2004, 11:16 AM
The only part of the article that I thought was "wrong" was the part about Foster and Pollard when they are on the floor together. I don't think they were on the floor at the same time at all last year.

Mourning
10-23-2004, 11:20 AM
Yeah, which leads me to a question I asked earlier:

"Speaking of Centers ... IF, I know its still a big "if" because its still so early, BUT if Pollard keep playing the way like he has so far in the preseason and can translate into being decent and Jeff keeps it up aswell ... would that logically lead to JO seriously reducing his minutes at Center and getting more minutes at his natural PF position? I would hope so, anyone up here have an idea on what Rick might think about that"

Regards,

Mourning:cool:

3Ball
10-23-2004, 02:44 PM
It seems to me that any minutes Pollard would steal would come directly from all the minutes that Cro is supposed to rake in this year. JO, Foster, and Bender will get all the minutes they can make use of. Those two are going to be left with the scraps.

Anthem
10-23-2004, 03:35 PM
Ideally, Bender would get absolutely no minutes at SF this year. Anything that Artest doesn't take, Jax should (leaving backcourt minutes for Freddy). EDIT: Meaning he should get as many minutes as possible at PF.

I still don't like our rotations.... this team is still put together piecemeal. I'd still trade most of our frontcourt players 2-for-1 for an upgrade. I love Freddy, but I'd trade Fred/Cro/Pollard for Dale/Cliffy/pick in a heartbeat.

Unclebuck
10-23-2004, 04:08 PM
In the same Sports Illustrated there was a very interesting interview with Bird, Ainge, Dumars, McHale, and Isiah on the state of the game. Worth buying the magazine.

This is the NBA preview issue with Shaq on the cover

Suaveness
10-23-2004, 04:39 PM
I do wonder about our bench, especially since I am not convinced on Bender. When he doesn't play, who do they count on for offense other than Jackson?

Anthem
10-23-2004, 08:59 PM
Well, I guess it depends on what you think of Freddy. The trade is clearly biased in our favor, though. Hard to see us NOT doing that deal.

I do think the warriors are a natural trading partner for us, though.

Anthem
10-24-2004, 01:29 AM
Ehh, they'd still have one left.... :devil:

ChicagoJ
10-25-2004, 12:24 PM
Ideally, Bender would get absolutely no minutes at SF this year. Anything that Artest doesn't take, Jax should (leaving backcourt minutes for Freddy). EDIT: Meaning he should get as many minutes as possible at PF.

I still don't like our rotations.... this team is still put together piecemeal. I'd still trade most of our frontcourt players 2-for-1 for an upgrade. I love Freddy, but I'd trade Fred/Cro/Pollard for Dale/Cliffy/pick in a heartbeat.


What do you think of this?

PG - Tins (34) / AJ (14)
SG - Reggie (22) / SJax (26)
SF - Ron (38)/SJax (10)
PF - Foster (20) /Bender (28)
C - JO (38) /Foster* (10)

If Ron and JO continue to play 38+ mpg, and guys that are in the top-10 in the league should be counted on to play that much every night, then there are only 10 mpg at backup SF (Jackson) and backup C (slide Foster* over if Harrison isn't ready to play).

When Bender is hurt, Croshere can take the backup PF minutes.



*If* Foster is ready to step up and play 30 mpg.

Anthem
10-25-2004, 02:47 PM
I think I don't like it.

Yeah, that's probably the best way to divvy up the minutes, but it ain't gonna happen. There's three players that aren't part of your rotation that, at this rate, will probably be a part of Carlisle's: Croshere, Pollard, and Freddy. There's also James Jones out there. Bird/Walsh won't let go of Croshere, even though it's obvious he needs a new start. Same with Pollard. I don't care how good they look in the preseason, I'd still move either/both of them for cap space and a mid-first pick. Freddy I want to hold onto, because I think he'll be a great backup for us when Reggie retires. And there's our rookie center that has said all the right things and looked pretty good so far. I'd rather force-feed him 10 minutes a night than deal with the Bender syndrome again.

At this point, I'd have to think pretty hard about any deal sacrificed Freddy to let us unload Croshere and Pollard.

ChicagoJ
10-25-2004, 03:02 PM
Well, if I were GM, I'd move [one of Croshere/Bender], Pollard and [one of Freddie/AJ] for a lottery pick just to force Rick to tighten up the rotations a little bit. Otherwise, you're suggesting that Rick is considering an 11-man rotation.

If that happens, I think I'll scream. :rant:

Anthem
10-25-2004, 03:42 PM
My point exactly.

Since the 2000 Finals, Donnie's been aquiring solid pieces left and right. That's great, but we're in a situation now (and have been since Zeke's last year here) where it's time to take these pieces and start putting them in specific places.

fwpacerfan
10-25-2004, 03:44 PM
In the same Sports Illustrated there was a very interesting interview with Bird, Ainge, Dumars, McHale, and Isiah on the state of the game. Worth buying the magazine.

This is the NBA preview issue with Shaq on the cover

Yes that interview was very telling. One question asked:

What else within the organization do you get involved in? Are you hands-on G.M.'s?

...

McHale: I don't believe that the mascot and the dancing girls win games or excite the fans, so I don't get involved in that part of the business. I think you can get in trouble by micromanaging. The most important nonplaying person in your organization is your coach. He deals with the players, who are the most important people, every day. You pick the coach -- and you better make the right choice -- then you're secondary to him in terms of being the face of the franchise.

Thomas: I'm involved in everything from the shoes we wear, how the coaches dress, what time we wake up, what we eat. If it says basketball, my fingerprints are on it. The other night I spent a lot of time talking about how we're supposed to stand during the national anthem -- how we're not going to be chewing gum, how we're not going to be rocking back and forth, how we're not going to have our hands in our pockets.

As one of my coaches, Bob Knight, told me, "This is not a democracy; it's a dictatorship." That's what it is here.

Bird: The business stuff doesn't interest me as much as the basketball. Do I know the salary cap from top to bottom? No, but who does? I'm lucky. I have Donnie [Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh] to lean on for that stuff.

...

Thomas' comments reveal a lot!

Kegboy
10-25-2004, 05:35 PM
Thomas' comments reveal a lot!


It's a good thing Isiah name-dropped Knight, so it doesn't have to be explained why he's like that.

It's interesting that he's like that as a GM, when he was supposedly so lax discipline-wise as a coach. Perhaps he's gone hard-line due to such criticism from when he was here. Or, perhaps he just feels from experience that running a tight ship from the bottom down is worth the effort.