View Full Version : Indy Star > The Bunny Answers Questions

10-25-2004, 05:15 PM
Haven't seen these posted in a while, so here are the most recent installments:

Mark Montieth: Pacers Q&A
Indianapolis Star sports reporter Mark Montieth answers your questions about the Pacers.

October 20, 2004

Question: With the loss of Al Harrington, will Jermaine O'Neal have to play extra minutes to make up for the missing power forward in the rotation? Do you think Austin Croshere will be able to play consistently enough to give Jermaine rest? (Jeremy from Columbus, Ind.)

:bunny: O'Neal averaged 36 minutes per game last season, and I can't see him playing more than that. Harrington's minutes will be absorbed by Jonathan Bender, Croshere and others. So, yes, Croshere probably will get more minutes.

The Pacers will be geared to preparing for a championship run again, so they're going to want to give as much rest as possible to the starters during the regular season. They have good depth, so they'll try to take advantage of it.

Question: I was wondering if the Pacers ever gave Quentin Richardson a look instead of Stephen Jackson. (Jarred from Indianapolis)

:bunny: I don't believe Richardson was ever seriously in their plans. They seemed focused on Jackson from the beginning of the free agency period.

Question: Why are no Pacer preseason games being televised? I was watching TV on my satellite and saw a Miami Heat preseason game on the Sunshine Network. Why can Miami televise their preseason games but we can't? What does Fox Midwest show that is more attractive than the Pacers? (Andrew from Franklin, Ind.)

:bunny: The final Pacers preseason game will be televised. They do that one to provide the broadcast crew a warm-up for the regular season as much as anything.

The issue is ratings, basically. Fox doesn't want to broadcast their preseason games because it doesn't believe it can pull enough viewership to make it worthwhile. Obviously they would do it if they were convinced they could make money off it.

The Pacers have to sell their own advertising for games on Channel 4, and can't turn a profit from the broadcast. They obviously can't justify charging as much for preseason games as for regular season games, but the cost of putting on the game is the same. They also no doubt believe they can pull in a few more fans if the game is not televised.

It's different in Miami, with Shaq there. He's new, so there's enough interest to justify televising the games. Most teams, however, don't televise preseason games.

Answers Posted October 14, 2004

Question: Is Fred Jones able to play the point guard position? (Jonathan from Carmel, Ind.)

:bunny: That's a good question, Jonathan, and one that could be answered this season.

Jones no doubt can defend the position, and he'd be a good choice to take on the more offensive-minded scoring point guards such as Baron Davis. I believe he can handle it offensively, too, at least in small spurts. He's quick enough to penetrate and he's a good passer.

Playing point guard would help get Jones on the court more and he's improved enough that he deserves minutes. If he doesn't get minutes at point guard he's in danger of becoming the next Austin Croshere -- a good player who has difficulty getting off the bench.

Question: If Reggie Miller retires after this season (as he's hinted), will his $6.25 million salary still count against the Pacers' cap next season? (Andy from Phoenix, Ariz.)

:bunny: Not unless they decide to give it to him as a lovely parting gift, which seems unlikely to me. My records show his salary for 2004-05 would be $6 million, by the way, but why quibble? It's sometimes difficult to get exact figures.

Question: I love your column. You have a humanistic and thoughtful approach to your job that is missing in this town ... can you say, Peter Vecsey? I transplanted myself to NYC a few years ago and your dialogue saves my family from having to explain all tedious Pacer news to me. Is it possible that David Harrison can make an impact this year and thusly help Jermaine O'Neal get back to true form? (Andrew from New York City)

:bunny: Thanks for the compliment, Andrew.

My gut reaction is to say Harrison won't make a major impact this season, because it doesn't seem logical that a rookie can beat out Jeff Foster, O'Neal and Scot Pollard. Primoz Brezec was a promising first-round pick, too, and was able to show his talent over the summer with Charlotte's summer league team, but he rarely played for the Pacers because he was stuck behind older players.

However, you don't want to sell anyone short before they've had a chance to prove themselves. Harrison played well in the first exhibition game and should get plenty of opportunities to show more in the remaining games. As he says, he has the asset of his size. I can think of only one player in the Eastern Conference who is bigger than him, Shaquille O'Neal.

Perhaps Harrison can keep O'Neal at power forward more often, although that would depend upon matchups. Against a smaller, quicker center Foster and O'Neal would be a better matchup. Pollard is lighter this season and is said to be moving better. He's also more familiar with the system and should be comfortable with the changes to the offense.

Question: You've mentioned Jonathan Bender's great shot-blocking ability. I think that Jermaine O'Neal was and still is a very good off-ball defender with very good shot-blocking ability. With the increased size of Bender and O'Neal, do you think Rick Carlisle might use them as a power forward/center tandem to stretch defenses and open lanes for Jamaal Tinsley, Ron Artest, and Reggie Miller/Stephen Jackson? Would Jermaine O'Neal be more susceptible to fouls and therefore this option would not be advisable? (Martin from Lexington, Ky.)

:bunny: I can see O'Neal and Bender playing together at center and power forward against a smaller lineup. Carlisle, like all coaches, likes to take matchups into consideration, but as long as neither of them has to defend a much larger player it could work fine. The coaches seem to view Bender as a combination small forward and power forward. I see no reason why he can't play shooting guard as well as long as he can defend his matchup.

Question: I've watched David Harrison play since he was in middle school, and I am very excited about seeing him on a quality team. What are the expectations for him this season, and how good do the Pacers think he can be potentially? (David from Waynesboro)

:bunny: At this point, the coaches aren't going to downgrade him or limit their view of his potential. It's just too early for anyone to make a good analysis. I have yet to see him much, so it's difficult for me to draw a conclusion yet, but he obviously has great size and from what I've seen he has quick feet and a decent touch. He doesn't seem to have a good mid-range shot, but that's low on the priority list for him now.

It could be difficult for him to get minutes if none of the other centers are out with injuries, but it's reasonable to think he'll get chances this season. For now he looks like a good pick for No. 29. I have the impression he had a fractured relationship with his college coach, and the fact his coach downgraded him to NBA scouts before the draft caused his stock to drop. The Pacers might wind up being grateful for that.

Answers Posted October 10, 2004

Question: How long do the Pacers have to offer Jamaal Tinsley a contract extension? Is there a limit to how many years this can be for or is it whatever they agree on with Tinsley? Last year, I believe they extended his rookie contract by 1 year (for the 2004-05 season).

Since I am a big Tinsley fan, I'm really hoping they can lock him up for a good number of years! I think he's going to have a terrific season and his stock will be very high by summer. The Pacers could be sorry if they don't sign him now for as long as they can. PGs with his natural skills and toughness are very hard to come by. (Jill from Indianapolis)

:bunny: I am issuing a corrected response to this question, because my original reply was not completely accurate. I'm just not in mid-season form yet, I guess.

The Pacers are working on a contract extension for Tinsley, and have until the end of October to do so. It would be surprising if they do not, since Donnie Walsh has signed every draft pick to an extension since the current rules went into effect in 1997. That includes Ron Artest, Jonathan Bender, Jeff Foster and Al Harrington. They can sign him for up to six more seasons.

It will be interesting to see what Tinley commands. He's a promising player who continues to improve, but he's not among the top point guards in the league. However, he seems to be a good fit for this team and Walsh and Larry Bird probably are inclined to want to keep the core group intact.


His original replay was 'not completely accurate?' Why isn't this :bunny: spinning for a politician? :flirt:

Lord Helmet
10-25-2004, 07:18 PM
Now I know why we don't show most of our preseason games thanks :bunny:

10-26-2004, 11:09 AM
WTF do you want from this guy? What great controversies is he avoiding? What scathing criticisms are being spared from the awful Walsh/Bird disaster???


10-26-2004, 01:37 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to sound so harsh. :) I just think Montieth gets a bad rap sometimes. Yeah, he goes a bit easy on the organization, but it's not like the Pacers give him a lot of negative controversy to chew on, that's all.

10-26-2004, 01:46 PM
After his participation in the coverup of 'negative controversy' during last spring's playoffs, I've lost almost all of what little respect I had for his opinions, commentary, analysis, and reporting.

The point is, we don't know how much negative controversy there is. He's compromised his reputation in a way that it's going to be fair game to wonder if what he says is happening is remotely similar to what is really happening with the team?

10-26-2004, 02:23 PM
I'm not saying you're wrong, but where's the real evidence that there WAS a significant 'negative controversy' suring last year's playoffs? I've heard a lot of talk about this but have seen no real news.

10-26-2004, 02:34 PM
I think this is the right article; there are some threads around here where we discussed this. http://www.indystar.com/articles/6/180617-4686-036.html

Kravitz refers both to the problems and the fact that the Star (presumably Montieth but perhaps it was Sekou Smith - there's no way these guys actually talk to Kravitz) played a role in the 'cover up'.