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View Full Version : Orlando's Warming Up, Has Sunny Forecast



BornReady
02-23-2013, 01:20 PM
http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/orlandos-warming-has-sunny-forecast

You saw this coming, right? The second-round draft pick who had missed all four of his three-point shots in the pre-season and hit just two of his first 10 in the regular season between excursions to Fort Wayne to play Development League … you knew he was going to be doing this, right?

Just like you knew those meteors were going to strike Russia last week.

Orlando Johnson has hit 16 of his previous 23 three-point shots for the Pacers, which rounds up to 70 percent and qualifies as a meteoric rise if ever there was one. He hit all three in Friday's 114-82 demolition of Detroit at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and hit both of his two-points shots as well to finish with a career-high 14 points. He also finished with three rebounds, three assists and no turnovers in the sort of complete performance that lately has covered some blemishes on the bench – but also raises a potential dilemma for coach Frank Vogel.

Game Rewind: Pacers 114, Pistons 82 »

“He's blowing us all away,” Vogel said. “We're going to start sending all our guys to the D League to start the season.”

Johnson probably will finish the season as the Fort Wayne Mad Ants' leading scorer, technically, at 23.5 points per game. Even there, however, he didn't show hints of the marksmanship that was to come. He hit 30 percent of his three-pointers, and 43 percent of his field goals in his four games. Given his recent play, he surely can declare himself retired from his D League career.

And he can begin thinking of a lasting NBA career. Not that he's going to continue shooting at this pace, but his season percentage (.545) would lead the league if he had enough attempts. Atlanta's Kyle Korver leads at .466.

If Johnson remains a viable outside threat, the puzzling struggles of Gerald Green, who's hit 28 percent of his three-point shots, is hardly noticeable, not to mention all the talk about acquiring a shooter such as Orlando's J.J. Redick. The Pacers had meaningful talks with the Magic about acquiring Redick – who is shooting 39 percent, 35th in the NBA – before Thursday's trade deadline, but weren't willing to give up a first-round draft pick. Redick, who wound up in Milwaukee, would only have been a rental for the Pacers, because they won't have the financial resources to re-sign him this summer, when keeping David West will be the priority.

Besides, who needs Redick's 39 percent when you already have Johnson's 55 percent? Particularly when Johnson has earned so much admiration within the locker room.

“I'm surprised that it's happened this early,” Vogel said of Johnson's three-point shooting. “I'm always surprised when rookies come in and adjust to the three-point line. It usually takes time. I felt like he'd become a good three-point shooter … I didn't see it coming this fast.”

By all accounts, Johnson made himself a shooter with hard work. He arrives early for practice and stays late. He comes in on his own, or with teammates, at off hours. He had adjusted his mechanics slightly to enable him to get his shot up over taller NBA players, and ingrained them. He was a 40 percent three-point shooter over his final three seasons in college, but rarely does a player's percentage improve as an NBA rookie – especially after starting 2-of-10.

“He's solid, man,” David West said. “He's a four-year college guy (actually five years, including the season he sat out after transferring from Loyola Marymount to Cal-Santa Barbara), so he's prepared to play right away. He's humble, no ego and he works hard every day. He comes to practice and takes his lumps, but he's improving.”

Johnson admits there were times early in the season when he wondered if he could make it in the NBA. Former Pacers president Larry Bird awarded him the ultimate show of faith with a two-year guaranteed contract, rare for a second-round draft pick, but that didn't assure him of a place on the roster. His slow start made it obvious he needed time in the D League, and he took advantage. It was better than sitting and watching the Pacers, which he's done in 35 of their 55 games, sometimes in street clothes.

“You're not playing, you're the last man on the bench, you're not dressing out some games, and it hurts, because you feel you've worked so hard to get to this level and you still can't prove to them that you're ready,” Johnson said. “I think my work ethic and being in the gym with the coaches, watching film … that's a credit to them because they've put time in to me and I want to make sure I give myself a chance.”

So, what happens to his chance when Danny Granger returns, which Vogel said could happen Saturday in Detroit? Does that bump Johnson out of the playing rotation and back to spectator status? Granger won't absorb a heavy load of minutes when he does return, but eventually figures to become a starter. That will demote Lance Stephenson to the bench, which theoretically demotes Johnson further down the row to the remote position of Non. 3 shooting guard.

“If (Granger) wants to take a little more time off, I'm not mad at him,” Johnson joked after Friday's game.

More seriously, he's prepared for whatever. He began the season not expecting to play at all in the significant moments of games, and assumed his rookie trip through the NBA would be more like an internship that allowed him to observe how the pros do it – at least when he wasn't busy playing for the Mad Ants. Now he's looking like a legit NBA player, ready and more than able when called upon. Regardless of how often he's called upon, it's all a bonus for him.

“We're trying to win a championship this year,” he said. “It's not about me playing or not. I want to play, I think I can and should play, but if (Vogel) feels like Danny's the best option, that's what we're going to roll with. If we can win a championship, then I have no complaints at all.”

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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SMosley21
02-23-2013, 01:50 PM
I'm actually on record from all the way back at the start of the season as saying OJ should be getting rotation minutes. I've been on of his most vocal supporters (though mostly on twitter because I was away from PD for a long time). Feels good to be right about the kid.

PacerPenguins
02-23-2013, 01:52 PM
OJ will be a great rotational player for us for many years. Hopefully the 2nd unit consists on Lance running the point, OJ at sg and George or Danny at SF.... but I doubt Vogel benches DJ and puts Lance at PG

tadscout
02-23-2013, 02:06 PM
"(Johnson's) not coming out of the rotation any time soon," Vogel said.

That was in last night's game recap. :)

Jon Theodore
02-23-2013, 02:08 PM
OJ will be a great rotational player for us for many years. Hopefully the 2nd unit consists on Lance running the point, OJ at sg and George or Danny at SF.... but I doubt Vogel benches DJ and puts Lance at PG

You really think Vogel won't bench DJ? Lance and OJ both have to play, period. They are too good of players to be riding the bench. DJ I really can't say the same about. We all know Lance can bring the ball up the court and has more natural passing ability than anyone else on our roster. Defensively the second unit would be so solid with Lance, OJ, Young, Tyler, Mahinmi. If you insert DJ, then your defensive capabilities are drastically reduced. I gotta hope Vogel makes the obvious move and sits DJ.

Although if Vogel goes with DJ long term, I'm sure he has a good reason. I am so excited about the potential of a Lance/OJ tandem coming off the bench. Energy, defense, scoring ability...this team could be really scary.

Hicks
02-23-2013, 02:13 PM
I would experiment with Lance and OJ together on the wings and see how it goes. Lance is so big/strong/long that even at 6'5" he's not terribly undersized for a SF.

Otherwise, they still might try Lance at point.

bshall
02-23-2013, 02:31 PM
I am hoping DJ goes to the bench when Danny is fully integrated into the rotation. I think Lance can run the second unit, really I think he's the best point guard on the team.

KingGeorge_24
02-23-2013, 03:20 PM
Yea i was excited when we drafted OJ. I would always hype him saying hes going to be good. During the preseason my buddies would mock me because he wasnt doing too good but i told them to watch during the season. I got so hyped when OJ was killing the Pistons last night.

cdash
02-23-2013, 03:20 PM
I am hoping DJ goes to the bench when Danny is fully integrated into the rotation. I think Lance can run the second unit, really I think he's the best point guard on the team.

He's the best passer on the team. Best passer and best point guard are very different things. I would rather see Lance at the 3 and playing a mini-LeBron type of role than manning the point.

CooperManning
02-23-2013, 03:26 PM
He's the best passer on the team. Best passer and best point guard are very different things. I would rather see Lance at the 3 and playing a mini-LeBron type of role than manning the point.

While I agree, I can't really see any reason to have PG and Danny on the bench at the same time. IMO, one of them should be at the 3 for 48 minutes a game.

cdash
02-23-2013, 03:28 PM
While I agree, I can't really see any reason to have PG and Danny on the bench at the same time. IMO, one of them should be at the 3 for 48 minutes a game.

I wasn't really advocating that Lance actually take minutes at the 3, just making the point I don't really want him manning the point.

xIndyFan
02-23-2013, 03:36 PM
While I agree, I can't really see any reason to have PG and Danny on the bench at the same time. IMO, one of them should be at the 3 for 48 minutes a game.

JMO, but that seems a pretty safe way to bet.

bshall
02-23-2013, 04:56 PM
He's the best passer on the team. Best passer and best point guard are very different things. I would rather see Lance at the 3 and playing a mini-LeBron type of role than manning the point.

I agree that he's not necessarily a point guard but I want to find a way to get the best players on the floor for the most amount of time possible. I think Lance manning the point on the second unit is the best way to do that.

PR07
02-23-2013, 05:06 PM
I still like Augustn as our backup PG.

I think there will be enough minutes for both Stephenson and Johnson off the bench on the wings. It's Sam Young/Gerald Green who will likely be keeping the warm-ups on permanently.

Hicks
02-23-2013, 05:09 PM
OJ has a 6'11" wingspan! http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Orlando-Johnson-6338/

CableKC
02-23-2013, 05:24 PM
BornReady, u get a thanks for coming up with a great title.

Jon Theodore
02-23-2013, 05:24 PM
He's the best passer on the team. Best passer and best point guard are very different things. I would rather see Lance at the 3 and playing a mini-LeBron type of role than manning the point.

Offensively that line-up would be solid, but where Lance can pretty much dominate most guards in the league (defensively) that is not the case when you put him at the 3.

For me the defensive potential of the bench without Augustin is just too good to not try, but maybe Frank would rather have the additional offensive firepower provided by having three capable ball handlers/distributors. (Dj, Oj, Lance)

Hicks
02-23-2013, 05:35 PM
BornReady, u get a thanks for coming up with a great title.

Actually, it was Mark Montieth

Mad-Mad-Mario
02-23-2013, 06:03 PM
Why couldn't we draft him in the first round and thus have him locked up for 4 years. UGH

bshall
02-23-2013, 06:19 PM
Why couldn't we draft him in the first round and thus have him locked up for 4 years. UGH

You would pass on Miles Plumlee? :O

cgg
02-23-2013, 06:57 PM
Why couldn't we draft him in the first round and thus have him locked up for 4 years. UGH

We signed him for 4 years...

Sparhawk
02-23-2013, 07:57 PM
I'm sure i speak for a lot of us when I say that OJ was our first rounder and Plums was the 2nd rounder.

I loved the pick, but admit that I was really down on him after summer league and to start the season.

Just goes to show that Summer League doesn't mean crap. Magnum Rolle anyone?

cgg
02-23-2013, 07:59 PM
I'm sure i speak for a lot of us when I say that OJ was our first rounder and Plums was the 2nd rounder.

I loved the pick, but admit that I was really down on him after summer league and to start the season.

Just goes to show that Summer League doesn't mean crap. Magnum Rolle anyone?

WTF difference does it make?

BlueNGold
02-23-2013, 09:04 PM
It looks like a few storm clouds are rolling in.

lolwuttermelons
02-23-2013, 11:59 PM
OJ looked completely lost in summer league and preseason. But his minutes for us lately have been fantastic. I'm a huge fan of the guy. OJ have it all

CableKC
02-24-2013, 02:27 AM
I wasn't really advocating that Lance actually take minutes at the 3, just making the point I don't really want him manning the point.
I think that Vogel has made it very clear that Lance won't be running the point. On top of that...he has shown that when there is a need to sub in a Player...he's going to sub in and replace whoever is leaving with a similar Player that he believes plays the same position. When GH leaves....DJ comes in. When West leaves....Hansbrough comes in. When Hibbert leaves....Mahinmi comes in. I do not recall ever seeing Lance on the floor without GH or DJ on the floor at the same time.

The sense that I get is that Granger will never play backup PF minutes unless West, Hansbrough and Pendy gets into foul trouble. Same goes for Lance....unless Vogel literally has ZERO choice but to have Lance run the point. He'd play DJ 30+ minutes before Lance is on the floor by himself with some 2 WingMan combination of PG/Granger/OJ/Young/Green.

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:31 AM
If Lance was going to play PG, he'd have done it at least a little bit by now.

Granger did play some PF last year under Vogel though.

Heisenberg
02-24-2013, 02:34 AM
If Lance was going to play PG, he'd have done it at least a little bit by now.

Granger did play some PF last year under Vogel though.hey cgg, you have a synergy account right? if it's not too much trouble could you look up Roy's hook shot % this year compared to last? if it's a process or something or you just don't feel like it that's cool, just curious.

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:38 AM
hey cgg, you have a synergy account right? if it's not too much trouble could you look up Roy's hook shot % this year compared to last? if it's a process or something or you just don't feel like it that's cool, just curious.

Synergy doesn't have that. Probably 82games or hoopdata do. Lemme look.

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:41 AM
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hibbero01/shooting/2013/
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hibbero01/shooting/2012/
54.2% this year
62.2% last year

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:43 AM
This year he is scoring .77ppp on post ups. Last year was .88

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:45 AM
Last year Danny Granger scored .95ppp.
This year Paul George is scoring .9ppp.
Lance is is .94
Hill is .96

Heisenberg
02-24-2013, 02:47 AM
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hibbero01/shooting/2013/
http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hibbero01/shooting/2012/
54.2% this year
62.2% last yearI figured it'd be on BR, looked on HoopDate and 82games and they didn't have specific shot types, just ranges. Someone needs to make a tutorial video on using BR, maybe I'm just an idiot (read: probably) but it's a confusing site.

cgg
02-24-2013, 02:51 AM
Goto the player and mouse over shooting and pick the year.

My favorite synergy number: Danny Granger allowed .61ppp on isolation plays last year, commiting shooting fouls 4% of hte time, causing a TO 15.8% of the time, and allowing 29.9% fg%

Heisenberg
02-24-2013, 02:57 AM
Goto the player and mouse over shooting and pick the year.

My favorite synergy number: Danny Granger allowed .61ppp on isolation plays last year, commiting shooting fouls 4% of hte time, causing a TO 15.8% of the time, and allowing 29.9% fg%that seems like a pretty high TO rate

cgg
02-24-2013, 03:00 AM
PG forces turn overs on 10.4% of ISOs
Iggy 23.3
LeBron 6.2
Deng Deng 11

So it's pretty good. Probably a factor in why we force less turnovers this year.

cgg
02-24-2013, 03:12 AM
He also forces turnovers on 17.7% of post ups, allowing .82 ppp. PG is 7.8% and .96ppp.

Granger has significantly better defensive numbers off screens than PG. I don't now who he's chasing around screens, but they're scoring less points.


34.5% of plays against Granger are spot up shots. I think this comes from helping.

I don't really know what this means, but its probably relevant when discussing defense against the Heat.

BlueNGold
02-24-2013, 08:13 AM
Danny used to guard LeBron who played a lot of point forward. Paul had DWade who ran through more picks. Really hard to compare these stats and make any sense of them.

cgg
02-24-2013, 12:54 PM
Danny used to guard LeBron who played a lot of point forward. Paul had DWade who ran through more picks. Really hard to compare these stats and make any sense of them.

We play more teams than the Heat.

BlueNGold
02-24-2013, 01:22 PM
We play more teams than the Heat.

Ok. Danny normally guards the slower player. Paul the faster. Paul's guy normally goes through the picks because he's faster and more skilled at that game. This doesn't tell us anything.