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Conrad Brunner} Is Power Forward in Artestís Future?
Friday, July 15, 2005
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Q. I was intrigued and excited to see that the Pacers are thinking about experimenting with Ron at power forward. Is the team really considering this? Or is this strictly for the summer league? I think he could flourish at four in certain situations. It would cause matchup problems for opponents, it would allow J.O. (Jermaine O'Neal) to rest longer, it would maximize Ron's time on the floor (he's like the Energizer Bunny), and it would open up more minutes for reserves like the Jones Boys, Danny Granger, and even (Jonathan) Bender. Could Ron be effective against the elite, shorter bigs of the league? (From A.J. in Tallahassee, Fla.)
A. You never really know how seriously to take a summer-league experiment, but this one bears watching. Part of the motivation for using Artest at power forward is the nature of summer-league play. It's generally a smaller-man's game, guard-driven, quicker-paced and often devoid of the halfcourt, post-up, inside-out style that is prevalent during the regular season. But there may be more to it than just that. If Artest takes to the position, it could open up some intriguing options.
Artest is very effective in the post Ė at least he has been against small forwards Ė and certainly has the strength and girth to cause problems in certain matchups. He has not been a strong rebounder and will need to devote more energy to that area. It also remains to be seen if he can be effective in the post against power forwards. He has been able to simply overpower small forwards and that is less likely against the bigger bodies. He should be able to use his strong base and quick hands to be an effective defender but, again, power forwards will present a much different challenge.
If the experiment works, it would open up the possibility of a lineup in which the Pacers' most talented players are all on the floor at the same time Ė Jamaal Tinsley, Stephen Jackson, Danny Granger, Artest and Jermaine O'Neal. Given that potential, it's certainly worth a look.
That lineup has already been speculated on the Forum, and it looks like the Pacers are interested in using it.
Interesting to note too that they are saying Granger is already one of the Five most talented Pacers.
Re: Conrad Brunner} Is Power Forward in Artestís Future?
I don't think listing Granger in the "going small" line-up is the same as saying he's a top-five talent. If you remove both Jackson and Artest from the SF position on the depth chart, that's where you will find Granger and Jones. But is granger more talented than all of our PFs and Centers besides O'Neal? I think that's a reach.
This is about having options (and a lack of confidence some have in our depth at center). The Pacers have been about over-powering thier opponents in grudge matches for over 3 years. But there always seemed to be a cap. The style nearly guaranteed wins against weaker teams, but when we went up against teams that play in a similar way with similar (or greater) size, our record wasn't nearly as strong. That's what the playoffs are like, and might be one aspect in our lack of true success in the playoffs.
In other words, if we always go 'big' in our linup, there will always be bigger teams. But if we can surprise them and out-quick them from time to time by going small, we just might be able to knock them off-balance.
If Dale comes back and Foster, Pollard and Harrison are all healthy AND JO can play PF without so much pounding and so many fade-aways, we'll do better with the grindhouse style. If that's not working, we'll need a few plan Bs.