Jon Bender Interview
The Indiana Pacers are loaded with talent from top to bottom. Because of this fact, forward Jon Bender has not gotten consistent playing time in the past, and this season he's just recently come back from injury. InsideHoops.com met with Bender for an exclusive interview.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about getting healthy. You're back.
Jon Bender: It's good to be back on the floor. The biggest thing is just getting back and adjusted. As far as all the plays and stuff, I'm cool on the court. As far as out there playing, it doesn't take long for me to get out there and get comfortable. Every game is starting to bring another part of my game out, as far as putting it on the floor and shooting, just getting comfortable out there. It's good to be back.
InsideHoops.com: If you have to call yourself one position, can you do it?
Jon Bender: Naw, I can't really. I work on every part of the game, really. I can handle the ball real good, post up, all of it. A lot of stuff that this team and a lot of people haven't seen from me, so that's what keeps them guessing. They don't know if I'm a two, three, four or what.
InsideHoops.com: When I write, and the topic comes up, I call you a three who can also play the two or four.
Jon Bender: (Playful groan.)
InsideHoops.com: You want to keep 'em guessing?
Jon Bender: Keep 'em guessing. Something new every game.
InsideHoops.com: What skills do you have that people really haven't seen yet?
Jon Bender: A lot of ball-handling, really. I'm starting to be more aggressive, as far as putting the ball on the floor and driving past people. That's an ability I do have that most people haven't seen yet.
InsideHoops.com: You'll bring that out more when you get a chance.
Jon Bender: Right.
InsideHoops.com: As for the team in general, talk about some of the major changes from last year to this year.
Jon Bender: More free. It's a little slower, he (coach Carlisle) wants us to slow the ball up a little bit more, and just go through the plays, and that's good, too. This year everybody's taking shots. No one person can... this person shoots while this person doesn't shoot, everybody's pretty much out there playing their game.
InsideHoops.com: And defensively, the team's stepped it up.
Jon Bender: Defense is just heart. You gotta dig down deep and just be aggressive on defense. That's all that is. That affects the game totally, it's 70% of the game is defense, I think. As long as we come out and play hard defense, and keep them on the ropes, we'll be out there doing the thing.
InsideHoops.com: This team has as much potential to go to the finals as anyone in the East.
Jon Bender: Oh yeah.
InsideHoops.com: You see the team going to the finals?
Jon Bender: Yeah, of course. We're the top team right now. I can say for ourself we play hard, we play real hard, for anybody.