Answers Posted October 21, 2005
Question: Well Mike I would have to say I respectfully disagree on your answer to the question about the favorites in the East. Particularly in the point of team chemistry. Shouldn't the Pacers be fully united and have a chip on their shoulder while Miami has added guys in Walker, Williams, and Payton that have all been shown as selfish players at times throughout their careers. So my question would be why do you expect the Pacers to have team chemistry problems, but not the Miami Heat? (Joe from Carmel, Ind.)
Answer: Joe, you’re not the first person to disagree with me, and you definitely won’t be the last. The East is a three-team race between the Pacers, Heat and Pistons. All three teams have the ability to win the conference and all three have questions that could cause them to have problems. The Pacers have shown signs of how good of a team they can be in the preseason. It’s a matter of getting everybody healthy so Carlisle can use all his options. On paper, the Pacers are the deepest, and possibly the most talented, of three teams. The concern with them is how guys will deal having their minutes reduced and taking fewer shots. The Pacers will be better if they have three or four players average about 15 points a game instead of one superstar scoring most of the points. The Pacers will be fine if they can keep their egos in check and put their personal agendas aside. I talked about the Pistons and Heat in last week’s questions.
Question: Should the Pacers do as well as some project and as well as Jermaine suggests would make their season a success and they actually win the NBA title, would Reggie Miller get a ring... or does the fact that he was actually waived by the team place him on the outside looking in? I would imagine fans (me included) would all but demand he get something! (Brian from Arlington, Tex.)
Answer: It wouldn’t be surprising if the Pacers did offer Miller a championship ring if they won the title this season. Several Pacers, in particular Stephen Jackson, took it personal that Miller retired without winning a championship. Whether Miller would accept the ring is unknown since he didn’t play on the team.
Question: I liked Samaki Walker when he was with the Lakers. Do you think he'll make the Pacer squad and, if so, do you see him being a major contributor deep into the season? (Brian from Arlington, Tex.)
Answer: As of right now, I’d say Walker has the inside track on the final roster spot because of the number of injures the Pacers are dealing with in the frontcourt. Scot Pollard and Jeff Foster aren’t expected to be ready for the start of the season Nov. 2. It’s unknown if David Harrison will be ready for the opener at Orlando. You can never have too many big bodies.
Question: When are the Pacers players who were involved in the Detroit brawl going to do their community service? Will this be a distraction to the team and the Pacers' season? (Sam from Sydney, Australia)
Answer: The Pacers can do their community service whenever they want. I don’t think it will be a distraction considering everything they’ve been through in the past year. Many of them already do community service, like visiting schools, in the Indianapolis area. The players have to do half their community service in Michigan, but they’ll probably make sure it doesn’t interfere with what they’re trying to do on the basketball court.
Question: What in the world are the Pacers thinking, talking about bringing Artest off the bench? Is this a long term plan to test Granger as a possible replacement for Artest in the future? What do you think if they decide to do this? (Anthony from Indianapolis)
Answer: I would be surprised if coach Rick Carlisle brought Artest off the bench in the regular season. It would seem like a good idea from the standpoint that Artest would bring an added scoring punch off the bench and he doesn’t mind playing with the second unit. At the same time, though, you’re bringing a player off the bench that plays hard at both ends of the court, which doesn’t happen as much in the NBA anymore, and he’s an All-Star player.
Question: I attended the Minnesota game and lo and behold, Jonathan Bender was already in street clothes resting his knee. For all the reports out of the Pacers, Bender has always looked soooooo good in practice. But when it comes to game time, he's out and healing. Can you find out the real story about his knee? Are the Pacers just stuck with a player who'll never play? (David from Indianapolis)
Answer: To say the Pacers are being overly cautious with Bender would be an understatement. That’s understandable since you’re talking about a player that has spent the past three seasons watching games from the bench in street clothes because of injuries. Bender has said he’s being careful with his knee, which means its probably not 100 percent healthy, to avoid a setback in resurrecting his career. Bender has shown what he can do in the preseason. He’s got a quick drive to the basket and he tries to tear down the rim every time he goes up for a dunk. Pacer fans are going to have to hope Bender can be a contributor this season because he’s under contract for the next two seasons.