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Thread: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question.html

    How Could Center Position Be Addressed?


    Monday, June 12, 2006


    Q. Like Jermaine O'Neal has expressed, I think the team needs another person who can get the job done in the middle. If Larry Bird addresses this problem, do you think he will try to acquire a big man through a trade, try to draft one, or develop one of our current players : David Harrison, Jeff Foster and/or Scot Pollard? (From Kyle in Holly Springs, N.C.)

    A. After an all-too-brief respite and thank you for your patience while I was on vacation it's time to get back to work. So let's dive right into the mailbag by getting into something of a debate with our very own franchise player. O'Neal's assertion that the team's biggest need is at center is paradoxical, because he is the best candidate on the roster to fill that position. For all intents and purposes, he already is the center, offensively, because he's the primary post threat and the first option in the offense. Defensively, in order to alleviate physical wear and tear, others have guarded the opposing center, allowing O'Neal to move to power forward.

    Foster, Harrison and Pollard have provided a strong variety of matchup options to ease the defensive load on O'Neal. Foster can deal with the more athletic big men; Pollard is ideally suited to the less mobile behemoth-types; while Harrison has the potential to be a game-changer because of his size, offensive skill and shot-blocking. If you could somehow combine all three into one player, you'd probably have what O'Neal wants in fact, you'd probably have what every team (except, possibly, Miami) in the NBA wants.

    Very few NBA teams have true centers anymore. It has become increasingly common for teams to go to a two-post system, where one player is the focal point, offensively, and the other plays a complementary role, either by assuming the larger defensive responsibility or providing the needed floor spacing. It was good enough for San Antonio to win a couple of championships. It worked for Detroit, with Rasheed Wallace (offense) and Ben Wallace (defense) fitting together very well, albeit unconventionally.

    That said, Pollard is a free agent, Foster is coming off two years of injury problems and Harrison has been slow to develop, so there should be some level of uncertainty about that particular slot on the depth chart. The draft offers the easiest way to acquire another big body, but also the most uncertainty. As for free agents, Ben Wallace will be out of the Pacers' price range, leaving a second tier consisting of guys like Nazr Mohammed, Joel Przybilla and Michael Olowokandi. Denver's Nene, though a restricted free agent, would be a gamble, albeit at a reduced price because of his knee. That leaves trades and, when it comes to centers, it's always a seller's market in the NBA because demand far outstrips supply.

    All of which is another way of saying this: quality centers are the hardest commodity to acquire. Even if Pollard leaves, the Pacers still will have a deeper crop than most. While I'm sure there will be an interest and effort in replacing Pollard, should he leave, that doesn't mean this is the position of highest priority this summer.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Bruno only justifies the current line-up at the defensive end. He doesn't say that the center position holds up on offense except when JO is there.

    We've heard O'Neal is planning to lose weight to gain speed over the summer. Doesn't that mean he's going to stick with Power Forward?

    This isn't as good as Bruno's usual stuff, saying "Even if Pollard leaves, the Pacers still will have a deeper crop than most." It seems pretty clear that "depth" is no longer a strong argument around here. What we need is one really good center, not an assortment of broken pieces and unmolded potential.
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    Member indytoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    I'm not sure how Foster always ends up on these lists, he's always seemed more like a power forward to me. Looking at it that way, if Pollard leaves, the Pacers are left with only one true center. Which may be a good thing, if it would make Rick play him. But that seems unlikely.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    You can have a center like FOSTER who doesn`t need the ball to be effective. With 4 other scorers in the starting line-up FOSTER fits in nicely. He has the energy that the team needs on the floor, plus I feel he will have very good year coming up after getting all the way back from his injuries the past 2 years

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad
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    O'Neal's assertion that the team's biggest need is at center is paradoxical, because he is the best candidate on the roster to fill that position. For all intents and purposes, he already is the center, offensively, because he's the primary post threat and the first option in the offense.
    Did I write that? It sounds familiar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad
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    Defensively, in order to alleviate physical wear and tear, others have guarded the opposing center, allowing O'Neal to move to power forward.
    Did UncleBuck write that? It sounds familiar.

    Prior to this past season, JO did spend a lot of time defending the C. And he was taking too much wear and tear. So to keep him healthier, he didn't play as much C defensively last year. Worked wonders, didn't it?

    When Foster is playing C, both Foster and JO break down because Foster, for all his hustle, just isn't physical enough nor strong enough to play C in the NBA.

    Foster is a big part of the problem, and he's not part of the solution. And that's a shame because he is likeable as a player and as a person. Well, except when you pass him the ball, then he just plain sucks and I'm tired of watching this team play 4-on-five.
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Foster is a back-up PF with no offense and injury concerns.

    Pollard is a good back-up C with injury concerns; and judging by his post-season comments, he's not coming back anyways.

    Harrison is our only true C, but has some maturing to do - including his foul trouble.

    JO is an All-Star PF, OK C.

    Anyone know anything about Robert Whaley? He's probably not an All-Star, but I've heard his name mentioned with all the Toronto Trade Talks and now they plan on waiving him. Good back-up C?
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by pizza guy
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    Anyone know anything about Robert Whaley? He's probably not an All-Star, but I've heard his name mentioned with all the Toronto Trade Talks and now they plan on waiving him. Good back-up C?
    Well hopefully this answers your question....

    He's getting waived by Toronto

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    What comments by Pollard suggest he's not coming back?

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section204
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    Did I write that? It sounds familiar.



    Did UncleBuck write that? It sounds familiar.

    Prior to this past season, JO did spend a lot of time defending the C. And he was taking too much wear and tear. So to keep him healthier, he didn't play as much C defensively last year. Worked wonders, didn't it?

    When Foster is playing C, both Foster and JO break down because Foster, for all his hustle, just isn't physical enough nor strong enough to play C in the NBA.

    Foster is a big part of the problem, and he's not part of the solution. And that's a shame because he is likeable as a player and as a person. Well, except when you pass him the ball, then he just plain sucks and I'm tired of watching this team play 4-on-five.
    Did Jay write what I highlighted? He must have because he has a lot of weird ideas.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Let me ask a question that is related to this topic.

    Why are the Mavs so effective guarding Shaq and the Heat, (at least through the first two games)

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Am I missing something? Aren't they keeping a fresh Diop and Dampier in the game against Shaq?

    I know Shaq hasn't played well but I haven't taken the time to figure out why yet (other than my assumption that Shaq just doesn't play well on the road anymore but he's a beast during home games.)
    --- Edited Follow-Up ---
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    Did Jay write what I highlighted? He must have because he has a lot of weird ideas.
    Cute.

    Maybe unconventional, because I figure stuff out before others do. And then spend weeks or months or longer explaining what I see. But not weird.

    Do me a favor. Come out from behind that snide remard and tell me what is weird about that? Do you ever see Foster putting a body on the offensive player? Of course not. Further, that's what UncleBuck loves about Foster's defense: he fronts the post because he's too damn weak to play behind the guy. Its not a weird idea. Even Foster's biggest fans would agree.

    Quick? Yes. Hustle? Of course. Strong? uh, no.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section204
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    Maybe unconventional, because I figure stuff out before others do. And then spend weeks or months or longer explaining what I see. But not weird.

    Do me a favor. Come out from behind that snide remard and tell me what is weird about that?
    Don't break an arm patting yourself on the back! And since you are so good at figuring out stuff before others do, figure it out.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    :harrison:
    --- Edited Follow-Up ---
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Galen
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    Don't break an arm patting yourself on the back! And since you are so good at figuring out stuff before others do, figure it out.
    Well then how bout you explain it for the rest of us?
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Jay is right here. We play usually with two PFs, one that plays at that spot but should be a center and another that plays at the C spot but should be a 4off of the bench. What the Pacers need is a player that is a C in physical stature and not only is willing to accept the contact, but actually likes banging down low. It would also be really nice if he had more than one post move.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Why so many of you are stuck on acquring a "center" is beyond my comprehension. Why you want a physical bruising center, just doesn't make any sense to me. Why anyone feels like we need a center to put a body on the offensive player, I just don't understand it at all.

    Seems to me many of you are thinking this is 1996. The NBA has changed.

    Replace Foster if you must but don't replace him with a big bruising center, that would be a huge mistake. Haven't you watched the playoffs. Shaq's reign is over.


    Jay, the reason I like Jeff has nothing to do with him fronting the post. I love Jeff's hustle and I think his quick feet and quick hands are a real asset in todays NBA. Now if he can just get to the point where he can hit a wide open 12 footer.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    JO has been at his best when complimented by a true center who can score (Brad) or a PF who can score (Al). Al was also an excellent defender.

    If we don't look for the former, we need to search out the latter, or it's going to be another long season. I love Foster/Pollard as players, but as I've been saying since the Jersey series, those guys aren't going to get it done. They're excellent bench players, but neither is starter material and neither plays well off of JO (and vice versa).

    Hulk may be a different story, but you rarely see him and JO on the floor together...which is a damn shame. Because I think that combo has a lot of potential.
    --- Edited Follow-Up ---
    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Why so many of you are stuck on acquring a "center" is beyond my comprehension. Why you want a physical bruising center, just doesn't make any sense to me. Why anyone feels like we need a center to put a body on the offensive player, I just don't understand it at all.

    Seems to me many of you are thinking this is 1996. The NBA has changed.

    Replace Foster if you must but don't replace him with a big bruising center, that would be a huge mistake. Haven't you watched the playoffs. Shaq's reign is over.
    We need a center who can score. Jeff's offense isn't just bad, it's embarassingly bad. And Scot's isn't much better.

    One reason Detroit lost was lack of offensive production from their frontcourt.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchConnection
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    Jay is right here. We play usually with two PFs, one that plays at that spot but should be a center and another that plays at the C spot but should be a 4off of the bench. What the Pacers need is a player that is a C in physical stature and not only is willing to accept the contact, but actually likes banging down low. It would also be really nice if he had more than one post move.
    The Ps have that player.

    Too bad he just can't seem to play legal defense.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86
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    The Ps have that player.

    Too bad he just can't seem to play legal defense.
    He also gets whistled for lots of BS calls. My main problem with Hulk is how he complains about all of them (even if most are legit). You aren't going to win any ref's respect (and therefore, calls) when you do that all the time.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck
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    Why so many of you are stuck on acquring a "center" is beyond my comprehension. Why you want a physical bruising center, just doesn't make any sense to me. Why anyone feels like we need a center to put a body on the offensive player, I just don't understand it at all.

    Seems to me many of you are thinking this is 1996. The NBA has changed.

    Replace Foster if you must but don't replace him with a big bruising center, that would be a huge mistake. Haven't you watched the playoffs. Shaq's reign is over.
    Look at the two Finals teams this year. Diop and Dampier play a combined 43 minutes a game. The other team has Shaq.

    There must be something to it.
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade
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    He also gets whistled for lots of BS calls. My main problem with Hulk is how he complains about all of them (even if most are legit). You aren't going to win any ref's respect (and therefore, calls) when you do that all the time.
    When he learns to quit *****ing and play on, then he will start to get those calls.

    Granted, it would help if he had a coach that would stand up for him everyonce and a while, and maybe once a NBA season get a tech standing up for him.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Shade, I can buy the theory that we need an "center" who is an offensive threat. But that is different than saying we need a big bruising physical center.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    When he learns to quit *****ing and play on, then he will start to get those calls.

    Granted, it would help if he had a coach that would stand up for him everyonce and a while, and maybe once a NBA season get a tech standing up for him.
    I think he needs a coach to enforce discipline.

    Rick had it right - with David anyway. He got benched as soon as he ever did anything.

    I don't think the lesson sinks in, though, when Jack acts like an idiot all the time and is never punished. I think Rick's disciplinary methods may have become a joke to at least some of the team... maybe part of the reason why he lost the team.
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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    I think you need a true C size-wise but not necessarily somebody who scores consistently. Just depends on what you get out of the other four positions offensively. I'd prefer a big guy who specializes in rugged D and boardwork.

    What is more noticeably lacking from our current group is speed, shooting, and ballhandling from our perimeter players. We need an infusion of speed/athleticism/penetration at the 1-2-3 spots much more than we need a 5 who can score IMO.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    When he learns to quit *****ing and play on, then he will start to get those calls.

    Granted, it would help if he had a coach that would stand up for him everyonce and a while, and maybe once a NBA season get a tech standing up for him.
    QTF.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoupIsGood
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    I think he needs a coach to enforce discipline.

    Rick had it right - with David anyway. He got benched as soon as he ever did anything.

    I don't think the lesson sinks in, though, when Jack acts like an idiot all the time and is never punished. I think Rick's disciplinary methods may have become a joke to at least some of the team... maybe part of the reason why he lost the team.
    Hulk needs a big man coach who teaches technique, and a coach who lets him figure out how to play on his own.

    Fouling him out with 3 fouls does him nothing. He doesn't get valuable knowledge of what is allowed, and what's not allowed, when he only gets 10-15mins of playing time.

    He needs to be thrown out there and let himself foul out. Then he needs a big man coach to review the tape with him and say this is why it's wrong, and this is what you do to correct it.

    Practice is where he's going to make his major strides, and the Ps have NO ONE capable of giving him a good practice.

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    Default Re: Conrad Brunner's QOTD, How Could Center Position Be Addressed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86
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    Hulk needs a big man coach who teaches technique, and a coach who lets him figure out how to play on his own.

    Fouling him out with 3 fouls does him nothing. He doesn't get valuable knowledge of what is allowed, and what's not allowed, when he only gets 10-15mins of playing time.

    He needs to be thrown out there and let himself foul out. Then he needs a big man coach to review the tape with him and say this is why it's wrong, and this is what you do to correct it.

    Practice is where he's going to make his major strides, and the Ps have NO ONE capable of giving him a good practice.


    Yes, I agree with this.

    Also, he needs a coach that will play him in the 2nd half if he just finished playing an awesome 1st half. Rick is really weird with how he decides when to play David.
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