Only days away
Posted by Mike Wells
The start of training camp is less than a week away and I get the sense from talking to people in the organization that theyíve got a good feeling about this group of players.
Iím going to need a roster sheet so I know who is who at Mondayís media day at Conseco Fieldhouse because of so many new faces. I realized that when I decided to pop out to the Brickyard for the organizationís Foundation Golf Outing on Tuesday.
Here are some tidbits Iíve heard over the past week or so:
--Most of the players have been working out at Conseco on a regular basis. I havenít seen any of the workouts because theyíre closed to the media. One person told me this has been one of the best offseasons for the players in recent years. Coach Rick Carlisle went down to Atlanta to see Jamaal Tinsley a couple of weeks ago. Tinsley, who spent most of the summer in Atlanta, is supposedly in great shape and has been working with a trainer. Iím sure many of you will reserve judgment on Tinsley, who has battled numerous injuries the past three seasons, until the season starts. Sarunas Jasikevicius reportedly worked out with his former European team Maccabi Tel Aviv during summer.
--Forward Jermaine OíNeal had a sensational summer. Whatís impressed many is that he spent most of the summer in Indy and he worked on his whole body rather than just his upper half with the teamís strength and conditioning coach Shawn Windle. Thereís a feeling OíNeal will be back to the form that allowed him to finish in the top three of the MVP voting several years ago.
--The final two roster spots are wide open. John Edwards, Snap Hunter, Josh Powell, Rawle Marshall and Orien Greene will be battling it out for those two spots. The Pacers have to decide what they want to do with Powell because his contract becomes guaranteed early next week.
--The starting frontcourt is far from set. Thereís been a lot of talk of Jermaine OíNeal, Danny Granger and Al Harrington being the starting frontcourt. Carlisle has several options he can use. Jeff Foster or David Harrison can start at center with OíNeal and Harrington playing the forward spots. The opposing center can also dictate who starts.
--This group of players have already started developing a strong bond. The addition of Darrell Armstrong and the maturity of Jermaine OíNeal and Al Harrington have played a part in that. Last yearís team had issues over playing time playing time (Anthony Johnson and Sarunas Jasikevicius) and contract questions (Fred Jones) before training camp even started.