Is Harrison Ready To Avoid Foul Play?
Brought back this picture for giggles
Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Q. I have been a big fan of David Harrison. I heard Slick Leonard or some other announcer say that he is one of the strongest players in the NBA. We all know about his Achilles heal – foul trouble. I am not sure whether his foul troubles are the result of a lack of respect because he is still relatively young, or because he complains a lot.
Regardless, if Harrison can overcome the foul troubles, can we expect a lot of minutes and perhaps a surprise year from him? (From Andy in Franklin, Ind.)
A. Amid all the discussion of the offseason conditioning work done by guys like Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley – and their transformations have indeed been impressive – perhaps the most encouraging summer was turned in by Harrison, who reported for the first day of camp carrying a chiseled 265 pounds.
That's right, I said it, and I'll say it again: David Harrison looks chiseled. And that is a major, major development. This is a guy, after all, who has spent more time over 300 than John Force.
After the promise of his rookie season, Harrison was largely frustrated last year. His role never evolved as hoped in part because of the constant foul trouble, but also because of deficiencies as a rebounder and post defender. His emotions often ran unchecked, compounding the problems. There's no question he has developed a reputation with officials as a fouler and that's something he'll have to work to overcome.
Cutting down on the complaints and technical fouls would be a big help. Carrying less weight, however, could be the domino that starts things going in his direction, once and for all.
Though it has been speculated Harrison could be left behind by a more up-tempo system, he actually runs very well for a player of his size and has deceptive overall athleticism, so he could fit quite nicely.
With Scot Pollard now in Cleveland, the Pacers need Harrison to become more of a complete player capable of banging with the big bodies at both ends. The coaches know he can score and block shots, and that's a good start. But he needs to do those other things, the little things, to hold down a regular spot in the rotation.
The team probably will rely predominantly on a smaller lineup lacking a true center, moving former starter Jeff Foster to the bench, which would appear to limit Harrison's opportunities.
But if the combination of better conditioning, less weight and more maturity are intangibles that enable Harrison to begin fulfilling his vast potential, you can trust the coaching staff will find a way to make use of a 7-footer with a rare combination of skills.