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Thread: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

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    Default Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    For a Christmas present, my girlfriend got me and her son Pacers tickets for any game we wanted. As he is a big Carmelo Anthony fan, he picked the Denver game as the one he wanted to see. Since I hadnt been to a game live all season due to my horrendous work schedule, it was nice to finally make it up to Conseco again to see my beloved Pacers. Im just now finding time to post my observations from the game for all my friends on Pacers Digest. Here is what I saw or thought about while watching the game:

    -I had read on here that the Pacer fans were booing Jamal Tinsley since the night at 8 seconds, but I didnt really hear how loud it was until I was there to experience it in person. To be honest with you, I dont really know what I feel about that....I dont like Jamal as a player defensively at all, and he is taking way more shots than I like, but I still dont know if Id boo my own teams players that way. Im conflicted on that issue, but I do know now for sure that the Pacers have no choice, their fanbase is demanding that Jamal is gone, and I think he will be as soon as Larry and Donnie find a deal that doesnt completely screw us. I also wonder if the fans booing effects the play and spirit of the staff and roster.

    -Its clear Indianapolis is a Colts town now. Even at the Pacers game itself, there were many more Colts jackets, hats, sweatshirts, etc etc than Pacers gear. I understand it as Im a huge Colts fan myself, but the Pacers will always be number one in my book, as I grew up that way. However, kids right now are making sports decisions that some will stick with their entire life, and I wonder if the Pacers truly realize how bad the long term damage is on their fanbase and its future with the personnel weve put on the court in the last couple of years. Clearly, something has to change in that regard before the Pacers lose too much ground in the city.

    -Until I saw it live and could view the entire floor, I didnt realize what a hindrance Jeff Foster is to a teams half court offense. I admit, I have no idea as a coach how to use Jeff offensively, and neither does Rick. RC had Jeff setting a multitude of "ball screens" for Tinsley and others, and they had absolutely no effect whatsoever. His screens are poor, but more than that his man just switches on the ballhandler until the original defender can recover, and since Jeff is such a non threat there is no chance of throwing it back to Jeff and getting anything out of it. Since Jeff is a very poor away from the ball screener too, and he can't shoot, handle the ball, pass, or post up, I have no clue other than an offensive rebound what he is capable of doing to help a team play offense. Maybe somebody can coach a way to have him help us, but that person isnt me.

    -Ike Diogu reminds me of a scene from the movie "major league". The scene Im thinking of is when Pedro Cerrano is killing fastballs for home runs in batting practice, and the manager says something like "this guy hits a ton, why hasnt anyone else picked him up?" Then they throw curves to him, see him swing wildly and miss, and the manager goes "oh s--t". Thats the way Ike reacts to a doubleteam in the post. As long as he draws single coverage he can play, but if he is doubled at all he isnt big enough to see over it or a good enough passer to pass out of it. He is very very raw.

    -We all want Danny Granger to be a defensive stopper, but he isn't. He is an average defender at best, at least right now. Its too much for us to ask him to both guard the opponents best player and try and contribute 20 points a night. With the Pacers roster configuration he has to guard the opponents best wings, but he isnt ready for it yet. Getting a guy who can do that so Danny doesnt have to needs to be a major offseason project for the Pacers, in my judgment.

    -From where I sat, I didnt think the officials were as bad as I read on here and heard from my family afterwards. I thought Jermaine flopped on the play where RC blew up and was tossed. Im not sure what happened to Darrell, but I do know he was working the official hard during the timeout instead of running back to the huddle.

    -Speaking of RC and Joey Crawford, Rick clearly got tossed from that game on purpose in my view. Everyone in basketball knows Crawford is the quickest tempered official in the league, I even told my girlfriends son that before the game. RC went onto the floor after Crawford, instead of the official underneath who actually was nearer the play. I think it was a premeditaded decision to try and inspire his team, unfortunately I think the Pacers are beyond inspiration, at least for this night anyway.

    -Jermaine is clearly hurting. He had no quickness or explosion, and had no legs on his jumpshot. He has such a laid back expression and method of playing, and seemed to me to lack enthusiasm. Actually, aside from Darrell Armstrong our entire team is that way. I wish we played with more enthusiasm as a group, and JO in particularly. Sometimes, I wonder if JO is just numb from all the drama and nonsense and changes the Pacers seem to keep experiencing.

    -Conseco is still a wonderful place to watch a game, and I fall in love with it more each and every time I'm there. I do sometimes wonder though if its TOO nice, and lacks atmosphere inside the arena.....its easy to just get comfortable and watch the game, instead of cheering and yelling like you should be.

    -Believe it or not, I think this Pacers team needs to get out of town and on the road soon. The atmosphere of the city isnt conducive to winning right now for them, and they need to get out of town away from the distractions and bond together better. Maybe the All Star break will recharge their batteries and make them come back more focused, I dont know.

    -Im not panicking about this team. Through the ups and downs, we clearly remain a midlevel Eastern Conference team that is learning how to play together. We arent good enough yet to worry about a championship, we just need to continue to play and get better so we can hopefully peak in March and advance as far as we can. In the offseason, we can reevaluate our team and make decisions then. Until then, we need to all as fans quit panicking after every loss, and quit thinking we've turned the corner after every win. It's a long season fans, now is not the time to abandon ship or give up yet. I can promise you this....if we get to the playoffs healthy, there are many teams in the east who dont want to play us.

    -Off season priorities: A positive force at point guard who plays defense and has leadership qualities, a defensive wing player who can start (Marquis might be the guy, but the jury is still out), and a settled roster that whoever coaches it next season can mesh together and coach it to play the right way.

    As always, just my opinion.

    Tbird

  2. #2
    Member odeez's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Nice thread Tbird, thanks.
    Avatar photo credit: Bahram Mark Sobhani - AP

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Going back to my notes I took (yes, Im nerdy that way) here are a few more:

    -We need to post up Tinsley more, and play him with his back to the basket. He doesnt have the vertical spring necessary nor the blow by speed to get past anyone and take the shots he is taking. However, his clever passing skills and brute strength can be used if he is playing with his back to the goal. To my memory, he only got to post up once in this game....and this led directly to a very nice pass to the same side corner for a wide open made 3 pointer by Danny Granger. RC needs to get more imaginative in how he is using Tinsley offensively, and/or Tinsley when he is driving to the basket needs to turn his back to the defender and use post moves to score/create, since he can't get past his man, or lift enough to get a jump shot over the front of the rim.

    -I found it fascinating that Donnie and Bird sit so close to one another (Bird sits in the row behind him) but yet they never talk to each other during the game. I also was fascinated by all the autographs Bird signs during the games, and by the fact that Larry seemed to be in conversation with what appeared to be just a normal fan who happened to be sitting behind him. In the least, whomever this was was dressed like a fan, wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans. I looked over at Bird often during the game, especially to see his reactions to various calls or in the 2 ejections, and saw nothing other than him chatting with the this guy behind him. Donnie just looked like he had some bad fish before game time by the expressions he wore throughout the game.

    -I worry about RC a little, in that I think its possible some of the key players are tuning him out. I've coached teams that had seasons like the Pacers are having, and I understand his frustration level, I really do. I totally agree with what I read in another thread about whether the players have totally "bought in" to RC. I know for sure that unless a team truly believes up and down its roster what its coach is doing is right, that it can poison the entire roster, and I wonder about that with us. The players have got to buy what RC is selling, from JO all the way to the 15th guy, and I dont know if thats happened.

    -I really enjoyed seeing Doug Moe on the Denver sideline. I had to explain to my girlfriends son who he was, and how fast of a pace his Nuggest team used to play at. He is too used to teams struggling to crack 90 points, like our current Pacers team.....he didnt believe there once was an NBA where teams scored 120 plus almost every night.

    -Whomever signed "Nene" to a huge contract is nuts. He was so bad in this game offensively it was almost comical. He might have the worst contract in the NBA. By the way, he used to have a last name of "Hilario" didn't he? I always thought you had to reach a certain level of achievement to have the nerve to be known by just one name :"Cher", "Madonna", "Pele"....what the crap has "Nene" ever done besides commit a bunch of charging fouls and take bad shots?

    -The Pacers opening video on the big screen is funny looking and silly. The video of a too serious Dunleavy dribbling, and the expression Carlisle has in his video is ridiculous. Whoever came up with that needs to be traded along with Tinsley.

    Tbird

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Why do I always feel the need to defend Jeff. But I certainly enjoy it. Keep in mind the Nuggets play an extremely unusual defense. They are the only team in the NBA that switches everything, they stunt, they double team the post, they are tryiung to create turnovers. So my point is using the Denver game as a gauge as to how Jeff effects our offense isn't a fair game because of the unusual defense the Nugs play.

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    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Nice thoughts, tbird.

    To answer your question about Nene, him dropping his last name is part of his cultural background, not a declaration of celebrity status.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Why do I always feel the need to defend Jeff. But I certainly enjoy it. Keep in mind the Nuggets play an extremely unusual defense. They are the only team in the NBA that switches everything, they stunt, they double team the post, they are tryiung to create turnovers. So my point is using the Denver game as a gauge as to how Jeff effects our offense isn't a fair game because of the unusual defense the Nugs play.

    I dont want this to be a thread about Jeff Foster by itself, since there already plenty of those, but.....

    UB, if you were somehow coaching the Pacers, please tell me how you'd use or hide Jeff offensively? While I understand that the Nuggest do do some different things defensively from a strategic standpoint, and I also understand what Jeff brings to the table in other areas, I just simply dont see a way to use him at all in the half court from an offensive perspective.

    I know there are those of you who think he screens well, but I promise you he doesnt.....neither for the ballhandler or away from the ball. And since screening is the one thing he theoretically SHOULD do well, I dont know what else to do with him in the half court offensively...its a major coaching problem I dont think RC or anyone else has ever solved. He can't stretch the defense any since he can't shoot, he isnt a particularly good passer, screening is a problem, he can't post up....other than stick him in a corner away from the ball I can't figure out what to do with him. And sticking him in the corner away from the ball isnt going to work since that takes him away from doing the one thing he can do, which is offensive rebound.

    To UB: If you were coaching the Pacers, how would you use Jeff in the half court offense in a way that would be somewhat effective? I can't figure out a way myself.....

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    Nice thoughts, tbird.

    To answer your question about Nene, him dropping his last name is part of his cultural background, not a declaration of celebrity status.

    Just to add, Nene is Brazilian. A lot of soccer players do it, too (i.e. Ronaldo).

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    I dont want this to be a thread about Jeff Foster by itself, since there already plenty of those, but.....

    UB, if you were somehow coaching the Pacers, please tell me how you'd use or hide Jeff offensively? While I understand that the Nuggest do do some different things defensively from a strategic standpoint, and I also understand what Jeff brings to the table in other areas, I just simply dont see a way to use him at all in the half court from an offensive perspective.

    I know there are those of you who think he screens well, but I promise you he doesnt.....neither for the ballhandler or away from the ball. And since screening is the one thing he theoretically SHOULD do well, I dont know what else to do with him in the half court offensively...its a major coaching problem I dont think RC or anyone else has ever solved. He can't stretch the defense any since he can't shoot, he isnt a particularly good passer, screening is a problem, he can't post up....other than stick him in a corner away from the ball I can't figure out what to do with him. And sticking him in the corner away from the ball isnt going to work since that takes him away from doing the one thing he can do, which is offensive rebound.

    To UB: If you were coaching the Pacers, how would you use Jeff in the half court offense in a way that would be somewhat effective? I can't figure out a way myself.....


    I only have a few minutes because I'm leaving for the pacers game. Let me give this some more thought and I give some other ideas. I do however thing Rick uses him very well. If you notice whenever Jeff gets the ball he does a nice job passing quickly - he willingly reverses the ball and then if you notice he then goes straight towards the basket on the weakside because usually by this time JO has the ball in the low post. And teams scramble to get a body on Jeff when a shot is taken. I've noticed that whenever JO has the ball probably 95% of the time Jeff is near the opposite box getting into rebounding position. Jeff is never feeding the post - and rightfully so because that would be an easy and quick double team. Murphy fees the post though. So the coahcing staff has adjusted the plays to Murph and Jeff.

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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Didn't Donnie and Bird used to sit together? I noticed them sitting in separate rows at a game too.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Yes, they used to sit next to each other.

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    -Its clear Indianapolis is a Colts town now. Even at the Pacers game itself, there were many more Colts jackets, hats, sweatshirts, etc etc than Pacers gear. I understand it as Im a huge Colts fan myself, but the Pacers will always be number one in my book, as I grew up that way. However, kids right now are making sports decisions that some will stick with their entire life, and I wonder if the Pacers truly realize how bad the long term damage is on their fanbase and its future with the personnel weve put on the court in the last couple of years. Clearly, something has to change in that regard before the Pacers lose too much ground in the city.
    I think you are overreading into this. Yes, it is a Colts town even at Pacers games, but they just won the city's first major sports league championship, one without the asterick of the ABA titles. It's been a week, people just spent money to get geared up.

    I wear my Colts jacket to Pacers games all the time, even after they lost to PIT last year. And for Manning's 49 TD game vs SD I wore my Pacers Xmas cap I got at the game the night before. Fans thought it was Charger colors (sad that people don't get that two teams are in town).

    thats the way Ike reacts to a doubleteam in the post. As long as he draws single coverage he can play, but if he is doubled at all he isnt big enough to see over it or a good enough passer to pass out of it. He is very very raw.
    Gnome and I discussed this at both the GS and SEA games. So it's not just one person's opinion or just a bad night vs DEN. It's a problem. Vs SEA he threw one of his passes 8 feet out of bounds, just nowhere near a Pacer at all. That's panic.

    Didn't Donnie and Bird used to sit together? I noticed them sitting in separate rows at a game too.
    I thought Walsh always sat next to one of the Simons. Bird is often found in the tunnel standing near DW's seat, but I thought it was rare that LB and DW sat next to each other.


    Foster - TBird, Jeff is used well in the offense at times. His thing is not screens as you noted. He's not a threat on the PnR so it isn't effective. But he is very good at weakside cuts to the lane from high or baseline (baseline on post doubles especially), he's a great transition trailer (strong finisher). He's a decent passer, not a good end target. So a PnR where the goal is to move the ball to weakside motion off the PnR is where he works much better.

    When I put up the "Foster shooting" thread one of the reasons was that he was missing layups that came from the offensive flow (ie, not an O-rebound). They can get him 4-5 good looks per game, partly because teams will leave him and he's smart enough to make them pay by going to the rim.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    They'd had seats next to each other since 03-04 but Larry sometimes prefers standing in the tunnel. This is the first year their seats aren't next to each other.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    -Im not panicking about this team. Through the ups and downs, we clearly remain a midlevel Eastern Conference team that is learning how to play together. We arent good enough yet to worry about a championship, we just need to continue to play and get better so we can hopefully peak in March and advance as far as we can. In the offseason, we can reevaluate our team and make decisions then. Until then, we need to all as fans quit panicking after every loss, and quit thinking we've turned the corner after every win. It's a long season fans, now is not the time to abandon ship or give up yet. I can promise you this....if we get to the playoffs healthy, there are many teams in the east who dont want to play us.

    Tbird
    Strongly agree. I don't shy from pointing out flaws I think they have, but that doesn't mean I dislike the team or anything. I have been frustrated by DunDun, but I still want him to do well.

    Often I find myself taking the "anti-Pacers" view against some fan that is promoting only part of the team as a method for blasting a player they don't like (ie, "see how good they are without X"). But that's not how I feel at the game or in my own thoughts while I'm watching. I think "man, Dun can't buy a shot, stop going to him", but never "trade him, he sucks".


    I love following the Pacers, love the NBA level of the sport, and remain hopeful for good results even when I expect uninspiring ones instead (like this season).

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    From TBird:

    "-Until I saw it live and could view the entire floor, I didnt realize what a hindrance Jeff Foster is to a teams half court offense. I admit, I have no idea as a coach how to use Jeff offensively, and neither does Rick. RC had Jeff setting a multitude of "ball screens" for Tinsley and others, and they had absolutely no effect whatsoever. His screens are poor, but more than that his man just switches on the ballhandler until the original defender can recover, and since Jeff is such a non threat there is no chance of throwing it back to Jeff and getting anything out of it. Since Jeff is a very poor away from the ball screener too, and he can't shoot, handle the ball, pass, or post up, I have no clue other than an offensive rebound what he is capable of doing to help a team play offense. Maybe somebody can coach a way to have him help us, but that person isnt me."

    I like Foster alot. I think of all the Pacers, he and Army bring the most energy and effort every single night no matter what. But..

    I've also been very critical of his poor offensive game. He's never been a scorer, but that's just it! If somebody would just work with him on his ball handling (drippling) or to develop a jump shot he'd really shock some people. I've also notice all the high screens he sets for Tinsley and Armstrong and wonder every single time why he always passes the ball when he's clearly open for the shot. Now, granted, we really don't want him taking 12-15 footers, but if he'd work on that one set play - the high screen (or PnR) - and learn to knock down that shot when the ball his passed back to him off the screen, man he'd become a very nice weapon because you clearly see that play works w/Jeff being wide open nearly every time. And even if he's not open initially, one ball fake like he's passing the ball but instead he takes the shot when he man leave him to double-up on somebody else...he'd score 20 pts by himself that way because most teams really don't see him as an offensive threat!

    I can't tell you the number of times I've screamed at the TV saying, "Take the shot!", or asked, "Why don't you (Foster) put the ball on the floor and make a power move to the basket?" If the Pacers' asst. coaches are reading this thread, take heed! Work with Foster on the above aspects of his game and you will have created something where nothing existed before - a shooting Jeff Foster. And that can only be an asset to the team.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    -Ike Diogu reminds me of a scene from the movie "major league". The scene Im thinking of is when Pedro Cerrano is killing fastballs for home runs in batting practice, and the manager says something like "this guy hits a ton, why hasnt anyone else picked him up?" Then they throw curves to him, see him swing wildly and miss, and the manager goes "oh s--t". Thats the way Ike reacts to a doubleteam in the post. As long as he draws single coverage he can play, but if he is doubled at all he isnt big enough to see over it or a good enough passer to pass out of it. He is very very raw.
    Nobody that scores the ball in the paint like he does is very very raw. I know what you mean, but he is VERY skilled with the ball.
    It was only, oh, maybe a YEAR ago that people here complained about Jermaines inability to deal with double teams.
    It will come with time and minutes./

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    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    To tBird and Seth

    Seth: There are no asteriks next to the ABA Championships

    tBird: I've asked this before and it probably always comes across as stupid but Jeff was a guard at one time. Wouldn't you think he would be a better shooter than he is. Having said that, at one time I was a forward-center, then I quit growing and got switched to guard. I couldn't make that transition because I was use to playing with my back to the basket. Anything like that with Foster?
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by ABADays View Post
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    To tBird and Seth

    Seth: There are no asteriks next to the ABA Championships

    tBird: I've asked this before and it probably always comes across as stupid but Jeff was a guard at one time. Wouldn't you think he would be a better shooter than he is. Having said that, at one time I was a forward-center, then I quit growing and got switched to guard. I couldn't make that transition because I was use to playing with my back to the basket. Anything like that with Foster?
    I have no idea.

    The question of why players in general (most of them) and Jeff in particular don't improve over time their basic skills is beyond me....its a question I can't answer. Its a big problem I have with not just him but most of the Pacers roster, and the vast majority of NBA players.

    Its also an indictment of the Pacers coaching staff to some degree, but I blame this more on Jeff himself than anyone else. He is the one who has to put in the time and sweat and effort to improve in the ofseasons, and he simply hasnt done that with any success.

    He never shoots anything from the perimeter with any regularity, but he looks like his hand position on the ball isnt great and his right elbow flies out on his jumper, but Id need to study much more film and see him repetitively shooting to make sure that is right.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    -Whomever signed "Nene" to a huge contract is nuts. He was so bad in this game offensively it was almost comical. He might have the worst contract in the NBA.
    lol. not even close. hes playing some great ball.

    By the way, he used to have a last name of "Hilario" didn't he? I always thought you had to reach a certain level of achievement to have the nerve to be known by just one name :"Cher", "Madonna", "Pele"....what the crap has "Nene" ever done besides commit a bunch of charging fouls and take bad shots?
    the one name thing has nothing to do with nerve - hes brazilian. its a cultural thing.

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    Default Re: Tbird observations from row 20 vs Denver

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    I have no idea.

    The question of why players in general (most of them) and Jeff in particular don't improve over time their basic skills is beyond me....its a question I can't answer. Its a big problem I have with not just him but most of the Pacers roster, and the vast majority of NBA players.

    Its also an indictment of the Pacers coaching staff to some degree, but I blame this more on Jeff himself than anyone else. He is the one who has to put in the time and sweat and effort to improve in the ofseasons, and he simply hasnt done that with any success.

    He never shoots anything from the perimeter with any regularity, but he looks like his hand position on the ball isnt great and his right elbow flies out on his jumper, but Id need to study much more film and see him repetitively shooting to make sure that is right.
    I'll take a crack at that one:
    Players dont work on their skills because -
    1. They don't need to. They already have guaranteed contracts paying MILLIONS of dollars for their current skillset.
    2. Coaches dont want players doing things that they "dont know how to do", i.e. experimenting new skills. If Foster would start taking (and inevitably at one point missing) some 12-15 footers Rick would yank him out screaming "What the ******* are you trying to do?!". In particular Rick would probably react like that the 1st shot, even if it went in.
    3. During the season November-April there is no time for improving your game. There are so many games, and flights, and team practices, and workouts at the gym, and whatever distractions so there's just no reasonable time for a player to improve.
    4. During the offseason it's time to rest after the long hard season. Nagging injuries need to heal, sometimes with minor surgury. It's also family time and living time. It takes strong will to postpone all those things by another year to go put some hours improving your shot.
    5 (and maybe this hould be #1). It's EXTREMELY hard to improve physical aspects of your game such as shooting, dribbling, passing, etc. after a certain age. The age varies individually, but for players in their mid-late 20's it's very very hard. There's the classic example of MJ intoducing a new move every offseason, but that's the anomaly. It can also be argued that a new move is just another usage of the basic skill-set, and not actually improving any of them (MJ never got that 3 in good percentages, did he?...)


    Hope that sheds some light...

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