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Thread: It all starts here

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    Member themayhem87's Avatar
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    Default It all starts here

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/article_23519.shtml

    Pacers: It All Starts Here

    By Adrian Lawhorn
    for HOOPSWORLD.com

    Oct 2, 2007, 00:08

    The Pacers are looking to turn things around and have a successful 2007-08 season. Many fans think the season kicks off with the first day of training camp, but particularly for those of us in the media, the season actually starts with Media Day. The following is a taste of what transpired as coaches and players gathered today in Indianapolis to meet with the media.

    Coach Jim O'Brien and Jermaine O'Neal each had a 30-minute session with the media to start the day's events. Coach O'Brien talked about how happy he is to be in Indiana, and how anxious he is to begin working with this team. He also likes the players the Pacers have brought in over the summer. "I've been very happy with the four players that we were able to get in the offseason: Travis (Diener), Stephen (Graham), Andre (Owens), and Kareem (Rush)," said O'Brien.

    Jim spoke about some of the returning players as well. With regard to Jamaal Tinsley, he discussed his experience with him as an opposing coach. "In Jamaal's case, he always troubled me from the standpoint of how shrewd he was handling the basketball and how difficult he was coming off pick-and-rolls," O'Brien said. "I don't think that he has necessarily played the type of offensive basketball that has allowed him to play at his best...I believe that he will excel."

    O'Brien also expressed his feelings about All-Star power forward Jermaine O'Neal. "Jermaine is a very unique talent...the thing that really intrigues me with Jermaine is how much of a force he can be at both ends of the court," said O'Brien.

    Coach O'Brien went on to summarized his philosophy of how to play the game. "There are three phases: there's the defensive end, there's the pursuit of any ball that's up for grabs...and then when you get the basketball, the ability to run effectively and attack the basket."

    There was much speculation last season about how important Marquis Daniels was to the team. The Pacers suffered a drought after he missed 33 games near the end of the season due to injury. Jim O'Brien spoke glowingly of both Daniels' skills and effort over the summer. "Nobody spent more time in Conseco than Marquis did," coach O'Brien said.

    O'Brien doesn't like the tag of "disciplinarian", but said he will have a no-nonsense approach to players' actions on and off the floor. He indicated that before a basketball is bounced on the first day of camp, those expectations will be discussed and made clear to everyone on the team.

    Jermaine O'Neal had his turn at the podium, and discussed an array of topics. However, he was not very interested in discussing trade rumors that may involve him. "People have conversations...it's all talk...I'm here, I'm happy to be here, I feel good, I like the staff, I like the guys...it should be an exciting year."

    Jermaine feels that with the new coaching staff in place, this is a fresh start for the entire team. "I think the most intriguing part is that we get the opportunity to learn the system together," said O'Neal. "It is a new year...sometimes failure makes you stronger, physically and mentally."

    O'Neal also talked a bit about the landscape in the Eastern Conference. "Everybody's talking about the additions that other teams have made. They have to play the same way we got to play. They got to go out and try to win games. We have just as good of a chance to win a game as Boston does."

    JO was candid throughout the interview, but two of his boldest statements were about the Celtics, and one of his teammates. "Do I think they (Boston) are going to win the championship this year? I don't think so. I think they'll be better next year than they will be this year."

    Jermaine talked about playing with Danny Granger and Shawne Williams this summer, and had some news about the young forward from Memphis. "To tell you the truth, one of the people that stood out the most is Shawne Williams...I think Shawne Williams probably has the most talent out of the two."

    O'Neal seemed to express genuine enthusiasm for the upcoming season. "It's almost like Christmas. That day before when you get that feeling in your stomach that there may be something special up under that tree," Jermaine said. "I have a good feeling about this year."

    Every player was excited about playing for the new coaching staff, and playing under the new system. Marquis Daniels' feelings were typical. "(There is) a lot of excitement, we got a new coach, a new system, things coming in, so everybody's very excited about coming in this year."

    Kareem Rush also likes the new up-tempo system, and came across as someone who believes in his ability to help this team. "I plan on providing a lot of scoring, a lot of three-pointers," he said. "I think I'm perfect for his (Jim O'Brien's) system...he doesn't mind guys shooting a lot of three-pointers."

    Several players commented on what they did to improve themselves during the offseason. "We sat down at the end of the season and met and discussed some things they wanted me to improve on, and a lot of that was physically getting stronger," said Mike Dunleavy. "They put together a program and I followed it". Troy Murphy also worked on strength during the offseason, and he looked noticeably bigger and stronger than before.

    Players also expressed their appreciation for the Pacers franchise, and Indiana basketball fans in general. "I think it's a perfect fit for me," Travis Diener said. "The fans are very passionate about basketball, those are the type of fans I want to play for."

    There were plenty of lighthearted moments at Media Day as well. For example, we learned a thing or two about Ike Diogu... he took an Art History class and a film study course this summer. Ike enjoyed the film class (he particularly likes Alfred Hitchcock movies). He's a Digital Animation major, and eventually wants to design video games.

    Getting to know players as people makes them more accessible to fans, and enhances the NBA experience for people who follow the league. Kareem Rush, for instance, wants to set up charities to help children once he gets settled into life in Indiana.

    Perhaps not all players want you to know them, however. In a true tongue-in-cheek moment, Troy Murphy had this to say when asked if there is anything we don't know about him that he'd like us to know. "Nah, I want to be an enigma."

    An enigma? That might be a perfect way to describe the 2007-08 Indiana Pacers. New coaches, a new system on both offense and defense, and a few new players should make this an interesting year for Pacers basketball. This team probably won't remain an enigma for very long though, and the process to find out what this team is all about starts now.


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    Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Quote Originally Posted by O'Neal View Post
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    O'Neal seemed to express genuine enthusiasm for the upcoming season. "It's almost like Christmas. That day before when you get that feeling in your stomach that there may be something special up under that tree," Jermaine said. "I have a good feeling about this year."
    Almost like Christmas.
    Is that present an X-Box?
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    -Jermaine talked about playing with Danny Granger and Shawne Williams this summer, and had some news about the young forward from Memphis. "To tell you the truth, one of the people that stood out the most is Shawne Williams...I think Shawne Williams probably has the most talent out of the two."-





    hmmm, that surprises me.

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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    -Jermaine talked about playing with Danny Granger and Shawne Williams this summer, and had some news about the young forward from . "To tell you the truth, one of the people that stood out the most is Shawne Williams...I think Shawne Williams probably has the most talent out of the two."-





    hmmm, that surprises me.
    Not me. Robetmto, myself, and a couple of others have said that we wouldn't be surprised if Shawne ended up being the better player (assuming he stays out of jail, that is).

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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Maybe if someone could specify what makes him potentially better I'd begin to see it. They seem similar to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
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    Maybe if someone could specify what makes him potentially better I'd begin to see it. They seem similar to me.

    Shawne seems like a more natural shooter, thats all I see, at this point. Shawne is still young so he could change fairly dramtically physically, I guess.

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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Hicks, it's all about "talent" he simply seems to have more, his moves are more natural then Danny's, his shot is less "learned" more "hey, I can do that"

    On top of that he seems more athletic, though I think that is an overrated term.
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Shawne always looks smooth out there, even when he's lost.
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    I don't think anyone questions Shawne's natural shooting ability. He has one of the nicest looking shots in the entire NBA. Other than shooting though I think Granger has more talent. But we'll see.

    So if the question is three years from now who will average more points per game Granger or Wiliams - I could see Williams averaging more points per game than Granger. But that doesn't mean that Granger isn't better

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I don't think anyone questions Shawne's natural shooting ability. He has one of the nicest looking shots in the entire NBA. Other than shooting though I think Granger has more talent. But we'll see.

    So if the question is three years from now who will average more points per game Granger or Wiliams - I could see Williams averaging more points per game than Granger. But that doesn't mean that Granger isn't better
    The thing is, I never think "natural shooting ability" when I think "power forward." But that's what Bird says Shawne is going to become.

    I've never looked at Shawne and seen a 4. Sure, in O'Brien's system, maybe. But outside of that, certainly not.

    So his natural position is the same as Granger's and Dunleavy. Perfect.
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    The other deal is I could never see Shawne guarding the other teams best player, which we are with Danny.

    I'm pretty high on Danny at this point, as an all around above average starter in the NBA, at both ends of the floor.

    I hope JO is right cuz the Pacers are then in good shape, especially if Shawne grows into a guy who can guard 4s.

    Its really hard to judge Shawne since he has very little responsibilty or expectations when on the floor. DG has to bring it every night or the team really suffers. If Shawne starts to get that responsibility and still looks smooth and improving maybe then I could start to think it.

    At this point I'm just not seeing it even being close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    -Jermaine talked about playing with Danny Granger and Shawne Williams this summer, and had some news about the young forward from . "To tell you the truth, one of the people that stood out the most is Shawne Williams...I think Shawne Williams probably has the most talent out of the two."-





    hmmm, that surprises me.
    Even though Danny is by far my favorite Pacer, this comment actually shows leadership to me. Jermaine pumping up a young player and putting it out there sets an expectation for Shawne to live up to. I like the quote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Not me. Robetmto, myself, and a couple of others have said that we wouldn't be surprised if Shawne ended up being the better player (assuming he stays out of jail, that is).
    I've been in that camp as well. However it's hard to tell if Shawne was just more polished early on or had more talent. Mainly I was shocked that Shawne played so well given his age/experience. I'd figured on him being useless for a few seasons like most project selections are.

    He's got a quicker release than Danny and showed more awareness last year. Danny ultimately is going to be the better ball handler I think as it doesn't seem like Shawne's thing, but last year DG was still struggling with that as well. Shawne is a better rebounder too I think.

    Ultimately if they both played "wing" together Danny would be more of the SF and Shawne more of the PF, but not as distinct from each other as those roles are in a classic sense (McKey/Dale, Dun/JO).

    Danny might have been given some tough defensive assignments, but that didn't make him good at it. He often struggled on defense last year, more than he did on offense by a wide margin. He not only fell for ball fakes and other youthful errors, he also got lost in the rotations and was more reaction than anticipation. Shawne had this happen too, but not as much.

    For example, when they were doing a 1 high, 2-2 zone defense with the guy up top being the decision man when the ball rotated, Danny started in this role but was eventually swapped for Shawne because he appeared to have fewer lapses in reading zone overloads and switches.


    If you keep Dun he has to be a SF, but that pushes Shawne to the PF and makes him another Murphy type. All the new season's positives don't remove the issue of roster redundancy at the 3-4, even if Foster is a center (which really he's a Dale-type PF being asked, like Dale, to move to the 5).


    Shawne's caught a lot of flack for the license thing, but let's not let that overshadow what he was becoming in the final few months last season. He's made a mistake and if that's the end of it then so what really.

    However let me add that Shawne's summer effort was less inspired. That did worry me a bit. I expected him to show more against that level of talent.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 10-02-2007 at 12:24 PM.

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    Default Re: It all starts here

    If I remember correctly, the Pacers took Williams because they thought he was lottery (or even high lottery) talent if he stayed in another year.

    Given that, I'm not surprised they, and JO, have high expectations for him.
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Although JONeal's comments does seem like an obvious straight forward comparison between Granger and Shawne.....am I the only one that also interpretted JONeal's comment about Shawne more as a "vote of confidence and support" from the "Top Dog / Leader of the Locker room" given Shawne's recent publicized off-court issues?
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    Default Re: It all starts here

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug View Post
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    If I remember correctly, the Pacers took Williams because they thought he was lottery (or even high lottery) talent if he stayed in another year.

    Given that, I'm not surprised they, and JO, have high expectations for him.
    1. Oden
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    3. Shawne Williams>>>Al Horford????

    Top ten maybe. Top lottery???? Nah

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