This is from Thursday.
Two responses are very interesting to me, I have highlighted them
I wonder what positions Slick thinks needs an upgrade. We know if it not the forward position
Posted 5/27/2004 10:42 PM
Leonard sets Pacers standard
Bobby "Slick" Leonard is in his 19th season as radio broadcaster for the Indiana Pacers. Leonard, 71, is the winningest coach in Pacers history with 529 wins and three ABA titles. He played for the Lakers in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and finished with the Chicago Packers. Leonard says he's "either played against, coached against or broadcast every player who's come down the pike in the last 50 years." He talked with USA TODAY's Bob Velin:
Indiana Pacers radio broadcaster Bobby "Slick" Leonard says Pacers aren't quite at championship talent level.
Q: You've said that coaching is getting the talent level. Explain.
A: You have to max out the talent level, whatever you have. If you have a ballclub that doesn't have the talent level to win big, then it's tough to make the playoffs.
Q: Dos Indiana have the talent level to win it all?
A: No, we're a little bit away. But the coaching staff — Rick (Carlisle), Mike Brown and Ron Rothstein — has done a wonderful job with this ballclub. They have absolutely maxed out the talent.
Q: Are you surprised at the job Carlisle has done after Isiah Thomas was fired by Larry Bird, considering the unhappiness among the players?
A. There was really only one player. Jermaine (O'Neal) had a very strong relationship with Isiah. There wasn't that much unhappiness among the other players.
Q: How did he win over Jermaine?
A: He treats Jermaine like a man. He was the first one to say, "I'm not going to be an Isiah Thomas to you. But I'm going to do the best with you I can, and I hope you respond." He treated him well, and Jermaine has responded.
Q: What has Bird's return meant to this franchise?
A: Larry's a very, very hard worker. He set up rules that are fair, and if you broke them, you paid the price. Larry lends a stature to an organization because, let's face it, he's one of the greatest players ever to play the game, and he shows respect to everyone until they show him different.
Q: You've won championships as a player at Indiana University and as a coach with the ABA Pacers. Which meant the most?
A: You have to separate them. But it means more when you do it as a player.
Q: Who will be in the Finals?
A: I think the Lakers are going to be there. They're really the only team out here with two superstars. And this series (vs. Detroit) is going to be tough for us to win. So I'll take the Lakers — they should be the favorite to win it all — and you pick the other.