I suppose you could say that Jeff got the starting job back by default or by Murphy's subpar play - and if you want to say that - that is fine. My point is that ever since Brad Miller left, a number of players have been brought in to supposedly beat Jeff out and put Jeff back in his rightful place - that being the bench. But it never happens, Jeff always ends up as the starter.
Many thought that when O'Brien was hired, surely Jeff would now be coming off the bench, surely Jim would be smarter than Rick. But no, Foster is back in the starting lineup where he rightfully belongs.
O'Brien settles on a new lineup
By Mike Wells
LOS ANGELES -- One of the first things Jim O'Brien said when he was named coach of the Indiana Pacers was that he doesn't just hand out playing time.
O'Brien is delivering that message now.
The Pacers coach removed Troy Murphy from the starting lineup in favor of Jeff Foster, who is starting with the team's core group -- Jermaine O'Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger.
"The best five-man lineup we have when you evaluate every lineup we have is the one with Jeff Foster and Jermaine," O'Brien said. "They are better than the other lineup."
O'Brien gave indications a possible lineup switch was coming last week when he started Shawne Williams over Murphy at Denver. O'Brien said he made the switch to counter Denver's small lineup. Then he went with the O'Neal-Foster combination at Seattle on Friday.
Murphy, who has started 282 games in his career, is averaging 11.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this season. He had five points and four rebounds in almost 20 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
O'Brien said he didn't explain the switch to Murphy.
"The bottom line is our guys know that my door is open from a standpoint of playing time and talking to them about it," O'Brien said. "You take one lineup and there's an enormous difference. If he wants to find out why, I'd be happy to explain it to him."