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Thread: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

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    Default Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    You know to expect me to post this...


    Dunleavy believes best is still to come

    He wants to expand on breakout season

    By Mike Wells
    Posted: October 2, 2008

    Indiana Pacers swingman Mike Dunleavy played and looked like a free man last season.

    He no longer had to deal with the constant criticism that marked his first 41/2 seasons with Golden State. A clear mental state and an offense geared around his skills allowed Dunleavy to average a career-high 19.1 points and quiet those who saw him as a spot-up shooter and draft bust.

    So what's next for the former No. 3 overall pick?

    "If I can get better in my sixth year in the league, I can get better in my seventh," he said. ". . . I had a lot of pent-up aggression (last season) and frustration and I never really expected it to take that long, that many years, to figure things out. I think I can play in a lot of systems, but I think it helped completely getting away from that mess (in Golden State)."

    Dunleavy's offensive breakthrough -- he averaged five more points than his previous best season and shot a career-high 42 percent on 3-pointers -- didn't surprise Pacers coach Jim O'Brien, who said he structured some of the offense to take advantage of Dunleavy's all-around ability.

    "Michael is a basketball player and Michael needs to play basketball," O'Brien said. "Playing basketball is moving, passing, handling it, being a playmaker. If the only thing you're going to do is spot up, he's never going to have his potential reached. Here, we almost created it because of his skill set because he's so good at moving."

    Dunleavy made enough of an impression on Larry Bird that the Pacers president said, "Whatever you did last summer, you should do it again," during their end-of-the-season meeting.

    That wasn't good enough for Dunleavy. He knows if he expects to finally play on a playoff team, it's going to take more than knocking down an open 3-pointer or filling the lane on fast breaks.

    O'Brien already has said he wants Dunleavy to become a better leader and improve his defense.

    Dunleavy took about three weeks off right after the season, then another couple of weeks in late June to get married. He spent the rest of the time working on parts of his game he routinely fine-tunes -- countless jump shots, fundamental pump-fakes and drives to the basket -- and put extra emphasis on his defense.

    "I put a lot of work into it," Dunleavy said. "The biggest thing I wanted to improve on was my quickness and things like that. Being 6-9, 6-10 and having to chase these little guys around, it's something I have to get better at and improve on."

    While working out in California and New York with teammate Troy Murphy, Dunleavy developed tendinitis in his right knee. It's still sore and forced him to watch the first two days of practice from the sideline. It's possible he could practice today.

    O'Brien said a player can't "dramatically" improve his lateral quickness. However, players can become better defenders by making sure their "technique is flawless, from his body position, to the angle of his feet."

    "There's nobody better on the team from a standpoint of understanding where he needs to be," O'Brien said of Dunleavy. "He's not going to be Kobe Bryant from the standpoint of containing the basketball, but there are ways -- little tricks -- that can be taught to players about how to improve and contain the ball."

    Dunleavy's offensive numbers might not grow this season; the Pacers are expected to have more capable scorers than they did last season. But if he can improve on defense, he'll be able to distance himself further from the mess that was Golden State.

    "It's great to see what's happened to him," said Murphy, his teammate since 2002-03. "He really had a tough go with some of the criticism out there in Golden State that was unwarranted. He worked his butt off (during the summer) and he's in great shape. He's going to get over this little hiccup (knee) he has and he'll be fine."

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...TS04/810020459
    I like this article. Things like this weren't said about him in Golden State. He is going to continure to improve his all-around game and become that player he was expected to be.
    Last edited by duke dynamite; 10-02-2008 at 02:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    I agree that he probably won't build on his point total this year but given his past history, I'd take another 17+ ppg just to solidify the consistency he has hopefully found. I want him to be a part of our future whether it be in a starting spot or 6th man situation and he's def. going to get his chance
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    "There's nobody better on the team from a standpoint of understanding where he needs to be," O'Brien said of Dunleavy.


    That is exactly what I always bring up whenever anyone criticizes Mike's defense. He's really one of the better team defenders the Pacers have had in many years.

    As far as team defense, I'd put him up there with Dale Davis and Derrick McKey - obviously he's not nearly as good as those two in one-on-one defense

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Dunleavy would be even better if he didn't have to "chase little guys around."

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom View Post
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    Dunleavy would be even better if he didn't have to "chase little guys around."
    Good point, but with the two best all-around players being Granger and Dun, one of them has to do it, or else one of them would have to bang with wide-body PFs, which is even worse.

    I used to think Dun would have to go, no matter how well he played, since he and Danny ought to play exclusively at small forward. But more importantly it is nice to have smart players, and I know that's a stereotype, so I'll apply it to BOTH Danny and Mike. I think they both have good instincts, work ethic, appreciation for the team concept, understanding of what it takes to get better, and a determination to get there. I want them both here for the long haul if they can make the defense work.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    If Dun didn't chase the little guys he would have to chase and physically battle the Lebrons, Melos, Carons, Dengs, and other stronger and faster SFs in the league.

    At least this way he is not equally out powered by the Rips, Redds, AIs, Jason Richardsons, Ray Allens, and Brandon Roys.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    He didn't mention it, but I hope he's working on post up moves to take advantage of "all those little guys" he has to chase around.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by intridcold View Post
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    If Dun didn't chase the little guys he would have to chase and physically battle the Lebrons, Melos, Carons, Dengs, and other stronger and faster SFs in the league.

    At least this way he is not equally out powered by the Rips, Redds, AIs, Jason Richardsons, Ray Allens, and Brandon Roys.
    Yeah... but nobody can hang with Melo and Bron. The problem is that almost all SGs are faster than Mike and while most SFS won't tire him out, quicker guards will .

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Mike doesn't always guard the shooting guard. Granger defends whoever is the better scorer -whether it is the small forward or shooting guard. Anbd Mike takes the other guy. Granger guards Redd so in that case Mike guards the small forward. Not sure about this season now that RJ is there.

    Last season Granger generally guarded Rip and Mike took Prince

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    So Mike will have a problem with quickness against most of the leagues starting swingmen.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Mike doesn't always guard the shooting guard. Granger defends whoever is the better scorer -whether it is the small forward or shooting guard. Anbd Mike takes the other guy. Granger guards Redd so in that case Mike guards the small forward. Not sure about this season now that RJ is there.

    Last season Granger generally guarded Rip and Mike took Prince
    Obviously.... I was simply referring to "chasing little guys," which neither Danny nor Mike should do.
    Last edited by rexnom; 10-02-2008 at 10:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by intridcold View Post
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    So Mike will have a problem with quickness against most of the leagues starting swingmen.
    True.

    but let me say this, of all the problems with the Pacers defense last season - Mike Dunleavy was at worst a wash. What he gave up in trying to guard his man, he made up for in the team concepts and in trying to get his teammates to play the team defense. My point is Mike wasn't the problem last season.

    Not to bring Granger into this. But he is in many ways he is the exact opposite of Mike. Danny is excellent at guarding his own man (he should be able to get better at it) but he often gets completely lost in the team defense. Not sure if he just gets too locked into his own man, or if he just isn't understanding what he is supposed to do.

    The Pacers player who was the best ever at doing both was McKey. Artest was the best ever at guarding and shutting down his own man and while his team defense was better as the years went on - he still was too locked in

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by rexnom View Post
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    Obviously.... I was simply referring to "chasing little guys," which neither Danny nor Make should do.
    No doubt both Danny and Mike have trouble with the little guys. That is where Jack should help for sure (of course he will be guarding the point guards, but he can slide over and guard some of the smaller and quicker shooting guards at times) and that is where in time hopefully Rush can really help

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by McKeyFan View Post
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    He didn't mention it, but I hope he's working on post up moves to take advantage of "all those little guys" he has to chase around.
    If he'd do that, I'd feel better about him being that big. But his height doesn't do anything for him except give him a higher release. I wouldn't feel comfortable with him posting up anybody taller than 6'4".
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Let's face it, either Dun or Granger will ultimately be moved before this team is a contender again. Unless either one of them is really willing to play in the sixth man role. They are both legit starting SFs, but I don't like either of them at SG - especially on the defensive end, period.

    Probably won't happen this season - although I hope Rush earns the starting SG spot soon - but it is coming.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Seriously... Granger is a damn good defender. What the hell are you guys talking about he gets locked into his own man?!?!?! OF course he does. He has to when he is guarding LeBron, Kobe, PP, etc. He guards EVERY team we play's best player (that isn't a low post player and still plays PF in some instances). Granger is the most versatile defender we have and he is easily the best defender we have. You know HOW LOCKED IN Dunleavy would be if he had to guard Kobe? Defensively the help should be toward Granger's man, not the other way around. Granger shouldn't be the one playing off his own man unless there is a total breakdown. Man defense rules the NBA and its a rotate and recover for most good defensive teams. Boston, Detroit, San Antonio all do that extremely well. The difference is that we don't have a big man to step up once a man is beat to force passing away from the basket. You rotate to the wide open man once there is a breakdown and a team needs to make 3-4 solid passes in order to beat a good defensive team who is rotating off their man to allow for the guy who was broken down to recover and then you are trying as hard as possible to squeeze the offense between a less open shot and the shot clock after a breakdown.

    You guys are killing me in saying that Granger isn't that good of a team defender.... he is the best team defender we have because if we didn't have him teams would score at will on Dunleavy. Granger was between a rock, a hard place, and Pam Anderson's tits.

    1. Guard the teams best offensive player.
    2. Play next to Tinsley/our other PGs and Dunleavy last year.
    3. PLAY BETTER HELP SIDE DEFENSE?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?! He isn't SUPERMAN!

    If anything he got NO LOVE from the rest of our team with THEIR help side defense when he actually needed it.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Danny is excellent at guarding his own man
    That's quite an overstatement, IMO.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    Let's face it, either Dun or Granger will ultimately be moved before this team is a contender again. Unless either one of them is really willing to play in the sixth man role. They are both legit starting SFs, but I don't like either of them at SG - especially on the defensive end, period.

    Probably won't happen this season - although I hope Rush earns the starting SG spot soon - but it is coming.
    Eh, I dunno...

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Mike doesn't always guard the shooting guard. Granger defends whoever is the better scorer -whether it is the small forward or shooting guard. Anbd Mike takes the other guy. Granger guards Redd so in that case Mike guards the small forward. Not sure about this season now that RJ is there.

    Last season Granger generally guarded Rip and Mike took Prince
    I really hope that JO'B uses Jack and Rush to help fill in on the defensive end when we play a team with a 1-2 scoring punch at the SG and SF positions.

    But that brings up a valid question.....with the option to play Jack as a SG....which I get the sense that JO'B will do more often then not.....along with ( hopefully ) Rush....would we likely see less time with Granger and Dunleavy on the court at the same time ( outside of closing games out ) for defensive reasons?

    One of the reasons ( but not the main reason ) why I think we played Granger and Dunleavy together so much was because we simply didn't have any better options at the SG/SF rotation. But with better defensive/scoring options to backup the SG spot ( with Jack, Rush and Marquis )....I can see Dunleavy spending more minutes at the SF spot then SG spot. This doesn't mean that I think that Dunleavy and Granger won't be on the floor at the same time, I'm just thinking that the time could be minimized to take advantage of our depth.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I really hope that JO'B uses Jack and Rush to help fill in on the defensive end when we play a team with a 1-2 scoring punch at the SG and SF positions.

    But that brings up a valid question.....with the option to play Jack as a SG....which I get the sense that JO'B will do more often then not.....along with ( hopefully ) Rush....would we likely see less time with Granger and Dunleavy on the court at the same time ( outside of closing games out ) for defensive reasons?

    One of the reasons ( but not the main reason ) why I think we played Granger and Dunleavy together so much was because we simply didn't have any better options at the SG/SF rotation. But with better defensive/scoring options to backup the SG spot ( with Jack, Rush and Marquis )....I can see Dunleavy spending more minutes at the SF spot then SG spot. This doesn't mean that I think that Dunleavy and Granger won't be on the floor at the same time, I'm just thinking that the time could be minimized to take advantage of our depth.

    I think this makes sense and I think from some sentiment from the team that Granger will get some time a Power Forward. Which I think if they go small and try to run teams off the floor, Danny can do it in spurts. Anymore than 12 minutes a night though starts to jeopardize his health IMO, but we'll see.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by CableKC View Post
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    I can see Dunleavy spending more minutes at the SF spot then SG spot. This doesn't mean that I think that Dunleavy and Granger won't be on the floor at the same time, I'm just thinking that the time could be minimized to take advantage of our depth.
    I agree completely. With Dun and Granger both healthy, I'm not sure why anybody else would ever play the 3 spot.

    Ultimately the ideal would be for Rush to take the starting role away from Dun. I could see an extremely effective 3 man platoon where they each get about equal minutes (32/game) with Dun coming of the bench to provide a Ginobili-like scoring punch. The nice thing about Dun is that he seems like the kind of guy who'd be willing to accept this type of a role.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    I don't advocate playing Danny at PF.

    Danny starts and plays 36 mpg at SF.

    That leaves 12 mpg for Dunn.

    Rush starts and plays 26 mpg at SG.

    That leaves 22 mpg for Dunn.

    So Dunn has 34 mpg, and we've got a solid three-person rotation through the swing positions.

    But we'll reach a point in a couple of years where we want Granger on the court for 38 minutes and Rush on the court for 37 minutes. Dunn is a nice luxury in that scenario, but I know we'll have people at PD screaming that Dunn is horribly overpaid if he's only getting 21 mpg.
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    How bout we wait to see if Rush can handle 15 mpg before we go trading our MVP from last year to clear room for Brandon-plus-24-months-from-now?
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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by JayRedd View Post
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    How bout we wait to see if Rush can handle 15 mpg before we go trading our MVP from last year to clear room for Brandon-plus-24-months-from-now?
    Yes sir, I agree 110%. We always get irrational in the offseason. Besides, if he can put similar numbers this season, and Rush turns out to be as good as people want him to be, then Dun would have a higher trade value with a shorter contract.

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    Default Re: Dunleavy believes best is yet to come...

    Quote Originally Posted by EmCeE View Post
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    Yes sir, I agree 110%. We always get irrational in the offseason. Besides, if he can put similar numbers this season, and Rush turns out to be as good as people want him to be, then Dun would have a higher trade value with a shorter contract.
    Just in the offseason?

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