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Thread: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

  1. #1
    Member Speed's Avatar
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    Default Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Gotta love the Thunder and Lightning nicknames!!


    http://my.nba.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5700023658

    The season is just around the corner, so I'm naturally pumped. This will be my 24th consecutive season covering the NBA but you never really lose that sense of excitement, anticipation and mystery that comes with the season's dawn.

    So maybe I'm getting a little carried away, but it feels like just the right time for a bold prediction: T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack will be the most productive point guard tandem in Pacers history.

    OK, maybe not that bold.

    Granted, there isn't a lot of competition for that particular honor. Mark Jackson and Travis Best? Micheal Williams and Vern Fleming? Johnny Davis and Don Buse? Nice combos all, but not exactly Tracy and Hepburn. I'd throw in a reference for the Facebook generation but, as it turns out, nobody stays together long enough to become legendary these days.


    Ford and Jack combined for 25.1 points, 9.0 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals in the preseason and there's little reason to doubt those numbers will decline much, if at all, during the regular season. This is not just wild speculation in reaction to unreliable preseason stats. Their combined NBA career averages are, after all, 21.1 points, 10.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.03 steals.

    Let's be honest here: if you ranked the five starting positions in terms of overall talent in franchise history, point guard might hold a slight edge on center for fifth. But that could start to change this season because of Ford and Jack.

    "They're both going to play an enormous amount of minutes," said Jim O'Brien. "We have to have them both on the court. They bring us good leadership, good toughness from the defensive standpoint. T.J. certainly has the capabilities of up-tempo-ing an offense at a level that's one of the best in the league, which is attractive to us. Jarrett Jack is one of the hardest-nosed guys you ever want to be around. They bring different dimensions to what we're doing. It's just good to have those options."

    One of the fastest guards in the league with the ball in his hands he ranked third in that category in the NBA's survey of GMs, behind only Chris Paul and Tony Parker Ford could well enjoy the best season of his career in O'Brien's offense. He flirted with a triple-double in the final preseason game (19 points, nine assists, seven rebounds) as the Pacers routed the Mavs in Dallas.

    "I'm feeling good," Ford said. "I trained real hard this summer to try to train my body for what's expected out of me. I'll have the opportunity to play a lot more minutes than I have throughout my career, so I'm looking forward to it.

    "I think this is the first time in the NBA where it's going to be an up-paced tempo. It's something I haven't been a part of since I've been in the league. It just opens the floor up to give me a lot of opportunities to create for myself and also for others. It just gives me the opportunity to come out, be a floor general, know when to attack and when not to attack."

    The particularly nice thing about these two is they are fully complementary. Ford is lightning. Jack is thunder.

    They're also used to managing their egos in a tandem situation. Ford paired with Mo Williams in Milwaukee and Jose Calderon in Toronto. Jack started 79 games in 2006-07 but played a support role to Steve Blake last year in Portland.

    "Whether I'm coming in for him or we're in there together, we just do a great job of feeding off each other," Jack said. "If I have it, he runs the lane. If he has it, I do the same. We go in there trying to make great decisions for the team and just run the ballclub."

    I've barely touched on defense, which just might be the most significant upgrade. The Pacers have been tortured by bad matchups at point for years. In Ford and Jack, that should no longer be the case.

    "We had a difficult time containing the basketball last year at our point guard spot and we suffered as a result of it," said O'Brien. "It's not the only place we were weak defensively. But T.J. Ford is a tough-minded guy that does a good job of containing the basketball. It all starts with the ability to keep your man in front of you. We couldn't do that last year. T.J. is pretty good at doing that. Jarrett Jack is just a tough-minded guy who keeps the ball in front (of him), will hit people, take charges, get on the ground for loose balls, is the type of individual that will help our team own our defense.

    "We're just significantly better just if you start at the point of attack."

    Or, as Ford put it: "They put up a lot of points last year but they also gave up a lot. It's important that we get stops."

    There are adjustments still to be made. Both Ford and Jack are used to having the ball in their hands and O'Brien's system calls for the point guard to use an early pass to initiate the movement in the offense. They must fight the tendency to over-dribble. They'll also need to do a better job protecting the ball. They combined for 46 turnovers in the preseason, nearly six per game and fully 31 percent of the team's miscues.

    Those are tendencies that should fade with time and experience with their new teammates and the system. Both are veterans, yet still relatively young (Ford is 25, while Jack turns 25 Tuesday).

    All of which means this could be the start of something very special at the point, and the franchise's years of wanting at that position should finally be over.

    PRESEASON NUMBERS ENCOURAGING

    As previously mentioned, I've been around awhile so I know better than to get too excited about preseason statistics. But they just happen to be the only numbers we have to go on at the moment. For what they're worth, the stats do offer some encouraging signs.

    From a team perspective, the Pacers needed to improve their free-throw disparity (they were outscored by 3.5 per game from the line last season) and their rebounding (minus 2.5 last year). In the preseason, they outscored opponents by 23 from the line and outrebounded them by nearly five per game.

    Despite the loss of their primary post presence, they actually increased their points in the paint, outscoring opponents by 60 perhaps because they have more freedom to attack the basket from the perimeter. They also racked up a 99-49 advantage in fast-break points in the final four games, averaging an impressive 24.8.

    One thing hasn't really changed. The magic number is still 100. The Pacers were 4-0 when they did and 0-4 when they did not. Last season, they were 32-21 when scoring 100-plus, 4-25 when they did not.

    Inidividually, there were mostly solid numbers but one troubling stat: Danny Granger's shooting. He hit just .281 from the field and .235 from the 3-point line. But he did show improvement in two important areas, getting to the line 52 times (7.4 per game) while averaging 3.1 assists (4.3 in the last four).

    The rookies also were solid while cementing their spots in the rotation. Brandon Rush showed an excellent 3-point stroke (.429) and averaged 28.6 minutes, 10.1 points and 3.6 rebounds. Roy Hibbert appears to be coming along a little more quickly than expected and averaged 18.9 minutes, 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.88 blocked shots.

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    Headband and Rec Specs rexnom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    I don't expect it to hold, but any team that gets 20 points and ten rebounds from its rookies did well in the draft.

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Imagine Hibbert playing 30-35 minutes per game a year or 2 from now.... I think he's going to be a beast. Oh and that Rush guy is pretty good too
    Granger's shooting numbers only scare me a little bit because of the fact that he saw his shot wasn't falling, so he found other ways to score by getting to the line, and he also got his team mates involved a lot more in the last 4 preseason games. Granger's passing game and his ball handling are the two things that leave him behind on the whole Scottie Pippen comparison thing (not that I myself compare the two). I will be amazed if Granger can manage to average 3-4 assists a game with 2 good point guards, vs. only averaging 2 in years where we were pretty much crap at the point guard spot. If he can get 3-4 assists a game and get to the line like he did in the preseason, while maintaining his defensive presence, then I'd want to make sure we lock him up under contract for as long as possible by any means necessary. Yes, 2's and 3's are nearly a dime a dozen in the NBA, but 2's and 3's that can completely fill up a stat sheet are priceless.
    Last edited by Evan_The_Dude; 10-24-2008 at 06:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Granger averaged over 4 assists a game over the course of the last 4 preseason games... then there is the fact that he is getting to the line a lot. When his shot starts falling (which I think it will), look out. We need to lock him up now.
    "As a bearded man, i was very disappointed in Love. I am gathering other bearded men to discuss the status of Kevin Love's beard. I am motioning that it must be shaved."

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Covering the NBA? How about works for the NBA, well at least the Pacers anyway.

    Does Conrad still view himself as a journalist or as a p.r. person? I'm not trying to be smart here, I honestly would like to know.

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Covering the NBA? How about works for the NBA, well at least the Pacers anyway.

    Does Conrad still view himself as a journalist or as a p.r. person? I'm not trying to be smart here, I honestly would like to know.


    Well, since you asked...
    My brother recently attended c-rad's daughter's wedding as a guest of the groom and spoke to the man in question for 10 or so minutes about all things bball. He would say that Conrad is definitely drinking the blue and gold flavor-aid, but has quite a good grasp on the whole of the NBA.

    So, to answer your question... I really have no idea.

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Ford and Jack are really going to be good for us. Add Rush and granger into that, and our perimeter D is looking stellar. You got Rush getting .42 percent from three, and our PGs looking like a tandem that is going to become a force in this league.

    Thank you Larry. I think the doubters will disappear when they realize the impact of the JO trade and our draft this year, which coincides with the departure of Walsh. Now if we can just dump Tinsley before the deadline we are set regardless of what we get in return.

    When is the last time you could thrown names around like Ford Jack Granger Dunleavy and Rush when talking about the pacers perimeter game? I really don’t know if we've ever been this deep up front.

    Where do Daniels, Baston, and Diener fit in? I don't know. I think we'd be better off to not find out except for trash minutes. But they all three have looked promising at times, but those top 5 seem to be the real deal, so I think they might get left behind this year.

    Ford and Jack FTW.

    Maybe we can package 'Quis with Tinsley.
    Last edited by Midcoasted; 10-25-2008 at 03:32 AM.

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    Yeah, I'm a Pacers fan. MyFavMartin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    The pic of the two PGs next 2 each other really is demonstrative of their differences in PG style.

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Doesn't the NBA already have the name "thunder" somewhere???

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    Default Re: Brunos caught in the web:Jack, Ford give Pacers thunder, lightning at point

    Quote Originally Posted by Midcoasted View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Where do Daniels, Baston, and Diener fit in? I don't know. I think we'd be better off to not find out except for trash minutes. But they all three have looked promising at times, but those top 5 seem to be the real deal, so I think they might get left behind this year.

    Maybe we can package 'Quis with Tinsley.
    Why?

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