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Thread: The Dunleavy Dilemma

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    Default The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Saw this posted on Hoopsworld, and didn't see it posted so here ya go.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=12932

    When the Indiana Pacers traded away Jermaine O'Neal last summer they were expecting Mike Dunleavy, Jr. to be the primary building block of the team's next phase. What they didn't expect was that Dunleavy would suffer a knee injury and only appear in 18 games during 2008-09. The good news for Pacers fans, the news that kept the team in the playoff chase right down to the wire, was that Danny Granger was more than prepared to step up for his team.

    "Danny had a terrific year," Pacers GM David Morway tells HOOPSWORLD. "Larry (Bird) and I were pleased to be able to sign him to an extension at the beginning of the year, and we felt strongly that Danny had the potential to be a good leader and to develop into a sensational basketball player, otherwise we wouldn't have offered the kind of contract that we did. He's been just terrific, on and off the basketball court. He's growing as a leader, he understands his role with this team, and he works . . .he has a terrific work ethic and an unbelievable competitive spirit. He's the kind of guy you want as the spirit of the franchise if you plan on challenging for a championship. Offensively he had a great year; defensively, we've talked about it, we think he could be a premier defender and we think he needs to concentrate on that. He knows it, and that's his gameplan. In terms of where he's come from . . .when we drafted him we felt he had a chance to be an outstanding player, but where he's come from since that day is remarkable. It all has to do with Danny, the work he's put in, the type of person he is, and the type of competitive internal desire that he has to be great."

    Granger's 28.5 points per game earned him Most Improve Player honors, as well as the respect and trust of his entire team. It also helped that rookie Brandon Rush put things together over the second half of the season. Rush played so well that the Pacers have already decided he'll be starting at the two when the 2009-2010 season gets underway.

    "Danny's starting at small forward and Brandon Rush will be starting at the two-guard. Brandon had a great final six weeks of the season, a very good six weeks. He's already working on his game and we're excited about the work he's already put in and his commitment. He's a terrific kid, good young man, and he wants to be a really good basketball player and he has good skills. He's very long, he's an excellent defender already, and obviously he can shoot the basketball. Now his next step is to be able to take the ball off the dribble and get where he wants to go on the court. In terms of his development, though, he's where we want him to be. He's hoping and expecting him to start, and then we'll see what happens. Whether Mike starts or comes off the bench doesn't really matter; what matters is that we're going to have three very, very strong wings and that's a good place to start when you're building a franchise."

    That's right Pacers fans, Mike Dunleavy is expected to be back on the court, perhaps even playing a significant role for the team next season.

    "His career's not in jeopardy," says Morway. "When we went into the process, we didn't know; it might have been. The surgery went better than any of us could have expected. He did have a large, significant bone spur in the knee and it appeared that it had displaced some of his patellar tendon, which, had it forced them to graft the patellar tendon, could have been career-threatening. Dr. Stedman felt that there was a lot of patellar tendon hidden beneath the bone spur because the spur was so big and you couldn't see it on any of the scans they did. He was right. When he got in there, a large majority of the tendon was hidden under there, so he was able to reattach it now Mike's in the rehab phase and doing great. The feeling is, we're going to take our time with it. It's not like there's ever been a bone spur this size taken out of a knee before, so we don't have a specific period of time that the rehab's going to take. We're going to be very careful with it. I think we're all very optimistic now that not only will he come back, but that he'll be radically better now that the spur isn't in his knee. I can't tell you when he's going to play, but we feel really optimistic that he's going to be back on the basketball court at some point this season. He's back walking with no limp, he's on the court, he's in the pool, strengthening it - we're really pleased. We just don't have a timetable at this point."

    It seems pretty clear that if Granger and Rush continue to play as well as they did this past season, there won't be a lot of room for Dunleavy. Granger has emerged as one of the best small forwards in the NBA and Rush averaged 15.9 points when called upon to start. In April he averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 53% from the field, 50% from three, and 83% from the line. If Dunleavy can get even close to where he was before the knee injury - averaging better than 19 points per game - he'll likely be a better trading piece than actual asset for the Pacers, but that's a problem they look forward to having. Too many healthy bodies would be a strange dilemma for the Pacers to have to address . . .and a welcome one.

    As for the immediate future, the Pacers are pleased with their draft position and feel they can get someone who will help them improve right away.

    "We like the position that we're in at 13," says Morway. "We think there are a number of players there that we'll be able to look at who can help our basketball team. We're in a position of rebuilding the franchise and we're going to take the best available player. We're not in a position to be able to target a specific position on the court. We feel comfortable where we are, as far as where we are in the draft, and we feel we'll be able to get a player who's going to help us as we move forward."

    The next item on the agenda, of course, will be taking care of their restricted free agents. The team was very high on Jarrett Jack last season and Morway is confident he'll be back next season.

    "That would be our goal. You never know when you get into these situations, but out objective is to bring Jarrett back. Every time you get into this there are financial constraints, and you never quite know, but our objective is certainly to bring him back. Jarrett had a very good year for us, we liked the combination of TJ and Jarrett, so we're looking forward to having that again. He did a great job at the point, but also as a swing. We were able to go small at times and play TJ and Jarrett together. That really helped us at the two position, so we like his versatility. We definitely want to re-sign Jarrett, we just have to get to that phase of the offseason to see if we can do it."

    Unrestricted free agents will be a little trickier. The Pacers have an up-and-coming center in Roy Hibbert, who isn't ready to start, and Jeff Foster, who may not be the best option to start, either. That doesn't necessarily mean the Pacers will pursue Rasho Nesterovic, whom they acquired in the Jermaine O'Neal trade.

    "We like Roy a lot," says Morway."He had a very good rookie season. He has a lot of work to do, and he's doing it this offseason. He knows this is a process for him to develop, like it is for any big man in this league. Jeff has been a vital part of our franchise for ten years, and will continue to be, going forward. As far as (Rasho), I don't know. We'll have to see. We have two restricted free agents in Jarrett and Josh McRoberts, and we hope to sign both of them. As far as the unrestricted guys go, a lot of it will be based upon what the market will bear and what we do in the draft, or if we make a trade, what we bring back and how we use the available roster spots."

    Like all teams, the Pacers are trying to weigh the cost of their growth as a franchise with what the economic future of the NBA will hold.

    "We have a three-year gameplan here that started last year," says Morway. "We've spent a lot of time analyzing and debating where the financial side of this business is going, so all of our decisions are going to be decisions that are made by looking at the impact on this year, the next year, and even the third year. After the 2011 is potentially when the Collective Bargaining Agreement will run out, so we may have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we're not only looking at this year, but also the potential for the cap and tax going down next year depending on the economy, and then we're also looking at the CBA. At the same time, we're looking to get better as a basketball team. We think we're going in the right direction. We have a gameplan that we implemented last year and we've got to execute it. Our goal is to try to continue to improve the team while working within the financial constraints that every team has. Hopefully we're going to get a few things done this summer. Besides the draft, where you know you're going to get a player, you have to either have another team that wants to work with you on a trade, or in the free agent market you have to have a player that determines he wants to play for you. We're looking at all options."

    The one thing the Pacers' executives know for sure is that if they don't aggressively look to get better the rest of the Eastern Conference will pass them by.

    "The East is very competitive, and the teams are all getting better. The Raptors, Charlotte, New Jersey has a lot of young talent that they're building around and Devin Harris is terrific . . Chicago made the playoffs, but they're a team that's in the development stage . . .Detroit's going to get themselves worked out quickly . . .Milwaukee's got a lot of talent, they have challenges, but a lot of talent. One thing I know is that if you're not getting better, you're falling behind, so we have a big challenge in front of us. The one thing we were able to accomplish last year, we were able to change the culture of our team and our locker room. We were fortunate to be able to bring in a bunch of high quality, terrific guys who have a strong work ethic, want to win, and believe in the system. We made that move (Jermaine O'Neal's contract), which is a difficult thing to move - it's like moving an aircraft carrier - it's an important thing to be able to do. We were able to that, our style of play has completely changed, and now our core guys all know we have to make a stronger commitment to the defensive end of the floor. They're committed to doing that. Then I think we have a chance to be a solid team."

    The first step for the Pacers will be to get healthy. Mike Dunleavy Jr.'s surgery was a success and he's expected to be back, which is excellent news for the squad. Whether that means he'll be a top sixth-man candidate, or become a key trade target, it certainly bodes well for a team that was a couple of wins away from being in the playoffs.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by pwee31 View Post
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    Saw this posted on Hoopsworld, and didn't see it posted so here ya go.

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=12932
    Two things stood out in this article to me:

    1. Is Dunleavy a primary building block?
    2. Granger averaged 25/game not 28
    Passion, Pride, Playoffs, Pacers

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    It worries me that the brass really likes TJ and Jack together on the floor. I'd hoped that was just an Obie thing.

    Also, I'm feeling very vindicated on the Dunleavy thing. He's doing well, which is great, but the injury definitely had the potential to be career-threatening (which I got scoffed at for saying) and this particular injury is definitely a first in the NBA (which also got a fair bit of disagreement).
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman View Post
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    Granger averaged 25/game not 28
    Yeah, I saw that and thought "Holy cow, I thought his average came down to the mid-20s! I had no idea he averaged that until the end of the season!"
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    This is something that I do like about the Bird/Morway braintrust.....they are more deliberate in their planning knowing where they want to be for the next 2 or 3 seasons. Although I think that part of this is due to lack of choice ( cuz TJ/Dunleavy/Murphy/Tinsley/Foster's contract does limit our Financial/SalaryCap options ), they have to ( essentially ) think 2 moves ahead to see what they do now so that moves now will not impact them in the long term.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    With

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    With the passing of time, many of us have forgotten how good Dun Jr was year before last. He had what, 6 games where he scored 35 points...and he consistently scored 20 or more. Morway said Mike should be radically better this coming year without the bone spur and his hip issues cleaned up. I can't imagine how much better he can be..... "radically better" puts him in the same class with Granger. If Rush is radically better as well, we are indeed set at the wing positions. If Jack has another year like he did the last half of this past season, and Murphy remains a double-double machine...that just leaves us one "power" big man away from being a serious contender in the east. Either move up in the draft to get Jordan Hill or pull off a slick trade to bring us a veteran starting power guy who can clog up the middle on defense. We had seven new faces last year, plus we lost Dunleavy, plus our starting pg Ford had to learn an entirely new way of playing basketball the JOB way. We're a lot closer to being very good than most people realize.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Dun will make a great sixth man whenever he can return.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by NashvilleKat View Post
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    With the passing of time, many of us have forgotten how good Dun Jr was year before last.
    I haven't forgotten, but then I was calling for us to move him after that year. Putting him and Danny on the floor together tempts the coach to play Danny at PF, which is a bad thing. But Dun's not a 2, so what are you gonna do?
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    Dun will make a great sixth man whenever he can return.
    I agree. He could be great in that role.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Putting him and Danny on the floor together tempts the coach to play Danny at PF, which is a bad thing. But Dun's not a 2, so what are you gonna do?
    I'm not sure the 1 thru 5 spots are that well defined in JOB's system. As long as they can figure out the defensive assignments (yeah, right), put the scorers on the floor and let them do their thing. Maybe it would force the other team to make adjustments.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by PacerDude View Post
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    I'm not sure the 1 thru 5 spots are that well defined in JOB's system.

    True, and I like that about him. But even if you define the team as three kinds of players: point guard (1), swing men (2), and interior big men (2), Dunleavy is the third swing man.
    Last edited by Putnam; 06-13-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    A few things here:

    -- Granger averaged 25.8, not 28.5, so maybe he got the numbers transposed slightly

    -- Should be interesting to see what happens with Dunleavy. He's a guy whom I think would be comfortable coming off the bench, if need be. He's very comfortable in Indy and likes playing and living here. With that said, I could see him being a 6th man and the Pacers playing with Rush, Granger and Dunleavy all on the floor at the same time. As we saw in 2007-2008, he is capable of putting up some numbers and can shoot the lights out. If he comes back healthy, I think he's an important part of the puzzle and provides leadership.

    Worst case scenario is the Pacers have him on the books for this year and next and his injury is career threatening and forced to retire and they receive insurance relief. Otherwise, he's a free agent in 2 years and his salary comes off the books and can either be resigned for cheaper or go elsewhere.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    It worries me that the brass really likes TJ and Jack together on the floor. I'd hoped that was just an Obie thing.

    Also, I'm feeling very vindicated on the Dunleavy thing. He's doing well, which is great, but the injury definitely had the potential to be career-threatening (which I got scoffed at for saying) and this particular injury is definitely a first in the NBA (which also got a fair bit of disagreement).
    My take on that was that Morway was talking up Jack because he's a free agent.

    I seriously doubt he would come out & say anything that could be viewed as being negative about a player that potentially could be traded.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    I haven't forgotten, but then I was calling for us to move him after that year. Putting him and Danny on the floor together tempts the coach to play Danny at PF, which is a bad thing. But Dun's not a 2, so what are you gonna do?
    I think we all know that he isn't a 2 but the year before last he played at the 2. Not only that he did farely well on the offensive end. I don't mind Dun at the 2 because what he substracts on the defensive end he more than makes up on the offensive end. If Dun slides over to the sf spot then again he makes up for it on the offensive end. Depending on the match up Danny can guard a perimeter 4 which I would prefer over Murphy any day.

    Breaking it down. Big line up
    Jack/Ford pg
    Dun
    Danny
    Murphy
    Hibbert

    Small line up (Murphy spreads it out for everyone else)
    Jack/Ford
    Rush
    Dun
    Granger
    Murphy/FOster

    What I remember when Dun and Granger played together was that one player was guranteed 19 pnts with a good shooting percentage and the other one was not far behind. Combine that with Duns ability to post feed Hibbert and we got ourselves a playoff team.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    There is plenty of time for all three players:

    96 minutes total at the 2 and 3 per game:

    Granger - 36 minutes at 3
    Rush - 32 minutes at 2
    Dunleavy - 12 minutes a night at 3, 16 at 2. His time at SG will be primarily with Granger on the court. Granger can guard the SG if speed and quickness are issues on the defensive end of the court.

    When you figure in injuries, which will inevitably cause one or both of Rush/Granger to miss time, Dunleavy will still be getting more than 28 minutes a night on average. Probably more like 30-32.

    Keep Dun's minutes down, keep him healthy, and we'll be deep at SG and SF. It's a nice luxury to have. He still fits into our immediate term plans, and if we find that he's disposable at the end of next year, we'll be in a good spot to move him as an expiring contract for a good player.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    Dun will make a great sixth man whenever he can return.
    I agree. I would also like to see Pacers go small once in a while (for a few mins) and have Rush at SG, Dunleavy at SF, and Granger at PF.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    The one big intangible this off season... what will we get for tinman. Will he be a part of a bigger trade deal involving 4 players or more. He's going to make nearly 7 million that's sitting at home. We need a guy that can bring something for that 7M.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by aceace View Post
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    The one big intangible this off season... what will we get for tinman. Will he be a part of a bigger trade deal involving 4 players or more. He's going to make nearly 7 million that's sitting at home. We need a guy that can bring something for that 7M.
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    Nothing.........................

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Danny gets eaten up when he has to defend 4s.

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by iPACER View Post
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    Danny gets eaten up when he has to defend 4s.
    Not every team plays a 'traditional 4'....

    New York, GS, Orlando, Atlanta... all play w/ small 4s

    Toronto and Philly like going stretches small...

    I may be forgetting some in the list above but you get the point... they'll be a good handful of times where Danny can play the 4 and be affective b/c the other team went small...

    Positions arn't set in stone people! Teams are going outside the box and going a little versatile with their strategies...

    So you traditionalist just get used to that...
    -Granger can play the 4 occasionally...
    -Dunleavy is a 2 as well as a 3...
    -Yes I to prefer Jack just play the 1... but in this new NBA he can play the 2 as well...

    /endrant

    Sorry, just got tired of people trying to have defined set in stone positions for players on this forum when it just doesn't work that why in the NBA now, especially with our coach
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by tadscout View Post
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    Not every team plays a 'traditional 4'....

    New York, GS, Orlando, Atlanta... all play w/ small 4s

    Toronto and Philly like going stretches small...

    I may be forgetting some in the list above but you get the point... they'll be a good handful of times where Danny can play the 4 and be affective b/c the other team went small...

    Positions arn't set in stone people! Teams are going outside the box and going a little versatile with their strategies...

    So you traditionalist just get used to that...
    -Granger can play the 4 occasionally...
    -Dunleavy is a 2 as well as a 3...
    -Yes I to prefer Jack just play the 1... but in this new NBA he can play the 2 as well...

    /endrant

    Sorry, just got tired of people trying to have defined set in stone positions for players on this forum when it just doesn't work that why in the NBA now, especially with our coach
    While going small all the time is not a strategy I would subscribe to, Having the versatility to do it in short spurts can only be a good thing. Versatility is good. When matchups permit, I would expect to see the Rush-Dunleavy-Granger lineup pop up a lot.
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite MAN_force View Post
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    While going small all the time is not a strategy I would subscribe to, Having the versatility to do it in short spurts can only be a good thing. Versatility is good. When matchups permit, I would expect to see the Rush-Dunleavy-Granger lineup pop up a lot.
    Thanks, that's my point...

    They're plenty of teams in the NBA that go small to allow us to use that line up, when given the opportunity...
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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by tadscout View Post
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    Not every team plays a 'traditional 4'....

    New York, GS, Orlando, Atlanta... all play w/ small 4s

    Toronto and Philly like going stretches small...

    I may be forgetting some in the list above but you get the point... they'll be a good handful of times where Danny can play the 4 and be affective b/c the other team went small...

    Positions arn't set in stone people! Teams are going outside the box and going a little versatile with their strategies...

    So you traditionalist just get used to that...

    Don't deny that Danny matches up with some teams when we go small, when they do, but what about the other 23 teams of the NBA?
    -Granger can play the 4 occasionally...
    -Dunleavy is a 2 as well as a 3...
    -Yes I to prefer Jack just play the 1... but in this new NBA he can play the 2 as well...

    /endrant

    Sorry, just got tired of people trying to have defined set in stone positions for players on this forum when it just doesn't work that why in the NBA now, especially with our coach
    I'd like to see the Pacers contend for a championship in the next ten years.

    To do so, Danny needs to be at the 3 and we need to match up against the Tim Duncans, Carlos Boozers, Stoudemires, Griffins, KGs, Gasols, and the futures of Thompson (SAC), Aldridge (POR), McGee (WAS), etc.

    We don't have a strong post presence. The Pacers do well when Roy plays well, but he gets into foul trouble and Danny matching up at the 4 gets the other team into the bonus and gets Danny banged up.

    Would much rather have a banger at 4 like Blair ala Dale Davis or even a mobile Jamison/Rashard Lewis-type like Earl Clark.

    We need a guy that we dump the ball to in the post late in the game for a basket or a trip to the free throw line. Don't deny that Danny matches up well when the Pacers go small as other teams do, but what about the other 23 teams?

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    Default Re: The Dunleavy Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by iPACER View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I'd like to see the Pacers contend for a championship in the next ten years.

    To do so, Danny needs to be at the 3 and we need to match up against the Tim Duncans, Carlos Boozers, Stoudemires, Griffins, KGs, Gasols, and the futures of Thompson (SAC), Aldridge (POR), McGee (WAS), etc.

    We don't have a strong post presence. The Pacers do well when Roy plays well, but he gets into foul trouble and Danny matching up at the 4 gets the other team into the bonus and gets Danny banged up.

    Would much rather have a banger at 4 like Blair ala Dale Davis or even a mobile Jamison/Rashard Lewis-type like Earl Clark.

    We need a guy that we dump the ball to in the post late in the game for a basket or a trip to the free throw line. Don't deny that Danny matches up well when the Pacers go small as other teams do, but what about the other 23 teams?
    First it isn't cool to Quote someone, and change what they said w/o pointing it out... b/c what you changed made a big difference in what i was trying to say...

    My whole point was always that we would have the OPTION to go small with Danny at the 4... when other teams go small, WE have the option to match up with them... to just throw out the idea of Danny playing the 4 would make you a shortsighted couch in this versatile NBA we have now...

    Of course the Pacers need a much better starting PF, have to be stupid to think otherwise... I'm just pointing out that when teams go small we can counter w/ putting our most talented trio on the court at the same time with Rush/Dunleavy/Granger...
    "George's athleticism is bananas!" - Marc J. Spears

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