So far we have reviewed O’Brien, Bird, Murphy, Dunleavy, Ford, Watson, Granger & Rush. As before I am not limiting myself on talking about O’Brien when talking about any player because I feel that every single player is of course affected by coaching and in our case bad coaching.
So without further delay let’s look at the following.
One of the very few bright spots in another wise terribly horrid season. On occasion this season I had to watch league pass to view games that were not broadcast on fox sports Indiana. Without fail on every single broadcast I watched the oppositions telecast team would always talk about one player. Believe it or not it was not Granger. Sure they talked about Danny in the pre-game or if he was doing something special, but without fail they always talked about Big Roy. Usually the adjectives that were being used were “a load”, “a force”, “a real presence”, etc.
Most of the broadcast teams would always preface their statements by saying that soon Roy will be a load to deal with or that he will be a force to deal with and that one day he will be a real presence in the paint. However a couple of the broadcast teams did not use the future as the context to their discussions. Orlando, Oklahoma City and Charlotte broadcast teams all used the current time frame when making the same claims about Roy. Orlando’s announce team in fact said that Roy gave Dwight more fits than about any center in the NBA because of his height and ability to shoot. They also claimed he had a Gumby like quality that allowed him to keep bending but not breaking and bouncing right back whenever Howard would use the forearm to guard Roy.
I said this in another post sometime at the end of the season but I’ll go ahead and say it again. Roy Hibbert is the most important pacer right now. Don’t get me wrong, Danny is the best but for this team to move forward to another level we are going to have to have an anchor in the middle and right now until we find someone better Roy is it. Now all of that changes if we bring in some star through either draft or trade, but for now and for next season Roy has got to be the focus of how we initiate our offense.
However the devastatingly bad thing is that we have a coach who does not like post up offense and has little to no patience for Roy.
NEVER EVER FORGET that up until the month of March Jim O’Brien thought that it would be a good idea to frequently bench Roy at the start of a game and instead start Troy “saloon door” Murphy as our center. That’s right, our center.
Also NEVER EVER FORGET that on our last game of the season with our one low post offensive player healthy and scoring a career high in points that for the last two min. of the game with our team down by one point that Jim O’Brien thought it would be best to bench Roy and play once again Troy “saloon door” Murphy at the center spot. That’s right, at the center spot.
I will also remind everyone that while we all, well everybody except for a few anyway, were happy to see Roy get some quality playing time on the floor this season NEVER EVER FORGET that Roy would probably have had half of the min. on the floor and even less than half of the starts he got if Jeff Foster would have been healthy.
That’s right kids our old beaten down broken old backup center would have been starting most games and would have had at least 20 min. every game thus making it so that Roy would have surely had a few DNP-CD’s as the season went along.
Next season I wonder if the same will hold true. If Foster is back and healthy will Jim still go back that way or will he be forced to stick with Roy?
I think Jim O’Brien likes Roy the person but is just not a fan of Roy the player or at the very least has a very short tolerance for him and thus is quick to yank and then not return him.
As for Roy himself it’s hard to not like the guy. He is by all accounts a decent human being, a hard worker, an eager learner and a great team mate. If Roy has a fault it is he can get to down on himself after a series of bad plays. He sometimes goes to the bench and hides under a towel as though he were being sent to his room. Which, to me anyway, is not the worst trait you can have in a player? I would much rather have that than someone who goes to the bench and doesn’t seem to care.
Roy is always the first person up off of the bench cheering his team mates on and he has done an excellent job of keeping his tongue in check and has garnered the respect of the officials. That is really the difference between Roy and Harrison when it comes to the officials. Roy is respectful and has a dialog going on with them where David was a complainer and had yelling matches with them. Roy is now being given the benefit of the doubt and David never did get that. There are other differences obviously but this is a major one.
Now where I will give Jim some credit is that I do think he has forced Roy to improve his foot speed. This is a good thing as it has helped Roy defend at a higher lever than he did last season and he also seems to be able to move in and out of the lane on the offensive end quickly and had very few 3 second call issued to him.
Roy has improved his ability to shoot with either hand around the basket, his passing is top notch for a center, he is good up to about 15’ and as we have seen he can take a 3 point shot and hit it. Much to my chagrin but I’m sure much to Jim’s delight.
On defense he cut the stupid fouls way down this year. If for no other reason than he learned that he can stand flat footed and raise his arms without attempting to jump and still be one heck of an obstacle for the opposition to shoot over. Again though, added foot speed helped.
He is not an elite center and I don’t actually believe he ever will be. But I do believe that he will be a throw back center to the days of the 80’s & 90’s where it took good centers a couple of years to figure it out but once they did they were good for a good long time. I think Roy can easily have a 12 year or more career as long has his health remains.
To step up to the next level I think Roy has got to become a better rebounder and a more dominate post player.
But overall Roy improved as much if not more than what most of us thought he would from his rookie campaign.
Ok, I’ll admit I like Jones. I generally like players that are filled with fire and have a high motor. He has faults though so we will look at both sides of this.
First I think he is a good defender, not a great defender but a good one. Actually he is not even the best defender on our team, Brandon Rush is, but he is good. He can guard any of the wing positions and in an emergency he can guard a point guard. Under no circumstance though should the guy be forced to guard a power forward like he had to several times this season.
We all know the drill here. He is a scorer, not a shooter, so therefore he does not spread the floor with the ability to shoot from distance and we all know that to get time in our games you have to be able to do that for our coach.
He can score going to the basket, he can score on occasion from mid range but no he is not a distance shooter.
Also although he appeared in 599 less min. than Brandon Rush he shot 168 more free throws, which is not so much a compliment to Dahntay as it is an indictment on Brandon.
He is an ok rebounder, nothing special by any means but generally he does try and get boards.
Now onto weaknesses, first and foremost he can tend to be like a bull in a china shop while driving to the basket. He puts on blinders and once he gets in motion he either is going to get to the rim or he is going to knock someone over trying to get there because he sure as hell isn’t going to pass it off. Frankly often times you don’t want him to pass it off as his passing will never be confused with Steve Nash.
Also sometimes he does tend to dribble the ball high and thus has more turnovers than I think we would like to see.
He is an oddity though in the overall situation of the Pacers. He is one of many players that Bird has brought in to fill a specific role that Jim does not feel the need to use on a consistent basis. He will go from playing him several min. to not playing him at all to playing him out of position. Just another in the long line of issues that makes you believe that the front office an the coach are not on the same page, yet he extended him so therefore either he totally believes in him or well frankly he is an idiot for extending him if he doesn’t believe in him.
I thought the signing was great myself and I never had a real problem with the money that was given. If nothing else he is a good solid veteran that can be combined as a trade asset if need be. I personally think we can use a player like him but as long as we have the coach that we do it might be better for all parties to look to move elsewhere.
I hate to keep beating this drum over and over but I am going to. Well truth be told I don’t hate beating this drum anymore, it needs to be beaten and I feel pretty damn good doing it.
As long as we have the coach that we have a player like Solomon Jones is not going to be used properly if at all. Solomon is a career backup and will probably be a career journeyman but he could have been put to better use here. First the guy really should be playing power forward not center. Certainly not center against most starters but I still think he would be better even against backup 4’s. However because he does not stretch the floor he either has to take garbage min. every few games at the 5 spot while Mike Dunleavy has to have hand to hand combat with the likes of Paul Millsap & Ersan Ilyasova.
Don’t get me wrong Solomon is not going to be anything spectacular no matter who the coach is but don’t you think it might have been better to see a few more min. of S. Jones on the floor with Roy or even Troy instead of the Mike & Dahntay frontcourt that we were treated to this season?
The good for Solomon he is a very active shot blocker. He is a far better shooter and free throw shooter than I ever thought he would be. Also just so you will know that even though he played in 1816 less min. he still only shot 18 less free throws than Brandon Rush.
His rebounding is pedestrian at best and that is because of is other weakness, he needs more upper body strength. He is not a passer but then not every big man is going to be and frankly his defense is just ok even though he is a good shot blocker.
Like I said, he would be a decent reserve, one that probably should play in most games but certainly should have played more in games than what we used him because of size issues.
Or as I like to call him Ron Mercer light. Jump shooter, pure and simple. Actually it is somewhat surprising to me that O’Brien doesn’t like him more than he does because he can actually stretch the floor. However he also likes to dribble so I have a feeling that this is probably why you see such limited time from him on the floor.
His defense can at times be embarrassing to say the least and at other times it can be ok, I think it depends on the mood he is in. He does have one of the quickest releases in the game and therefore he can get his shot off about anywhere.
Not really a lot to say on him. He was a cheap pickup and I doubt seriously he returns to the team. He really didn’t offer much more than what some min. level player from the D league could give you. Seems like a decent person and frankly you would think that he would offer more on the floor than he does but for whatever reason something just doesn’t click here. I have a feeling Luther will be coming to a European city near you in the future.
Frankly him going down was about the only positive thing that happened this year. Now before you go ape **** on me let me explain. Him being gone forced O’Brien to play Roy, if Jeff had been around Roy would have not gotten the time or experience that he got. We know what Jeff has to offer he is not going to get better or make some dramatic improvement. Roy needs time on the floor and frankly Jeff is standing in the way. Well Jeff isn’t but our coach is. Jeff could easily be put on the floor at the same time as Roy but then that would mean that the saloon door would not get his complimentary 35 + min a night.
Jeff is what Jeff is. He is a great citizen, a good team mate, a solid pro and every other positive adjective you want to use to describe him. His greatest faults have never truly been his own. He has been asked to play a position and a style by our team over the years that he was not suited for and now his body is probably breaking down because of it.
Anybody who thinks Jeff Foster is a trade asset this season is in for a big surprise. Unless Jeff announces he is retiring then they might use him to fill in for a trade, but if he is going to play it is going to be as a Pacer. I only hope that he does not come back and impede the progress of Roy but I have a feeling he will.
However from that standpoint I agree with Bird that Jeff being gone this season did make us a far less physical team than we would have been with him and yes, I would imagine that you might have won 2-3 maybe even 4 more games this season if he were here.
I really would like to see Jeff hang it up and become an assistant coach (if that is what he wants to do).
I will be hard pressed to type this part without having a turrets syndrome attack about O’Brien.
To me there is absolutely no more clear case that the front office and the coach are not on the same page, yet they extended him.
All last summer Bird and Morroway fell all over themselves talking about how special Josh was as a player and how they were looking for big things from him. Yet he only makes it into 42 of the games and probably half of that came within the last month and a half of the season.
Now first let me get this out of the way right up front for some of you who always seem to not understand this part. I am NOT saying Josh McRoberts is a star player nor am I saying he will ever be a star player.
What I am saying though is that he is a solid backup power forward who should have been playing a hell of a lot sooner and a hell of a lot more considering that our backup center and backup power forward went down with season ending injuries early on.
He gets inserted into the rotation down towards the end and we go on a significant winning streak. Now no Josh was not the only reason why that occurred, but I assure you he was a part of it and frankly in some games he was a very big part of it. He was a legit big who had skills that should have been used instead of Mike Dunleavy and Dahntay Jones being used at the power forward spots.
In fact that mere thought of the times I had to wonder which of those two was the four makes me throw up in my mouth just a little every time. BTW, it is not the fault of the two mentioned players; it IS the fault of our narrow minded stubborn spiteful coach.
I say spiteful because when Josh goes out and busts his *** in a game at L.A. and has at the time a career high with a lot of those points coming in the first half when the game was still in play he insults Josh after the game by saying his game was irrelevant. It wasn’t the fact he insulted his game to me as much as it was he insulted the effort of a player who was trying his best for you.
Anyway let’s also be clear about another thing, fans in Indiana like Josh. Some people say it’s because he is from here. Well Andre Owens was from here a couple of seasons ago and people didn’t give a crap about him. They like Josh because he is a high energy player who plays above the rim and gives you some breathtaking dunks. No it’s not high brow but at the end of the day basketball is also entertainment beyond just sports so therefore if you can be competitive at least be entertaining. We are a dull boring jump shooting soft losing basketball team. Losing being the key word. Josh is a high flying exciting physical player. If we were winning then you could justify ignoring him but we weren’t winning.
Josh’s strong points to me are as follows. Outstanding passer, I mean almost point guard good as a passer. Best passing big man we have had since Brad Miller and I have a feeling he is probably better than Brad.
Reads the floor well and high basketball I.Q. You know those alley oop dunks he gets? Well he creates most of them because he reads the floor, sees an opening and takes it. He sees the floor better than most of our big men do now with even the limited time he has on the floor. He is an improving defender and shooter. Obviously he needs to continue to improve in all areas of the game but he has shows some marked improvements there.
As to weaknesses, he needs an offense beyond a dunk and a face up jumper from distance. No, he should not focus on three point shooting. God I have to put up with at least another year of this clown and his philosophy’s as a coach.
I would like to see him develop some form of a back to the basket offense but again with the coach we have there really is no point in it.
Honestly guys it was criminal that we didn’t use him starting back in December on a regular basis. He can play either the power forward or back up center position but is really best suited for the four spot.
Often times it’s easy to forget that he is the youngest player on our team and thus he will still be learning and improving.
If the team were actually running the franchise like they should be next season, just like they should have this season, Josh would be getting the lions share of the back up min. at the 4 & 5 spot and you would never see Dahntay or Mike at the four.
Part 5 will cover the rookies and wrap everything up.