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Thread: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

  1. #1
    Release Psycho T pwee31's Avatar
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    Aug 2006

    Default Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    Two summers ago, Mike Dunleavy packed up his belongings and left Conseco Fieldhouse having never felt better about his game.

    His hasn't felt the same since.

    Knee injuries, surgery and an intensive rehabilitation period limited him to 85 games in the past two seasons. Sporadic playing time led to an even more sporadic shot.

    The ordeal has been draining. It's why Dunleavy walked out of the fieldhouse last month knowing this will be the most important offseason of his career. He will be entering his ninth season.

    The Indiana Pacers swingman not only is working to regain the confidence of the team's basketball staff, but every jump shot he takes and every charge he attempts to take in pick-up games is a step toward landing his next contract.

    Dunleavy, like four other teammates, will be in the final year of his contract next season. He'll make $10.6 million.

    "I'm pretty excited about the future," said Dunleavy, who turns 30 in September. "I'll get another summer under my belt where I can get my knee stronger and work on my basketball skills."

    Dunleavy was coach Jim O'Brien's prized pupil the past couple of seasons. O'Brien often gushed when talking about what Dunleavy's movement and passing skill meant to the offense.

    The Dunleavy factor never rose to the forefront this season. Worse, Dunleavy regressed to a level not seen since his rookie season.

    Dunleavy, who had right knee surgery in March 2009, averaged 9.9 points in 22 minutes and shot 41 percent. Things were so tough, he missed a game after getting hit in the eye by a ball during pregame warm-ups.

    "I knew Dunleavy wasn't going to be great right away, but he never did play the type of game that he played before he went out with the injury," O'Brien said. "He'll be better next year."

    Dunleavy has to be, for his sake and the Pacers'.

    Team officials are hoping he comes back as the wing who averaged a career-high 19.1 points and shot nearly 48 percent in 2007-08, so that he can be part of the rotation of Danny Granger, Dahntay Jones and Brandon Rush next season.

    Pacers officials have made it clear they plan to try to move some of their expiring contracts before the February 2011 trade deadline. Dunleavy's inconsistency and salary make it highly unlikely that he'll be traded this summer. He scored 15 or more points just 14 times last season.

    "It was a tough year, there's no question about that," Dunleavy said. "I came back (from knee surgery) and had some pretty good games right away. So I don't think there's any question I can do it. I just got out of rhythm. Some of it was injury related, a lot of it wasn't."

    Dunleavy will spend the offseason playing pick-up ball in New York and California.

    "Being able to play as much as possible is really key. I haven't been able to do that,'' Dunleavy said. "I thought I was ready to go this season, then I find out right before camp that they have to shut me down a little bit (when an MRI disclosed a knee strain).

    "I didn't really do anything for six weeks besides the swimming pool. That kind of canceled out all the work I put in all summer. I don't want that to happen again."

    Neither do the Pacers.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    I think Dunleavy and BRush are two keys to the Pacers' success next season. If neither of these players can become that 2nd scorer from the field capable of scoring right alongside Granger, this team will be in trouble again next year.

  3. #3
    Member Speed's Avatar
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    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    Next year will be interesting in that, guys like Mike are playing for their next contract. This could go one of two ways, guys play all out and it really shows in team improvement or guys shoot everytime they touch the ball to pad stats.

    There is an assessment on right now about TJ Ford and it eludes about him trying to maintain his 10 point a game average, when he came back after his time on the bench. I hope it doesn't come to that with this group. I was watching for it this year with Murphy when he was right below the 10 rebound average number, I didn't see it, but you get the idea.

    In the end, for the good of the team, I want these expiring guys to light it up and increase their value before the trade deadline.

    Thinking about a question we had in another thread about what we wanted to happen most this offseason, I said trade TJ, but now that I think about it, I should have said trade Murphy. His value should be really high (for him) and he's been really healthy, so I hope they move him now. Then move Dunleavy after he lights it up in Feb., at the trade deadline.

    I hope Mike turns it around, he seems like a good guy. As for the Pacers, I want him to do it for value to another team, not this one.
    Last edited by Speed; 05-03-2010 at 03:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Shooting for the Moon Day-V's Avatar
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    Mar 2010

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    Default Re: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    I think it's kinda weird how even though both players have/had pretty horrible contracts, the general consensus is that fans like Dunleavy and most hope he comes back on a more friendly contract, while many are praying for Troy to leave even though he's produced and played far more than Dunleavy..........And it's even more weird that I'm one of those fans.

  5. #5
    I'm on a MAC! graphic-er's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

    Default Re: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    I want him replaced in this draft by......Gordon Hayward!

  6. #6
    Release Psycho T pwee31's Avatar
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    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Dunleavy realizes importance of this summer

    I think Dunleavy's injury is a reason some (including myself) are holding out hope he can get back to where he was at a couple years ago when he was arguably the best player on our team.

    When it comes to Murphy, yes he's producing, and is pretty consistent, but he's not doing anything stat wise, that many don't think Hansbrough or McRoberts can do as well... with better defense and hustle.

    A healthy Dunleavy who returns to form from a couple years is by far the best SG on our team. Rush is a better defender with more potential, but Dunleavy would be the better scorer, better passer, better ball handler, and I think the rebounding would be even.

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