Q. What is the current status of Scot Pollard? Is he expected to return to the Pacers for the upcoming season? I don't really believe that Pacer fans witnessed the best basketball from Pollard. Granted, he doesn't bring the offensive skills of Brad Miller, however, I do think his size and strength should be able to produce the rebounding and screens needed down low. What was the main cause for the lack of productivity from Pollard? Indiana needs the size and muscle down low, and I admire the performance of Jeff Foster, but it was unfair to expect him to play bigger, stronger centers every night. Pollard really needed to be there, and I just didn't see it from him.
Are the Pacers hanging their hopes on (David) Harrison? As it stands right now, I just don't think (the Pacers) have done what they need to do to step up and challenge Detroit in the East. I know they show interest in Erick Dampier, but how realistic is it that something can be done to get him here, without giving up too much? (From Jeff in New Castle, IN)
A. It is an odd situation because Pollard fits the profile of the type of player the Pacers need: big, strong, aggressive, physical and defense-minded. For whatever reason, he didn’t play at all like himself last season. The spark, the energy and the passion for the game that made him such a valuable player in Sacramento all were missing. And without those factors, Pollard is just another big body.
Before the expansion draft, Pollard was working out at the University of Kansas and said in an interview with the Lawrence Journal-World that 2003-04 was “the toughest year of my NBA career, except for Detroit during my rookie season. It was a year of adjustments, swallowing pride, swallowing my ego.” He also said he didn’t expect to be back with the Pacers for the 2004-05 season, although at the time it’s possible he thought he’d be taken by Charlotte in the expansion draft. “I’m probably going to be somewhere else next year,” Pollard said then. He’s still just 29 years old and there’s no physical reason he can’t regain his edge.
I don’t get the impression that either management or the coaching staff expects Harrison to play a major role as a rookie, although there is quite a bit of optimism about his ability to develop into a legitimate NBA center. But he’s still very raw in some areas, particularly in terms of learning how to best use his strength, and will need some time. Dampier does remain an option, although a distant one, because the cost to acquire him – both in personnel and in paycheck – is presently prohibitive.