The first week of training camp has come and gone (Indystar)
HE ‘BURBS – The Pacers wrapped up the first week of training camp with the blue team smacking the white team in the mouth 32-15 during a 12-minute scrimmage at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
The blue team consisted of Darren Collison, Danny Granger, Brandon Rush, Paul George, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert and A.J. Price. The white team featured T.J. Ford, Mike Dunleavy, both Lance’s, Josh McRoberts and both Jones’.
Hibbert made up for a slow start to camp by being active on both ends of the court.
“That was a real butt kicking,” Jim O’Brien said. “It’s not like the white team were all rookies. That wasn’t the case, they had some veterans and the blue team just wore them out.”
Don’t read too much to into the teams. O’Brien wanted George to play on the blue team so that he could have an opportunity to play alongside Granger and Rush since that hasn’t happened much during camp.
Here’s a few observations from the first week of camp.
–The power forward spot is Josh McRoberts’ to lose. He’s been the best player in camp so far, and O’Brien even said he’d probably play about 36 minutes a game if the season start.
McRoberts has gone from Mr. Irrelevant seven months ago to possibly being Mr. Starter.
McRoberts is better playing with the starting unit because all he has to worry about is providing his specialty, which is running the court, rebounding and passing.
The verdict is still out on Tyler Hansbrough because he’s still limited somewhat in practice.
–This may not be a big deal to some, but I found it interesting when Lance Stephenson walked by me on his way off the court Saturday and I casually asked how things are going for him.
“I’ve got to get better defensively,” he said right away. “I’m having a difficult time with off-the-ball defending.”
I was expecting him to say something like, “It’s going good. I’m glad to have a day off tomorrow.”
He wanted to talk about his defense.
I give the young man credit for speaking up and talking about it unsolicited.
–It’s just one week, but this year’s team already has a different feel to it.
The players are focused and there’s not a lot of joking around on the sidelines like in past years. It also helps that there aren’t any injured players sitting out watching.
The scrimmages are pretty competitive (not counting what happened Saturday), which usually means things tend to get testy at times.
I was told the players spent time in the locker room after practice Saturday talking about how to play the different defenses. This was done with no coaches around.
I can’t recall the last time that the players took it amongst themselves to have a discussion like that, especially considering they were talking defense.
That’s a sign of good team chemistry.
We’ll see if that translates into more victories this season.
–Darren Collison is still learning to play without the ball as much. He should be fine once it’s all said and done.
He’s so quick with the ball and he likes getting after it defensively.
Fans will definitely embrace how he plays.
–T.J. Ford has the inside track to be Collison’s backup.
He deserves it because he’s gotten off to a good start in camp.
I know a lot of you have said you’d prefer Stephenson or A.J. Price to backup Collison, but Ford (if he’s not traded) is the best option at the moment.
Stephenson – as he acknowledged – is not a good defender. Ask anybody in the organization and they’ll tell you the same thing. I’ll say this, though, Stephenson definitely knows how to get buckets on the offensive end. I’ve seen some team officials just shake their head after watching Stephenson break somebody down off the dribble.
Price is still working his way back from knee surgery.
The team discussing defense without the coaches even being there excites me more then anything. This team is going to be fun to watch this year and will win due to the players' dedication this year to winning and defense.