Q. Like a lot of people, I was happy with the Pacers' acquisition of Stephen Jackson. If I remember correctly, he was supposed to help with perimeter scoring. One problem I do see is that almost all of the Pacers' great adversaries such as the Spurs, Timberwolves, Heat (Dwyane Wade can be considered a shooting guard) and especially the Pistons (we all remember a certain somebody named Hamilton) have a prominent shooting guard that requires special attention. Now I know dealing with a problem such as this could be as easy as giving (Ron) Artest the defensive assignment but that would force the shooting guard to defend the small forward and in the case of the Pistons that would be the 6-9 Tayshaun Prince.
You saw what difficulty Reggie had guarding him. Do you think Stephen playing the shooting guard could alleviate this problem while Artest has his hands full with Hamilton? The Pacers need to get past the Pistons in the playoffs so this has to happen. Also, since we are on the subject I have a more general question, the Pacers didn't just have problems in special cases like this they had a general problem with backcourt defense. Do you think Stephen can help? (From Mahad in Minneapolis)
A. Though Jackson isnít considered a lock-down defender, he does have the size and athleticism to upgrade that area. As you mentioned, in situations where Artest is assigned to defend a high-scoring shooting guard, he usually does an admirable job, but it can cause matchup problems elsewhere. Reggie has long been unappreciated as a defender but Jackson gives the coaching staff more flexibility when it comes to switching the small forward/shooting guard matchups. As good as he is, Artest isnít at his best against lithe, quick players like Hamilton (or Prince). Heís much better against guys he can use his strength against. Having Jackson will allow the coaches to be more selective when using Artest in those situations. Rather than guarding a Hamilton or Tracy McGrady for the full game, he can now be used as a situational stopper, defending players of that ilk in clutch situations. Jackson has been primarily known as a scorer but the 6-8, 215-pound swingman could have just as big an impact on the Pacers with his ability to strengthen the team defense.
Barring any injuries, we will win in my opinion.
We almost beat them last year, with a flawed strategy and alot of injuries and Artest having a bad few games.
Now we have adjusted our strategy where as they have just kept digging their grave by not.