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Thread: Star article on offseason workouts

  1. #1
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Star article on offseason workouts

    Before you get excited, it's pretty weak. Can't say there was anything in it that I didn't already know.

    Offseason is no time to slack off


    Offseason is no time to slack off

    Pacers leave town in search of ways to bulk up, improve skills.

    By Mark Montieth
    mark.montieth@indystar.com
    August 24, 2004

    By all accounts, the Indiana Pacers are working diligently this offseason. They just aren't working in Indiana.

    Like players from most NBA teams, the Pacers scatter far and wide during the summer. From season's end until just before training camp begins, a fan would be more likely to meet one of them in Atlanta or Los Angeles than in Indianapolis.

    Reggie Miller and Austin Croshere have been in the Los Angeles area. Jermaine O'Neal spent most of his summer in Portland, Ore., then went to L.A. Jamaal Tinsley and Anthony Johnson are in Atlanta. Jonathan Bender is in New Orleans. Jeff Foster is in San Antonio, working out at the Spurs practice facility.

    The practice court at Conseco Fieldhouse, meanwhile, remains empty on many days. Ron Artest, the only veteran Pacer to live in Indianapolis most of the summer, attended rookie/free agent camp for a few days in July but has otherwise been an irregular presence. First-round draft pick David Harrison also has spent most of the summer here since signing a contract early in July.

    Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh would like to establish the fieldhouse as a workout center -- not only for the Pacers players but for other NBA and nearby college players. But he and team president Larry Bird recognize the logistic realities, as well as the fact young, single players are going to have the time, money and desire to live where they want in the summer.

    "I'd like to (have more players work out in Indianapolis), but it doesn't seem to work out that way," Walsh said. "We just don't have that many pro players here in Indy."


    Road trips for coaches

    The Pacers monitor progress by sending coaches around the country to work with the players. Coach Rick Carlisle has seen 10 of the 14 players under contract for next season, recently adding Bender to his list. Assistant Kevin O'Neill, hired by the Pacers the last week of July, already has worked with Tinsley in Atlanta and Miller and Croshere in Los Angeles. Special assistant Chuck Person and conditioning coach Bill Dean have visited Bender and will go back this week. Associate head coach Mike Brown will visit Bender, Jackson, Foster and O'Neal.

    It's certainly not as convenient as everyone meeting at the fieldhouse, but it has some advantages. Person believes everyone needs to get away from one another after being together nearly every day from October through the end of the playoffs. He also believes players are motivated by going off on their own, working on their games and their bodies in relative privacy, then coming back for "show and tell" when camp opens.

    This approach is nothing new. Carlisle spent most of his offseasons as a player working at the University of Virginia and in French Lick with teammate Larry Bird.

    "I see the benefits in a lot of (scenarios)," Carlisle said. "If you have a lot of guys around it's easier to get to them. On the other hand it wouldn't afford the opportunity to recharge and get away from it.

    "I don't mind the fact a lot of guys scatter in the summer. I'm pretty certain it's like that with most franchises."

    It is, although San Antonio has been a successful exception. Brown worked with Spurs players in San Antonio in the summers during his three seasons as an assistant coach there, including the championship in 2003.

    Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Stephen Jackson, Bruce Bowen and other core players stayed in San Antonio to work out, which enticed others to do the same. The Spurs made it more attractive by opening their facility to the players' families. The wives were welcome to use the weight room and treadmills, and the kids could swim in the pool or watch DVDs in the lounge.

    Brown even took the players on road trips to Houston to compete against other NBA players for a change of pace. They were there, in fact, on Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attacks. They watched it all unfold on television at the gymnasium, then rented vans and drove back to San Antonio.

    The Pacers might have to wait for some of their core players to grow older, get married and settle down to establish a similar environment in Indianapolis.

    "You'll see a changing of the guard," Person predicted.

    "You have to let these young men grow up. Just because they have six, seven years in the league doesn't mean they've gotten through the maturation period. They want to travel the country and travel abroad just to see different things. You can't always expect them to want to stay in one place. They have inquiring minds and they're still growing."

    Opportunities abound

    Regardless of where they work, the players have plenty of opportunities to improve, either on their own or in structured environments.

    About 60 NBA and college players and about 25 coaches gathered at a high school in Las Vegas for a four-day camp the first week of August. They practiced twice a day, with drills and lectures in the morning that covered nuances such as setting screens and curling off them. They scrimmaged at night, with referees and clocks.

    Carlisle, Brown and assistant Chad Forcier all worked the camp. O'Neal and Jackson participated, as did Eric Snow, Paul Pierce and several less-established players.

    The camp began as informal private workouts conducted by legendary NBA assistant Tim Grgurich for Snow and some UNLV players after Snow's rookie season in 1996. It has grown from word-of-mouth advertising and now turns away players and coaches who aren't properly connected. Grgurich has declined offers of sponsorship because he wants to maintain control, which also allows him to refuse media coverage. A Boston Globe reporter who entered the gymnasium on the first day was told to leave, and a cardboard sign was posted on the gymnasium's back door to keep out other undesirables. What it lacked in grammar it made up for in clarity: "Players and coach's only."

    For the participants, however, it's a valued course in the summer curriculum.

    "It's one of the purest basketball situations we have," Carlisle said. "Everybody's there because they want to get better and because they love and respect the game."

    Pete Newell ran his annual Big Man camp the same week in Las Vegas, offering intensive instruction for post players. Newell, a Hall of Fame inductee as a coach, has operated the sessions for several years, recently moving them from Hawaii to Las Vegas to make them more accessible.

    Players wanting more intense instruction can go to the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. Joe Abunassar, director of the basketball academy, works with more than 50 NBA and college players in August, when preseason preparations get more serious. Former Pacer Al Harrington is a fixture, spending several weeks each summer. Tinsley spent the summer there two years ago, and former Indiana University forward Jared Jeffries is among the regulars.

    The players pay $1,000 per week for the experience, although discounts are offered for long-term participants.

    "This is not a place for everyone," said Abunassar, a former student manager at Indiana University and an assistant coach at Wyoming. "They go hard.

    "A lot of guys think they're just trying to get in shape for training camp. But if a guy's telling me that, he doesn't have the right philosophy. This is the time to get better."

    Wherever they are.

    Call Star reporter Mark Montieth at (317) 444-6406
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  2. #2
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    If Bender had just 1% of Chuck's "cockiness", he would have already revolutionized the power forward position.

    Chuck made a lot of progress with Ron and Tinsley last season, and I'm glad to see he's working with JB. But this will be a real test of Chuck's ability to contribute from the front office.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  3. #3
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section222
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    If Bender had just 1% of Chuck's "cockiness", he would have already revolutionized the power forward position.

    Chuck made a lot of progress with Ron and Tinsley last season, and I'm glad to see he's working with JB. But this will be a real test of Chuck's ability to contribute from the front office.
    I still think Chuck should be an official assistant. Maybe when Mike gets a head gig they'll put Chuck on the bench.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  4. #4
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    No.

    Chuck should continue as "consultant to the CEO" or whatever his title is.

    I suspect, at some time in the future, Larry Bird will leave the Pacers high-and-dry again. He's a ing Celtic, after all. So secretly, I believe DW is training two successors, one with a high-profile name, and a backup in case the little birdie flies away again.

    I see Chuck more in the Mel Daniels/ Billy Knight mold - better in the front office than on the bench.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  5. #5
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay@Section222
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    No.

    Chuck should continue as "consultant to the CEO" or whatever his title is.

    I suspect, at some time in the future, Larry Bird will leave the Pacers high-and-dry again. He's a ing Celtic, after all. So secretly, I believe DW is training two successors, one with a high-profile name, and a backup in case the little birdie flies away again.

    I see Chuck more in the Mel Daniels/ Billy Knight mold - better in the front office than on the bench.
    Interesting.

    I've always felt that when Larry leaves, and yes, when I say "when", I mean "when", that Billy Knight would come back. But I wouldn't have a problem with Chuck.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    I don't understand the thinking that Bird is going to leave any time soon. Yeah he left coaching after 3 years, but he said he would since he got here. He hasn't said anything like that about this job.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    Kegboy, that's my Plan B. As much as I love BK, he hasn't exactly been very good with the Grizzlies or Altanta, though.

    Hicks, I just think his allegience still belongs to the Celtics, although he's clearly loyal to DW. I believe he's using the Pacers as a stepping stone. He was on his way to the Bobcats or somewhere else before DW intervened.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  8. #8

    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    I think the only way Larry leaves is because he can own the Celtics...If I remember correctly in one of his autobiographies, it sounded as though he was/is done with the Celtics unless there's new ownership. I don't know why I even wrote this post. :

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    In case you haven't checked the paper in the last twenty months, the Celtics do have new ownership. The guy Bird didn't get along with is out.

    Larry didn't want to coach in Boston because if he failed as a coach, he didn't want to hurt his legacy there. I fully expect him to return to the Celtics when he's got enough front office experience to feel confident. I'm not saying anything is imminent, but DW has three more years on his contract. If Larry sticks around for four years after that, that's seven more years. How many times will we all change jobs or careers in the next seven years? That's a long time in today's NBA.

    If Jerry West is running the Grizzlies, anything is possible.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    If Larry's here for 4 years after Donnie's retired, I don't see how you or anyone can call him on abandoning or leaving us in the dust for Boston. That would be a long time here.

  11. #11
    flexible and robust SoupIsGood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    How long has Donnie been here now?
    You, Never? Did the Kenosha Kid?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    Regardless of how long he stays, I *would* call it 'abandoning' if he hasn't trained anyone to be his successor, like what DW's done to varying degrees with Billy Knight, the guy from Portland (Kahn?), Mel Daniels, Chuck and Larry.

    But *if* he leaves four years after DW retires, then he will have been in charge for four years, while DW was in charge for 20. That's my point, I don't see Bird here for the rest of his front office career. We're a stepping stone. Someone like Chuck or BK who spent a significant portion of their playing careers here - those guys are more likely to settle in for a long time and not job-hop.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  13. #13
    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Star article on offseason workouts

    Quote Originally Posted by SoupIsGood
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    How long has Donnie been here now?
    DW joined the Pacers in 1984 and was promoted to GM in 1986. So he's been in charge for eighteen years now, I guess, with, presumably, three years to go.
    [edit=72=1093403101][/edit]
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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