Q. As we are all getting excited about the opening of Pacers camp in early October, one of Pacers fans' greatest concerns is that of the center position. Based on summer workouts and the info you are hearing around the Pacers office, what would be the projected depth chart at the center position at the start of training camp? We've heard of some of the players off season workouts, but I don't recall hearing much about Scot Pollardís summer, or for that matter, much about Jeff Foster's either. Austin Croshere is listed as a power forward, but do you see him getting much time at the back up center position? (From Tom in Muncie, IN)
A. When training camp opens Oct. 5 in Conseco Fieldhouse, Jeff Foster will be the starting center. What happens after that depends on the players. As well as Foster played last season, there are clearly some areas of his game that need refinement, primarily on offense. If he could develop some consistency with his ability to step out and hit the 15-foot jumper, he would not only become a bigger threat, but spread the defense out a little more and make life easier for his teammates. He works hard every summer and comes to camp in excellent shape. The condition of his shot, however, is something we wonít be able to ascertain for a few weeks.
Pollard spent quite a bit of time working out on his former college campus at Kansas and appears to be re-energized about carving a more prominent role with the Pacers. He is a more polished shooter than Foster and he has been an effective rebounder and defender in the past. If he can put all the elements of his game back together, Pollard could play much more regularly.
The X-factor in the equation is first-round pick David Harrison. The 7-foot, 280-pound rookie from Colorado has been working out in Conseco Fieldhouse for several weeks in order to jump-start his career. It will be intriguing to see how his preparation will translate in practice and game situations. Harrison has legitimate NBA size and strength as well as some offensive skills, but heís playing what might be the hardest position to learn. It might be too much to expect him to play much right away, if at all, but donít be surprised if he becomes a factor at some point during the season. One other player to keep an eye on is John Edwards, a 7-foot, 270-pound rookie free agent signed last week. The staff is intrigued by this late-blooming talent from Kent State and he'll likely get a long look in camp.