Pacers take smash-mouth basketball to another level
by Mike Wells
The Indiana Pacers have taken smash-mouth basketball to another level, with assistant video coordinator Jhared Simpson wearing football shoulder pads in practice during a screening drill.
Assistant coach Jim Boylen pitched the idea to coach Frank Vogel. Boylen got the drill from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, whose teams have a blue collar reputation. Boylen also used it when he coached at the University of Utah.
"It's a reference point type drill," Boylen said. "You want to make the pad click. It gave our guys the freedom to smack somebody without anybody getting hurt. It also gave them a good feel for what a solid screen feels like."
The objective of the drill was to try to help the Pacers set better screens. They have struggled in that area over the years.
"That was the idea," Vogel said. "Maybe we'll become a better screening team. One of the differences between the (Miami) Heat and our team during the playoff series last year was that I thought they were a better screening team."
Hill inducted into Hall of Fame
Pacers guard George Hill was inducted into the Indianapolis Public Schools Hall of Fame on Thursday. Hill, who starred at Broad Ripple High School, routinely visits IPS schools to encourage kids to excel academically and reach for their dreams.
Showing some fatigue
After back-to-back days of two-a-day practices, the Pacers only worked out once Thursday. Vogel said he noticed his players tiring.
"Guys got a little worn down toward the end of practice. Most of practice was pretty sharp. Guys were playing through it, playing with speed, playing with athleticism, but they tired down," he said.
The Pacers are treating today like a game day. They will have a shootaround this morning, then return for a scrimmage tonight with two 12-minute halves.
A Hall of Famer in the building
Mel Daniels, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last month, is attending practices as a guest of Pacers President Donnie Walsh.
Daniels spent nearly 30 years in the organization as a player or member of the basketball staff before he was fired as director of player personnel in October 2009.
Walsh, who left the Pacers for the New York Knicks in 2008 before returning last June, and Daniels have a close relationship. Daniels worked for the Knicks when Walsh was president of the teams.