I uncovered this while reading up on the game tonight.
Bucks assistant GM on new construction project
Indianapolis — David Morway knows this Indiana Pacers team is really good.
After all, he helped put the pieces together as general manager of the Pacers from May 2008 until June 2012.
Now Morway is assistant general manager for the Milwaukee Bucks and trying to help engineer a turnaround for another small-market team.
So Morway will be watching his old and new teams with keen interest Friday night when the Bucks face the unbeaten Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana (8-0) is the only undefeated team in the National Basketball Association more than two weeks into the regular season.
And the Pacers have played in such a dominant manner that plenty of folks are taking notice, including LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
"There's continuity particularly with the starting five," Morway said of his former team. "They're all high-character guys, team guys first.
"And they have a heck of a head coach. Frank (Vogel) is terrific. He exudes a lot of confidence in his team and that's an important characteristic for a coach to have."
The Pacers lost to the Heat in a seven-game Eastern Conference final series last season. And they are thinking even bigger now after coming so close to Miami, which won its second straight NBA title.
Paul George, the 10th overall pick in 2010, and center Roy Hibbert, acquired in a draft-night deal with Toronto in 2008, joined the Pacers during Morway's tenure.
Morway signed veteran David West to a two-year deal to become Indiana's starting power forward before the 2011-'12 season. West elected to remain with Indiana when he became a free agent last summer.
"We had spent a lot of time getting the (salary) cap flexibility, and David was the guy, for reasons on and off the court," Morway said.
"He's a leader, a really good man. And he's a legitimate tough guy.
"He was a great role model for Roy and Paul. The identity we were trying to establish, he cemented it in the locker room."
The versatile George has developed into an all-star swingman, a player capable of defending James or other NBA superstars.
"We knew he was going to be able to defend," Morway said. "We could see how quick-twitched he was; we could see that early on.
"He wasn't strong enough to guard LeBron and those guys at first. But now he can. And no matter how good he gets, he still defends."
Morway has not been stunned at the Pacers' fast start, which includes victories over three division rivals (Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago) and a road victory over Brooklyn.
"I see maturity, a confidence, a belief in themselves," Morway said. "They understand who they are and that they're good."
Morway was out of basketball last season after resigning as Indiana's general manager. Team president Larry Bird wanted to make a change and installed Kevin Pritchard as the Pacers' GM.
Now Morway is energized about his new opportunity working with Bucks general manager John Hammond.
Milwaukee (2-5) has been hit by injuries and controversy early in the season, with starting center Larry Sanders lost for six weeks after tearing ligaments in his right thumb in a bar brawl. Starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova has played sparingly due to a right ankle sprain suffered in the preseason, and veteran Luke Ridnour has yet to play due to a herniated disc in his back.
"We have great veterans and some really good young players," Morway said. "Anytime you're building something it's tough.
"The exciting part is watching guys grow every day and develop over time. One thing I've noticed. They don't like losing.
"When we get everybody back on that court, then we'll see what this team is. I know I'm excited about it, developing it but also the performance part. We have a chance to be pretty good and continue to grow."
Encouraging news: Bucks forward Caron Butler suffered a mild sprain of his left shoulder when he fell to the floor late in Wednesday's game at Orlando, team officials confirmed Thursday.
It's not certain how long Butler will be sidelined, but he avoided a more serious injury.
That's great news for a team that had just eight available players for its 94-91 loss to the Magic and finished the game with seven after Butler was hurt.
The Bucks did not practice Thursday and took an afternoon flight from Orlando to Indianapolis. Milwaukee will conclude its three-game road swing against the Pacers before returning home to face Oklahoma City on Saturday night, ending a stretch of four games in five nights.
Bucks at Pacers. When: 6 p.m.
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