Day 5 Camp Report: Pacers Impress O'Brien

Bruno has us covered with today's practice report and there's plenty of good news to report. Jim O'Brien gave a glowing assessment of his team's effort thus far in camp and went so far as to shut down two-a-day practices for the rest of camp.

"I had a pretty good handle on the team before we came into training camp and they're making the strides I thought they would make," O'Brien said. "The attitude, I thought, would be great and it is. They never take a break. And they're all very unselfish.

"We still have a long way to go but they all have an idea of basketball. They understand basketball. Many, many times there are one or two guys on your team that just aren't picking things up and you have to spend more time with them. That's not the case here. As a result of having fairly high basketball IQs we can move through things fairly rapidly."

If JOB is anything, he's demanding so don't think he's being soft on his players. Conditioning is a critical component of JOB's playing style, which includes demanding practices throughout the season, sometimes on game days. If he says he's happy with the conditioning level of his team, then I'm happy too.

Also, it sounds like the defensive emphasis JOB has been detailing is starting to take hold. This team will be judged by its defensive effectiveness. I know it, you know it and the American people know it. JOB knows it, too, so again, if he's happy with the strides the team's defense has taken thus far, then I'm happy too. Jack Ramsay's happy? I'm happy.

OK, enough smiling.  There are some more nagging injuries cropping up. Jeff Foster missed Saturday's practice with a sore hammy. Shawne Williams and Maceo Bast both missed Friday night's practice but returned for Saturday. Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy and Travis Diener all remain sidelined.

The injuries don't appear major but it certainly tempers and excitement about the team's progress. When 2-3 starters are missing time, there is still plenty of work to be done to blend them back into their role once their ready to return. But with the full roster pulling together and working toward the same goal mixing players in and out of the lineup shouldn't be a problem. Let's just hope everyone sticks with the program.

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