Whenever I go to game at Conseco Fieldhouse I always absorb way more information than I can transmit. I throw some of it in a comment or update the game thread, but when the next game on the schedule is ready to tip, the info loses its relevance. Plus, after a tough loss the locker room is a morgue and I prefer to stick with what happened during the game. But, with two full days off before the next game, I thought I'd share a few thoughts and observations I picked up before and during the game last night.
- I normally like to check out individual workouts when I arrive at the Fieldhouse. At 4:00PM yesterday, the rooks were engaged in separate workouts with an assistant coach. Technically, Josh McRoberts isn't a rookie but he's in a similar development mode so he was out there with Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert. In hindsight, Josh was prepping for the biggest minutes of his young NBA career. In workouts, he showed the 3-ball range he possesses, although that flat shot doesn't thrill me. Later in the game he knocked down 19-footer and missed a three. While he played pretty well, you can see he's playing and thinking and thinking and playing. The tough part with these young guys is finding them enough minutes so they become comfortable enough to just play with confidence. Too many minutes, at this point, would do more harm than good.
- That brings me to Brandon Rush who as it would turn out, was working out prior to his first career DNP-CD. You would never know he was dealing with a temporary demotion from his workout or body language. As his workout ended, Dick Harter asked Brandon how he felt. He responded, good, real good with a big smile on his face. At the time I thought Harter was asking Brandon about his physical health, but in hindsight, considering the exchange, the question was about Brandon's mental health. The question from Harter and his presence courtside watching the workout also showed some subtle yet solid support for Brandon.
- Speaking of Dick Harter, seeing him courtside two hours prior to the opening tip, I couldn't help but wonder how many player workouts like this he has observed over the years. Thousands.
- I overheard an interesting comment from Chris Denari on the Pacers schedule compared to the Indianapolis Colts. While the Pacers are playing the Celtics, Lakers, Cavaliers, Celtics, Raptors and Pistons, the Colts play the Cincinatti Bengals and Detroit Lions. Opposite ends of the strength of schedule continuum, for sure.
- As I mentioned in the game thread, after watching the Celtics workout for a bit, their youth is glaring. They have some great young players and other young players with that are developing (Patrick O'Bryant. Take away the “big three” and Sam I Am and there arent' many several-year vets left. I don’t count Perkins either because he just turned 24 and when you throw in the other young bigs under the tutelage of Clifford Ray, the long-term outlook for the C's is nearly as promising as the short term.
- During the game, a scout near me responded to a carry call on Rajon Rondo with a "thank you" response. I noticed Rondo moving the ball around a lot during the Tuesday game, so I mentioned that he gets away with that quite a bit. The scout admitted he wasn't a fan of Rondo's game and that if he was on another team with average talent Rondo would be considered a garbage point guard. That surprised me because Rondo seems to be a good fit, but the scout's point was that, as we witnessed first hand, finding KG running the floor or Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for kick outs would make any PG look good.
- Speaking of scouts, I noticed a Bulls' scout using a laptop with scouting software to input information he was collecting. He also had a paper pad to jot down notes but I'm sure the software allows a scout to capture detailed information and compile everything into nice reports. I assume this is the norm, but it is quite a contrast to a game I attended earlier in the year when veteran NBA scout/coach Bob Staak was using a hard copy notepad and pen for the Orlando Magic. I remember thinking at the time that Staak's method will force someone to transfer his info to a computer program and hope the transfer catches all the intended meaning. Just seems like an antiquated way to go and far less efficient, even if the value of Staak's content is better.
- Prior to the tip, a shapely female Celtics' fan drew the attention of many with the tight Celtics "uniform" mini-dress she was wearing. In the second half she drew the attention of everybody, including the big screen camera folks when she held up a sign wishing Larry Bird a happy 52nd birthday. Well done.
- Finally, a bonus link: Paul Forrester includes Marquis Daniels in his group of five players seizing the opportunity of unexpected playing time.
Marquis Daniels, Pacers. Indiana is only 7-13, but its brutal schedule already has included three games against Boston, two each with Cleveland and Orlando and one apiece against Houston and the Lakers. Daniels is a big reason why the Pacers are within striking distance of the .500 mark. He has played well in place of starting shooting guard Mike Dunleavy, whose return from a bone spur in his right knee is a mystery worthy of a CSI episode. There may not be much rush if Daniels (15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds) continues to produce.