Here are just a few personal notes and observations on the team so far:
The second quarter has been kind to the Pacers. Indy has outscored their opponents 418-308 in the second quarter of games this season and that's by far the their best scoring margin for any quarter. Possible explanations? Could one be JOB's much maligned rotation?
It's certainly possible. Most teams keep their key players in the entire first quarter and then allow them to re-enter around the 5-6 minute mark of the second quarter. This allows the potential for fabulous production from key players in quarter one, but obviously limits their time effectiveness in quarter two, while reyling on bench players. JOB replaces his key players around 7-8 minutes into the first quarter (yes, even if they're playing well) and allows them to play another 7-10 minutes in quarter two. While JOB's style obviously limits the time of key player effectiveness in quarter one, it generally allows more court time for key players in quarter two than their opponents. It's hardly scientific, but I suppose JOB's rotation could be a factor in the Pacers overwhelming success in quarter two.
Brandon Rush - His stats won't always blow you away, but B. Rush is clearly a more capable B. Rush this season. He's looking to finish more at the rim (he supposedly trained on that skill all summer), and it's almost artistic to watch his athleticism and defensive instincts against many of the dominant perimeter players in the league. The best part of his ascension is that he appears genuinely focused each night out. He has the look on his face of a man trying to salvage his career and it's been a pleasure to see him start to realize some of his enormous potential.
Danny Granger - Granger's defense is all the rage right now and deservedly so, he's been fabulous on that end. But the question is why? Clearly, in my mind, Roy Hibbert's capable offensive presence has played a large role in Danny's defensive improvement. The fact that DG can trust someone else offensively to make a play takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of him offensively, and gives him some added energy on the defensive end. Alas, though, Hibbert doesn't deserve all of the credit. Collison, improved offensive seasons from Dunleavy and Rush have also made Danny's burden on offense a bit lighter. I l
Roy Hibbert - I just can't say enough about Big Roy. Offensively, he'll always be awkwardly effective, but his defense is something to behold. He uses his length well and his movement is much more fluid on that side of the ball. After watching Roy, no one can convince me that players can't develop athleticism on their own. Roy will never be jumping over guys, but his loss of weight and agility training have really made him quicker and a more agile defender. Again, it's just been a pleasure to watch him develop.
Fun times to be a Pacer fan. Hopefully, they'll continue to stay relatively injury free and continue to shock the NBA world.