FanPost

10 Blue-and-Gold Things I'd Like To See In 2011-12 (Part 1)

[From the Fan Posts, Glenn A.is getting in the mood for the lockout to end and starts taking a look ahead at the season. -TL]

10. An AJ Price demotion to third-string PG: You’d be hard-pressed to find a more confident fella on the court than AJ Price. What, exactly, he’s so confident about is still a mystery to many fans. It can’t be his underwhelming play-making/assist skills, and it certainly can’t be his sub-40-field-goal percentage. I’ll give AJ the recognition that he has hit a few big shots as a Pacer, even one or two in the playoffs; however, if Larry and Co. are really serious about formulating a top-flight-bench product, AJ’s inefficient ways should be on the skids.

9. Hansbrough’s Back to the Basket: Psycho-T seemingly scores in two distinct ways: stand-up jumpers created through the pick-and-pop, or through relentlessness on the offensive glass, which leads to some easy putbacks and/or attempts at the foul line. When teams focus on limiting those areas of Hans’ game, he quickly becomes a non-factor on the court. Hans needs some semblance of a back-to-the-basket game, and I’m not talking about a little running, T-Rex-armed hook shot either. To develop such a skill requires patience and instinct regarding when to attack, each of which seems contradictory to Hans’ full-speed, full-effort reputation. However, if he doesn’t make an attempt to diversify, then it’s going to be awfully hard to counter the opinion of the masses that he’s best suited as a role player off the bench.

8. The Spirit of Jeff Foster vs. Bulls: PG on Rose was fun. Hansbrough’s vexing of Boozer was delightful. Granger carving up Deng while showcasing a little chest-pounding flair was Rifleman-esque. But maybe more enjoyable than any of those playoff highlights, were Jeff Foster’s limited yet thoroughly aggressive stints off the bench. Not since the Davis’ boys have we seen a Blue-and-Gold player so willing to mix it up. And mix it up he did. He physically fronted the league’s supposedly untouchable contortion-artist MVP, while rousing Chicago players and fans into a simmering frenzy. Most importantly, though, he reawakened a long-time absent Pacers’ mantra: "We may not win, but we will fight."

7. The Big Fundamental 2.0: There may not be a more proven formula than this: Big Roy + offseason + twitter feed = incessant fan delirium. This offseason is no exception as Roy is not only supposedly bulking up in the weight room, but he’s also training with the Big Fundmental himself, Tim Duncan. That would be something like a 98 on a 100-point compatibility scale. Roy, like Duncan, will never have elite athleticism. If he really wants to take the next step, he’s going to need to learn how to best take advantage of his size and length as well as apply some basketball smarts. Let’s replace some of those disastrous line drive hook shots at the rim with some creatively angled shots off the backboard. The mentor selection, the tweets of newly learned moves, it’s all positive, Big Roy, now let’s see some of that Fundamental chatter come alive at Conseco and beyond.                          

6. A Full Season of Granger’s Cold-Blooded Persona: At the time, I hated Granger’s proclamation that the Bulls were his preferred first-round matchup. The gall of a playoff first timer to single out an opponent in such a nonchalant way screamed competitive immaturity. Then Granger played. He scored. He chest-pounded. He never backtracked from his comments. And, guess what? The Pacers went toe to toe against a playoff No. 1 seed for five games. It was everything that Granger hadn’t been in the past. Bold. Brash. Confident. Resolute. Dare I say it was the swagger of a No. 1 option?

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