The Indiana Pacers held a formal scrimmage on Friday night with two 12 minute halves played with referees played at game speed throughout. The second half was open to the media so I took a few notes to share, although this was a camp scrimmage so while these are things I observed at the scrimmage it would be foolish to tie a trend to anything I saw let alone a final judgment on any players.
The scrimmage had a great spirit to it with teams divided up with the blue team led by Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Gerald Green against the white team with David West, D.J. Augustin, Lance Stephenson, Miles Plumlee/Jeff Pendergraph and Sam Young. Lots of talking and competing between the teams. Even fun-loving big guys, Hibbert and Pandergraph got into a testy verbal exchange after a physical play in the post that left HIbbert at the foul line.
As for the players that stuck out the most, I'd say Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Hibbert, along with a few plays by Gerald Green. Here are some quick observations on what I saw in the limited time watching the scrimmage.
- Danny Granger sat out the scrimmage, using a side court to shoot and also offering commentary when needed. I also didn't see Ian Mahinmi play. He knocked his head earlier in the scrimmage and eventually returned from the locker room but didn't play in the second half of the scrimmage.
- Paul George was assertive with the ball and made some nice plays. Finished strong in traffic a few times, hit a couple of contested jumpers. Just looked real comfortable with what he was trying to do on the court.
- Gerald Green has so much bounce to his game it is ridiculous. Releases a real easy jumper as well, just flows off his fingers with a quick release. First shot I saw him take was off a side out of bounds play. Green in-bounded the ball then stepped onto the court behind the arc, took a pass back and went into that quick up, quick release jumper. Splash.
- Lance Stephenson played well on the white squad. Paired in the backcourt with D.J. Augustin, Stephenson didn't have to initiate the offense but then made plays off the pass by attacking the lane. Twice he drew defenders in the lane and then found David West on the baseline for a wheelhouse 15-foot jumper. West missed the shots, but the play set up was perfect. Stephenson rushed a long shot on one possession and missed it by a mile. The rim...by a mile. Later, he took a skip pass in the corner and nailed the three ball.
- Stephenson hurt his hand late in the scrimmage but appeared to be fine by the end of practice. He had a kind greeting for Slick Leonard and then locked eyes with the Pacers legendary coach without saying a word as Slick advised the young fella. These are good things.
- Roy Hibbert did his thing in the post. Real aggressive, talking a lot. Had two real nice catches and finishes at the rim, on in transition against blanket coverage by Sam Young. Big fella also put a nice move on D West from the foul line and hit a running left-hander. Seriously.
- Rookie Miles Plumlee is plenty big and active to help when needed in the front court. I wish someone would've warned me about his jumper. Scared the hell out of me, kind of like Elaine dancing on Seinfeld. But, he made the first shot I saw him take, a baseline 17-footer. Billy Keller worked with Plumlee after practice and he did make a bunch of shots although they appeared to defy physics with that form.
- The point guards, George Hill and D.J. Augustin didn't do anything special other than initiate the offense at both ends without issue. The teams were a mix of starters and bench players so
- The interaction and competition between the teams was great. Lot of intensity and talking throughout. Enjoyed one exchange during a time out . Gerald Green had just flown threw traffic and missed an off-balance finish at the rim, but Tyler Hansbrough snared the rebound, went up and was fouled. During the time out while Hans was getting water away from the bench, Green made a point to get his attention: "Tyler, Tyler...way to have my back."
That pretty much sums up this team at this point. Getting after it and having each other's back.