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O'B Bringing Fans Back One at a Time

Man, I love Jim O'Brien.

I caught most of his radio show tonight while running some errands. The show format allows fans to call and ask O'B questions. Usually this type of show evokes bland, general answers from the coach on call, whitewashing any deficiencies of a player or situation that is the topic of inquiry.

O'B's not wired that way, though. After hearing his show several times, I'm convinced O'B spikes his morning coffee with a 24 hour dose of Sodium Pentothal. The guy cuts to the truth with surgical precision.

When asked about the lack of point guard depth, O'B immediately agreed it has been a problem. He then broke down his options. Right now, Marquis Daniels backs up Jamaal Tinsley. Andre Owens is next in line and O'B has confidence in Owens because of his on ball defense. Travis Diener has trouble defending with his size and since he hasn't been shooting well, he's stuck in the back of the line.

Paraphrasing his comments on the point guards and Shawne Williams, O'B explained that he won't play a 12-man rotation and it's tough to offer minutes to Diener and Owens for player development because they're all paid to win games. O'B expressed confidence in any player on the bench should the opportunity arise and he needs to call their number, but it's up to the player to seize the opportunity to earn more playing time.

The nice thing about O'B's player explanations is that you know he's looked all of those players in the eye and delivered the same assessment.

Later in the show, O'B put his money where his mouth is when a caller lamented the behavior issues and lack of fans. The caller's veiled references were obviously a shot at the Pacers' off-court issues and his reluctance to have his 10 and 8 year old boys look up to the Pacers. O'B defended Jamaal Tinsley and the rest of the players in general, said he loved them, the way they work and the way they treat each other. He then offered the caller a chance to bring his boys to a practice, so they could watch the team work and meet all of the players. He'd then have them as a guest at a game. O'B went on to mention all of the good his players do in the community that isn't publicized. After hearing O'B's comments and offer, the caller could only respond, "Thanks, Coach."

I couldn't agree more. Thanks, Coach.