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Troy Murphy's Role Diminished

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The return of Jermaine O'Neal, the indispensable play of Jeff Foster, and the emergence of Shawne Williams have all reduced Troy Murphy's role with the Pacers.

After starting for much of November, Murphy's shot has abandoned him of late. The clanks combined with O'B's desire for running the floor both ways and better defense has put Murphy in a position where he logged a DNP-Coaches Decision against Phoenix on Tuesday. There was no mention of injury, so I'm assuming the matchup combined Murph's play of late kept him on the pine.

On his radio show last week, O'B mentioned his desire for Murph to shed a few LBS to improve his agility. Toward the end of the Western roadie, O'B decided to make a change and remove Murph from his starting role. O'B's running a meritocracy with no apologies.

"The bottom line is our guys know that my door is open from a standpoint of playing time and talking to them about it," O'Brien said. "You take one lineup and there's an enormous difference. If he wants to find out why, I'd be happy to explain it to him."
So at this point, Murph's playing time is up to him. He'll have to earn his minutes through continued hard work, in order to reclaim O'B's trust. Murph could be valuable playing off J.O. by spotting up for 3-balls, but he's gotta knock 'em down. O'B likes shuffling rotations depending on matchups, so Murph will get his shot at redemption. Meanwhile, his demotion helps O'B with his credibility inside the locker room. A player's salary and past performances don't impact the here and now. Work hard and perform when called on, and you will get the opportunity to play.

Now, if O'B could only find way for Kareem Rush and Travis Diener make some shots.