Before loading up the fam and heading to Vegas, Jermaine O'Neal gave some thoughtful answers to Bruno in an exclusive Q & A on Pacers.com. As his comments reveal, J.O's All-Star caliber game isn't the only thing maturing nicely. Naturally the touch on All-Star Weekend (with daughter in tow, more sight seeing than club hopping) and the All-Star game (wants to play but will monitor his knee closely). But the good stuff is found in answers about the current status of the team and J.O.'s expectation going forward. Of course, he expects to contend in the East and has been doing his part to set the tone for a strong run after the break.
I found J.O's comments on the trade that sent good friends to Golden State and shook up the team to be the best analysis of the trade I've seen to date:
I look at Mike and Troy, they bring a different element to our team. We add another big but he's a shooting big. He doesn't really need the ball every other time down the court to be effective. He can rebound and he can block shots. Mike, at 6-9, is one of the better rebounding guards in the league. He's a slasher, he's a shooter, he can get his own shot. Ike is a guy that can block shots, he can rebound, he can score in the low-post coming off the bench. And Keith is an explosive point guard. We haven't really had those types of guys. We've had a lot of guys that do some of the same things. Jack posts a lot, Al posts a lot, I post a lot. It clogs up the middle. Now, I've become the primary post guy. I'm still facing the same double-teams but that's fine. They can double me all day. If my teammates are making plays, making shots, I'm fine coming up with minimum numbers. I'm at a point in my career where numbers don't really determine what I do. That's why I'm concentrating so much on the defensive end this year. You can go out and get a million points but if you don't win you haven't accomplished the ultimate goal. I'm extremely happy. If we had to trade the guys we traded, I would definitely say they're the perfect group of guys to bring in.
Jermaine is finally at a place in his career where he's able to back up his words with his actions on both ends of the court. These comments reveal that he gets it but is still yearning to raise his game and team to another level. Now that, Pacer fans, is how the lead dog should run.
What do you think about J.O.'s comments?