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Larry Joe Legend Offers a State of the Pacers Address

Larry Joe Legend went on the friendly airwaves of NBA Radio last night (here's the audio)and ended up giving a "State of the Pacers" address. First of all, does anyone listen to NBA Radio? I see it is on Sirius, guess I'll have to work the podcasts. Bruno's Caught in the Web has a review of LJL's interview where he touches on being in the lottery, the coaching search, and the roster. So what did we learn? Well, for one, LJL is confident about getting a quality coach whether he has head coaching experience or not.

Much has been made of the removal of Sam Mitchell and Stan Van Gundy from the list of candidates but Bird isn't exactly panicked. He has hinted all along his preference would be an assistant coach on the rise and that apparently hasn't changed.

"We've been interviewing a number of people, and very impressed with a lot of the young guys we've been talking to, especially the associate assistants, or the first assistants, that we've talked to," Bird said. "There's a lot of guys out there we feel are very capable of being head coaches, so we'll be alright in that department."
Nice to see my efforts to channel my thoughts to LJL are working.

On the topic of Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley, LJL's comments left open plenty of room for interpretation. First, will J.O. be on the roster?
"You never know. I hope so. It's just wait and see what happens," he said. "Any time a guy like Jermaine's involved, you don't just go out and give him away. You have to go out and try to get the best fit you possibly can for your own team. We'll look at everything we can this summer."

Later in the interview: "So this year, if you look at our team if Jermaine's there - which I hope that he is - we've got the basis of a very good team. We're better than 35 (wins)."
I guess Kravitz would say he has no plan, but in reality the plan is to be prepared for all of the options that may unfold over the next few weeks. If they get the right trade offer he's gone, if not he's the cornerstone (and we hope he stays healthy). One problem though, I'd prefer a team that was better than 50 wins instead of 35. Better than 35 leaves you stuck in the NBA's no man's land.

As for Tins, Bird praised him in one breath but then yearned for a better point guard option in the next.
"As a person, I love Jamaal," he said. "He works his tail off in the summer to get ready for the season. It's just unfortunate that he gets some injuries at times that are really freakish.

"I know a couple of years ago a guy stepped on his foot and he tore a tendon. Even last year at the end of the game against San Antonio he was going for the steal and got it and won the game for us but I think he tore something in his elbow or something popped and it filled up with fluid and it took him the rest of the year to get that out of there. He kept trying to play with it and it'd get sore, just a lot of freakish things happened to him. He's an excellent point guard, a very good player."

"I think we need shooting," he said. "We need a backup point guard, or better point guard play. Jamaal's been excellent for us the last few years. If he can stay healthy he's what we need. We just need some backups and we need some shooting, and you can always use a big man. We've got our work cut out for us this summer. Hopefully we can get going here pretty soon and fill some of our needs."
Hmm, he's not injury prone, those past problems were freaky. Really, he's a great PG that any team would be lucky to have...for the low, low price of a late first or early second round draft pick.

LJL went on to express his excitement over the talent of Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, and Marquis Daniels. You know, with J.O. they aren't that far from being a solid playoff team. 50 plus win solid? Let's not get carried away. Notice there was no mention of Troy Murphy or Mike Dunleavy. Regardles of which direction they go with J.O., if you can avert your eyes from the contracts, and those two guys are only counted on to be role players then better days may be ahead. On the other hand, if they're counted on for major contributions (and by major I mean both ends of the floor on a consistent basis) then the Pacers can make their travel arrangements to Secaucus, NJ for next May because there will be a few more Pacer ping pong balls in the hopper for next year's lottery.