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Marquis Daniels Working Hard to Put It All Together

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Bruno's Caught in the Web checks in with Marquis Daniels and his preparation for the upcoming season. Two things stick out in this article for me.

First, Quis is no longer a wild card. Last year, between sporadic play before the trade and injury issues after the trade, it was hard to know what to expect from Quis this year. Remember, after the trade and before Quis shut it down for the year, the Pacers were sitting in pretty good shape, and the post-trade play of Daniels really stood out. On February 21st, the Pacers beat Milwaukee and had a record of 29-24, which had them entrenched in playoff position. From that game, the Pacers lost eleven in a row and never recovered. Daniels played sparingly in two of those eleven losses and was nowhere near healthy. There were several reasons why the Pacers season imploded and Daniels health was certainly one of those key reasons.

By his dedication this summer, Daniels proves he's bought into the program and is leading by example. Sounds like the taste of what he can bring at the NBA level has provided the incentive to prepare himself to consistently play at that level.

"You've got to be dedicated and you've got to be committed to what you're doing," he said. "I didn't like the way things ended with our team last year, so I just figured if I come in and put more effort and work into getting healthy and staying healthy this year it'll all pay off and hopefully we can have a better outcome next year."

If all goes according to plan, Daniels' versatility could make a big difference. So could his determination.

"When Oct. 31 gets here," he said, "I look forward to unleashing a lot of frustration."

The second thing that stuck out for me, were the quotes by Jim O'Brien.
"What he has shown me, more than anything else, is dedication to this organization by being here on a regular basis to make sure he's going to come into training camp healthy, conditioned and focused," O'Brien said. "Anybody that has spent the consistent amount of time that Marquis has spent here really is someone that you're anxious to coach and you're anxious to have on the team. I think he's going to have a real good year.

"He's made for an up-tempo attack. Not having Marquis at the end of the season really hurt this franchise. You can't control injuries but if we can keep him healthy, he'll be -- as a result of his dedication to his body -- a major, major factor for us."
Seems like everytime I hear O'B or read his quoted words, I just feel better about the Pacers. I know a lot of it is coach speak and he has to be postitive, but his comments always seem inexplicably genuine. Straight words from a straight shooter. Which wall do you want me to run through, coach?

The players seem to have a similar reaction based on their comments about O'B. One of the keys to turning around the Pacers' fortunes is changing the culture around the team. O'B has already reset the culture and laid a foundation to build a strong, positive culture going forward. This is one step of many, but O'B continues to reveal himself as a great hire.