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Step Your Game Up: David Harrison

[With expectations lower than the White River this August, the Pacers simply need to play well in order to surpass the pundits prognostications. But just playing well probably won't be enough to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. What the Pacers need is for each player to raise their game a little so that the combined effect will help the team exceed expecations to the point of an exciting, entertaining, dare I say, FUN season. We do remember how to have fun don't we? With this in mind, I'm looking at that little extra a player may add to move the Pacers in the right direction this year.]

David Harrision is probably the Pacers premier big the court. He's bright and funny, if not a bit aloof. Harrison is always willing to star in the light-hearted half time features during Pacer broadcasts, ready with a quip or a dig on a teammate. He even landed a commercial, although the script seems to be keeping his acting talent in check.

Unfortunately, that zest for life hasn't translated into his expected development on the court. In fact, I honestly think his inquisitive nature and enjoyment of life experiences has held him back. Did I just say, Harrison doesn't care enough about basketball? Basically. The guy is 7 feet tall with plenty of applicable basketball skill, yet his game hasn't progressed much since his rookie year. Usually, a player's third year gives a strong indication of what to expect over the long haul. Last year, Harrison's third, didn't give us much to judge him by since the injuries kept him sidelined quite a bit and when he did play he played the part of fly paper to fouls. So here we are, with Harrison heading into his fourth year, bereft of any expectations for production from the big fella.

What can we expect from David Harrison?
Expectations are pretty low for two reasons. The first is documented above. But past performance is not always indicative of future returns, and since Harrison just turned 25, so there's plenty of time for him to mature and take his game seriously. But I'd leave that as a 50-50 proposition right now.

The second reason for low expecations is the coaching change. O'B likes to have four 3-ballers around a big and run, run, run. The description of that system makes Harrison a bad fit. He's not the Pacers only square peg for O'B's circle system, but if bigs will rarely play together then you have to consider J.O., Ike, Foster and then Harrison. It will take a monumental effort for Harrison to find some quality playing time.

What can Harrison do to exceed expectations?
For one, Harrison can show up ready to earn some burn. His size and athletic ability has always been intriguing. It was somewhat shocking when he returned from injury last year, having lost most of his bulk. Hopefully, he's put some of that weight back on in the form of muscle. If O'B can carve out a role for the big fella and Harrison steps up to the challenge, he could have a big impact by doing a few little things. Just giving some solid 5-7 minute shifts a couple of times a game, playing good defense, getting hyper on the boards, and avoiding the reach foul would exceed my expectations at this point. To really take it to another level, DH can mature as a pro and develop his craft to take advantage of the ability he's shown in flashes before.

Come on, David! Step your game up!!!