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O'Brien Challenges Pacers With Hard Work

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Mark Montieth has an outstanding look at the practice intensity O'B demands, even on game days. Yep, game days.

Normally the NBA shoot around consists of walking through the night's game plan and then self-paced work on offensive skills. Maybe some individual work with an assistant, but nothing to wear out anyone in advance of the opening tip later that night.

O'B is not a normal NBA coach and some of his old school methods may seem out of place in today's NBA, but the players don't appear to mind. This opening lays it out nicely.

The popular notion might be that NBA players don't want to practice hard, and don't want to be criticized.

It's often not true, however. Some players told Isiah Thomas when he coached the Indiana Pacers that they weren't practicing hard enough. And Stephen Jackson once told Rick Carlisle that he didn't get on the players enough.

Jim O'Brien chuckles at such notions.

"I don't think there's going to be that criticism of our crew," O'Brien said Saturday, following a brisk, high-energy workout at Conseco Fieldhouse before the Pacers flew out for a five-game western trip that begins today in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Read the rest and you'll feel good about the Pacers ability to grind through all 82 this year. Nice to hear the players appreciate the demands especially after a stretch of adversity where it would be easy for any malcontents to gripe.

The team isn't yet where O'B wants them from a physical standpoint. Could fatigue from the days work be a factor in some of the late collapses we've witnessed? Maybe, although it has never appeared the egregious execution problems late in games were related to fatigue. I can't let the players off that easy.

The endurance the players are building up has to make them feel better and when they realize some of their wins are due to simply out working and running the other team, the confidence to finish games strong will increase. Then we'll truly see all of that hard work pay off.