The Summer Pacers handed the Miami Summer Heat a loss tonight in Orlando, 95-84. Once again, Shawne Williams, Stephen Graham, Josh Davis and Earl Calloway played lots of minutes and all played a big role in the win. Shawne Williams played 37 of 40 minutes and led the way with 25 points, including four 3-balls.
The Pacers were also able to talk about the seven new players they acquired in June. This afternoon David Morway, Larry Bird, and Jim O'Brien talked up the deals on local radio. Roy Hibbert also made the rounds.
First of all, Hibbert is a great addition to the franchise. Now if he can play, he'll be unreal. I've seen Hibbert look good and bad in college but one thing that gives me hope is that I was living in D.C. when Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo were coming out of Georgetown and both developed into much better pros than I thought they would during their time with the Hoyas. Hibbert sounds like he loves the game and will put in the work. If he turns into a player somewhere between Zo and Deke, I'll be pumped. Here's a link to his chat with JMV: Hibbert interview
Morway, Bird, and JOB all addressed Tinsley and the fact they have three PGs (four? Earl Calloway). All three made it clear, they didn't expect him to be with the team. Morway mentioned there being interest around the league for Tinsley's services. Morway was asked about Calloway's good play and he tried to downplay any expectations, but did say he was doing a good job and they've been following his development for over a year.
Bird's interview with JMV is available so I jotted down some of the more interesting items.
JMV: Most pressing need right now
Bird: Probably the Power Forward position, a back up. Troy, I know has been working out since the season was over to improve in a lot of things that Jimmy wanted him to do. I just think in that area, I know we can swing Danny over there or maybe Shawne Williams some. Danny's really a small forward but I think he'll be able to move over to the power forward some, but maybe bring somebody in who can help us at the power forward position and scoring down low.
Bird About Tinsley: Jamaal's been great for our franchise but I think people see the direction we're going, so hopefully this summer we can make a deal for him and make him happy and get him back to playing at a level that he likes to play at.
He's working out, our trainers have been down there and therapist been looking at him, says his knee is pretty healthy he's doing a lot of things, he's trying to get back in shape and doing the things necessary to play basketball, again.
The interview ended with a great line about the ol' home town, French Lick. The area has been depressed for years but recently opened up a really nice casino and resort which has begun to revitalize the area and bring in some entertainment. JMV then commented to Bird about how busy he's been so far this offseason.
JMV: No time for you to get down to French Lick any time soon is there. Come on, now. We missed George Jones and everything, Larry, you realize that don't you. (Bird laughing).
Bird: That place is finally hopping after 50 years and I'm not going to be there to see it.
Larry Bird interview with JMV: Bird interview
The talk about adding a power forward is interesting. I was tipped off about a potential move the Pacers are working on for a power forward by a guy with good sources with access to agents. Then, Jeff Rabjohns reports tonight that former Purdue forward, Carl Landry could be an option for the Pacers. Landry had a huge rookie season for the Rockets and fits the Bird culture change mold of hard worker, great person, oh, and productive.
Signing a free agent like Landry would require another move or two to free up roster space and enough cabbage to spend. The Pacers would also have to hope a bidding war of sorts didn't break out for Landry.
From the interviews, these guys are all excited about TJ Ford, Jarrett Jack, and Brandon Rush. References to 'great character' was thrown in nearly every assessment of the new players. Ford, Jack, and Rush will be relied on to produce at both ends of the floor. They love they're competitiveness and willingness to work. Both Bird and JOB made the point that these are the type of guys they need going forward, but they don't consider them the critical pieces to future championship success. They are critical to changing the culture and direction of the team and hopefully will contribute to future championship success. Plenty of work left to do.
Some much information so little time. What am I talking about? The season doesn't tip off for another three plus months. At least we have something interesting to follow this summer.