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Jim O'Brien: Whole New Ballgame

Jim O'Brien kicked off the Indiana Pacers media day with those words during a press conference to discuss the upcoming season. Needless to say, he's quite happy with the positive changes Larry Bird and David Morway have made during the offseason. Here are some real quick notes, as the players will be available in a few minutes.

  • Expects the team to be in the top five in scoring this year, but the team must own responsibility for the defense improving which can make the Pacers a playoff team. Yes, he expects the team to make the playoffs and said he wouldn't coach this season if he didn't.
  • Speaking of defense, JOB offered some details on changes he plans to implement. For instance, they will no longer "blitz" the side pick and roll. Instead the bigs will stay closer to home in the lane and hopefully limit the 5.8 free throw disparity from last year.
  • Loves Roy Hibbert but admits that he wants to block every shot right now and is easily faked into jumping. That will make it hard to avoid foul trouble.
  • JOB expects Danny Granger to lead the team defensively as he expands his leadership role on the team.
  • Also, talked about the production of Granger and Dunleavy and mentioned that they can improve by averaging 18 points per game for a playoff team instead of a mediocre, non-playoff team.
  • JOB doesn't know how the center position will evolve but he expects it to shake out in camp with a daily war. He wouldn't mind seeing lips cut, noses bloodied as the players fight for playing time. Whoever earns the minutes will have the respect of their teammates.