During the preseason, the Indiana Pacers went through a ton of playing rotations as Jim O'Brien worked to incorporate the team's new faces and try to figure out which combinations worked best together. With several players on the shelf that task remains difficult but the time for experimenting is over as the Pacers prepare to open the season in Atlanta on Wednesday.
Maybe one of the last things the team learned will be most valuable. The small-ball lineup with Earl Watson, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Rush and Danny Granger worked real well against the Spurs. They played with a couple of different centers and the key to this lineup was the core of Dahntay, Rush and Granger, then you can fill in the point guard and center around them. If JOB wants to go small I prefer this type of lineup as opposed to having T.J. Ford and Watson play together which makes the team real small defensively.
One other nice surprise from the preseason was seeing Dahntay Jones score some points. He averaged 10.5 ppg and was able to find his way the the free throw line with his ability to attack the basket in the open court. Jones is by no means a scoring threat but finding a way to pitch in at the offensive end is desperately needed. His outside shot still induces a "Quisy cringe" and I'm sure he'll be left to shoot in the half court, but hopefully he'll stay in attack mode and try to take those shots inside to finish himself or create an opportunity for a teammate.
One problem exposed in the preseason was the fouling and lack of rebounding out of the center position, mainly Roy Hibbert and Solo Jones. Roy especially needs to stay on the floor because he is a viable offensive option in the half court. But the Pacers can't possibly rely on Roy to provide consistent offense if his playing time will fluctuate so much due to foul trouble. With the uncertainty of Jeff Foster's back, the Pacers lack a safety net in the front court and need the young fellas to step up.
These are just a few observations from the preseason, but plenty of questions remain to be answered in the regular season. Let me know where your greatest concerns lie.
After the jump, some outstanding links of interest including a fabulous interview with Tyler Hansbrough, more preseason wrap-ups and Fan Jam highlights:
- Mark Montieth's One on One series is consistently spectacular. He does a ton of homework for the indepth interviews and always has his subjects open up by bringing up some little known fact or obscure detail from the subject's career. Sunday's guest was Tyler Hansbrough which means that Montieth drew more words and personality out of Hansbrough than we've seen in all of the days combined since the Pacers drafted him. After hearing this interview and then seeing Hansbrough ham it up at Fan Jam, you can tell he has a great personality buried behind that intense and introverted exterior. Here's an audio link: One on One with Tyler Hansbrough.
Defense, health keys heading into season
After monitoring the preseason closely, Bruno offers up his keys to success for the Pacers.
Pacers a work in progress
Mighty Mike Wells wades through a few issues facing the Pacers as they look to improve their win/loss record this season.
Pacers players have fun as preseason ends
Mike Wells offers his report on the Fan Jam event along with some additional news. Jeff Foster was not at the event because he was in Boston with Dan Dyrek working on his pesky back problem.
Pacers: Winning Back Fans Still A Priority For Rebuilding Team
Larry Hawley at Indy Sports Nation has a real nice recap of the Fan Jam along with more video.
The Summer Losses: Jarrett Jack
Jared Wade what the Pacers are missing with the loss of Jarrett Jack this summer. Also, a nice heads up on Danny Granger's Flip video series. DG is making good use of the Flip camera given to the team for their trip to Asia.
Born to Coach As Player, Skiles Knew He Wanted to Run the Show
This is a nice article on legendary high shool hooper and current Milwaukee Bucks coach, Scott Skiles.