Plenty of action on and off the court in the NBA last night, as the Indiana Pacers put up some volume clankage in their loss to the New Jersey Nets in the Orlando Summer League. In addition to the game, coach Jim O'Brien spent some time on the NBA TV broadcast in the second quarter touching on Tyler Hansbrough's status, Roy Hibbert's development and, of course, three pointers.
Then there was the news that LeBron James will announce where he'll sign during an ESPN one-hour special on Thursday. Ack. Will he make Cleveland fans cry like Lindsey Lohan and just leave a Boys & Girls Clubs donation as parting gift? I mean, I understand the hoopla for the announcement. Seems like every three star football and basketball recruit has a presser these days to announce their decision. But an hour? Will he have hast for the Cavs, Bulls, Knicks and Heat and then tease a little before picking one up? Man, I hope so. Might as well make it as completely ridiculous as possible since there's no classy way to pull of an HOUR special.
A couple of quick thoughts on the game, I was happy to see Lance Stephenson fight through some tough play in the first half to keep making plays. He just kept grinding through the problems like I hoped he would and hope he can continue to do in the future. As for the clanks, especially the 2-19 performance from Josh McRoberts and Paul George, it really isn't a big deal. Consider these guys had seven practices in five days then went straight to Orlando where they've played two of five games in five days. I also imagine they're having other workouts in addition to the games. Especially in George's case, the legs are shot which was apparent in the short threes and then missing long when trying to overcompensate. The biggest tell for George was a late third-quarter break away when he expended just enough energy to lightly dunk the ball instead of going for a sky-walking rim rattler. It's just summer league, so we'll see how they can play through the fatigue the rest of the week.
After the jump, more on JOB's comments along with links with stories from Orlando, Paul George blogging, a possible destination for Jermaine O'Neal and a solid showing for Gordon Hayward.
Jim O'Brien talked with Steve Smith and Rick Kamla on the NBA TV broadcast and touched on a few interesting topics which I will paraphrase and discuss. First though, in observing JOB over the past couple of years, he seems to enjoy or at least prefer to spar a little with the media in interviews. If asked about an observation or preconceived notion, he'll usually downplay or say somethin along the lines of, "that's not necessarily true" and then go into a lengthy explanation that leaves your forgetting the question. The guy can talk when he wants to but I don't think he ever wants to give a straight answer despite all of the apparent straight talk.
I say this because JOB commented on Tyler Hansbrough's status last night and in matters of player health JOB can't be relied on for full disclosure. And that goes both way, where a player may be ready to go and he mentions he might not be and then may say a player is fine but then the guy ends up out for a week. At least in the case of Hansbrough, JOB has actually seen him in the flesh recently.
JOB said the Hansbrough was in Indy last week and looked like the Hulk and was having a good summer, but the second-year player wasn't at summer league because he still had a little vertigo. Not sure how you have a little vertigo but it would seem a little vertigo goes a long way. The question is: Was this just JOB talk or is Hansbrough still in the same situation he was during the season? I'm sure we won't know until training camp unless reports surface earlier of Hansbrough playing pickup in Chapel Hill. The problem is there hasn't been a clear diagnosis from the Pacers whenever pressed on the issue. Whether it's vertigo, post-concussion or whatever, I think JOB is using vertigo as the default description of what is keeping him out.
I would say the fact that he's working out is a real good sign. JOB said something about not having vertigo when he's pumping iron, but I would think if vertigo was hampering him then a strenuous weight workout would be difficult bordering on dangerous. So the real take away is that Hansbrough is alive and working out but other than that we still don't know if he'll be ready for pre-season camp.
Steve Smith asked JOB if he minded all of the three-pointers Josh McRoberts was shooting, JOB's response was that he insists on McRoberts taking the three. He didn't say anything about making the threes so he must've been impressed with the 12 3-balls Josh launched last night despite only making two of them. He emphasized how they like a power forward like Troy Murphy who can stretch the floor and shoot threes to open things up for Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert to work around the hoop.
I'd love Josh to just be a high-energy guy off the bench mixing things up in the middle and working on his defense, but I guess he can do that while working on the three. But will his 3-point proficiency be the key to playing time? I hope not. It should be his ability to defend and rebound which has been inconsistent in his play to date. At this point in his career, Josh doesn't need to be a Sam Perkins-type player he needs to be an Anderson Varejao, Big Baby Davis scrap like hell and annoy the opposition type player. He can slip into Big Smoov mode for that latter part of his career.
Finally, JOB was effusive in his praise of Roy Hibbert's development so far this summer. He's thoroughly impressed with the work Roy has put in and predicted we will see even greater stride in Roy's game that was apparent with his play last year. Now that's some good news.
On to the links:
PACERS: Shooters go cold as Pacers lose
Pacers.com report on the Pacers loss to the Nets.
O'Brien talks about Hansbrough
Mike Wells blogs about the summer action and JOB's comments from Orlando. Also mentions former lead assistant, Lester Connor will hold the same position under Larry Drew with the Atlanta Hawks this year.
PACERS: A few nerves but overall a pretty good start
Paul George has a blog on Pacers.com and opens up a little about the crazy pace he's been going since draft night.
Report: James to make decision in TV special
So now all of ESPN's NBA talking heads will ramp up the intrigue in all of the cities in contention.
Nets Beat Pacers with Big Fourth Quarter - NetsDaily
NetsDaily has the New Jersey side of last night's game.
Who Impressed Me In Day Two In Orlando | Thunder Rumblings
Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry reports on what he's seen in Orlando and it appears he's developed a fondness for Magnum Rolle.
Jazz’s Hayward showing his stuff down the stretch in summer league
Tony Jones reports on Gordon Hayward's effort in the Jazz win yesterday in Orlando. Hayward only played 19 minutes but closed out the win with several key plays.
Gordon Hayward Working Off The Ball
Sebastian Pruiti takes a close look at how Gordon Hayward played in his first summer league game.
Source: Jermaine O'Neal more likely to join Mavericks than Shaquille O'Neal
Eddie Sefko reports that J.O. may be headed for Dallas. Should be interesting to see the gap between the salary he signs for and the $23 million he played for last year.
Shawne Williams Hoping for Fresh Start With Bobcats
Chris Tomasson reports on Shawne Williams and finds the former Pacer still has a lotta love for Larry Bird. Please tell me my future doesn't involve Shawne apologizing to all of his former Pacer teammates in a post-championship press conference.