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Ian Shankster
Ian Shankster
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Micky Deming
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Frank Jenkins

Fired up for a fun NBA season! posted by Frank Jenkins

Hey gang!

I am excited as the new NBA season approaches. The preseason started last night and that means that we are less than four weeks away from the start of the season. I've got my Gamecenter online so that I can watch games with my computer. I'll spend time on this blog talking about what games I've watched and other exciting news and notes from the NBA. 

I have several teams that I love, but my top two teams are the Magic and the Pacers. I used to live in the Orlando area for several years and now live closest to the Pacers. If I get to any of the Pacer games live, then I'll also post pictures from those.

Let's get ready for a fun year. Over the next couple weeks, I'll give you my insights as to who might win the trophy in June.

Frank

Continue reading "Fired up for a fun NBA season!"


Micky Deming

The Need for Relevance posted by Micky Deming

As a Pacer fan, the obvious highlight of my season was the ESPN 30 for 30 story on Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks. I loved every second of the documentary. I thought it was put together very well, and the best part was all of the memories it brought back.

On the other hand it was bitter-sweet in some ways. The Pacers have been awful for the last few years, but I have still enjoyed the NBA and told myself, "It's OK that the Pacers aren't competitive because it is still great to watch all of these high profile teams go at it in the Playoffs." 

 But that was wrong. There is something incredible about living and dying with every point in an NBA Playoff series. And Pacer fans got to experience that excitement consistently from the mid 90's to the early 00's. Honestly, I took it for granted. And seeing those old games again, I remembered how much I hated the Knicks and how much I cared about how those games turned out. It reminded me that the Pacers used to matter. And I want that again so badly. I want our games to be meaningful; relevant. I want to sit at work all day and be thinking about what is going to happen in the game tonight.

Which brings us to the lottery. The Pacers have never been a serious contender for the top pick in the lottery. In fact, the last two years they finished 9th in the East, just out of the playoffs, and a long way from the top talent in the draft. To me, it seems silly to act like a top pick in the draft is the only way the team can get good, but a glance at the top of the league shows that you have to score big with a superstar or you will never be good.

Continue reading "The Need for Relevance"


Colin Linneweber

Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic posted by Colin Linneweber

Psychotic Los Angeles Lakers small forward Ron Artest claimed this week that he boozed a French cognac during games when he played for the Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002.

 

“I used to drink Hennessy at halftime,” Artest, 30, said in an interview with the Sporting News. “I kept it in my locker. I’d just walk to the liquor store and get it.”

 

Artest, who was born and raised in the Queensbridge projects in Queens, New York, played college basketball at St. John’s University and he was selected by the Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.

 

“When I was a 19-year-old father, whew. I was a single pimp! I was wild,” said the unbalanced hoopster who infamously once attended a practice with the Indiana Pacers donning only a bath robe. “A lot of marijuana and alcohol. I still party and have fun, but not like I used to. I used to drink every night and party every night.”

 

Artest, the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, also revealed to the famed athletic periodical that he doesn’t regret as a Pacer inciting the violent brawl in Detroit that halted a contest against the Pistons.

 

The vicious melee “wasn’t my fault…I don’t see anything I could have done differently.”

 

Artest is simply crazier than a shithouse rat.

 

The ghetto ballplayer from Gotham needlessly mugged Pistons center Ben Wallace in the waning minutes of a Pacers blowout victory in November 2004.

Continue reading "Ron Artest is an alcoholic lunatic"


Andy Charles

Jackson just can’t get his way posted by Andy Charles

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Jackson just can’t seemingly learn how to behave – it doesn’t matter where he plays or what he does, he’s always in the headlines for the wrong reasons either on or off the court.

After a relatively quiet start to his career in San Antonio and Atlanta, ever since he arrived with the dysfunctional Indiana Pacers at the start of the 2004-5 season it has been a long downhill run for the swingman.

Within a couple of months of his Pacer debut, he was handed a 30-game ban for his role in the Palace of Auburn Hills brawl and the season after he was charged with criminal recklessness for firing his gun during an altercation outside a strip club in Indianapolis.

Although things were better for him after a trade to Golden State in early 2007, he was ejected twice during their NBA playoff series win over Dallas, but he did go on to become an important cog in Don Nelson’s team until his demand for a trade this summer.

His latest indiscretion came last week when he had a very public falling out with coach Nelson on the bench at an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Lakers and was suspended for two further games, albeit pre-season warm-ups.

Sadly for the Warriors, Jackson is their best option at the swing position and they are keen to get him back on court, but is a disgruntled player going to be much help to their younger stars in the making, players who have a big future in front of them like Stephen Curry, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow.

But they cannot afford to buy Jackson out given that his contract calls for him to be paid $7.6m this season before an extension kicks in at the start of next season that will earn him $27.8m more over three years.

Continue reading "Jackson just can’t get his way"


Ian Shankster

NBA Playoff Predictions posted by Ian Shankster

At this point in the summer I am going to break down who I think is going to land in the playoffs after the nine.ten. This is based on what has happened so far around the league.

Western Conference Playoffs:

1. Los Angeles Lakers

2. San Antonio Spurs

3. Portland Trailblazers

4. Dallas Mavericks

5. Denver Nuggets

6. Utah Jazz

7. Phoenix Suns

8. New Orleans Hornets 

Easter Conference Playoffs:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Boston Celtics

3. Miami Heat

4. Orlando Magic

5. Chicago Bulls

6. Atlanta Hawks

7. Toronto Raptors

8. Indiana Pacers 

The turnover from last year is small with the Suns replacing the Rockets in the Western Conference and the Raptors and Pacers replacing the Sixers and Pistons in the Eastern Conference. There is however, some movement in the standings, except at the top. 

Continue reading "NBA Playoff Predictions"


Ian Shankster

The Indiana Pacers and the nine.ten posted by Ian Shankster

As writer and editor of this blog I am going to be referring to the upcoming season as "the nine.ten" for obvious reasons. The Pacers appear to be ready to make another pretty good step towards respectability and perhaps the even the playoffs. With the waiving of Jamal Tinsley it seems they are finally putting the past behind them and with a few notable additions it seems that a leaf which was partially overturned last year is fully flipped for the nine.ten.

The Pacers have guys getting healthy, guys getting older and better and some completely new guys. I like what hustle players, Tyler Hansbrough and Dahntay Jones bring to the team. It seems that our defensive intensity will definitely be taken up a notch. When teams bring in someone like Jones who takes his defense very seriously it almost always rubs off in a positive way on teammates. This is absolutely necessary for the nine.ten if you look at last year and see how many times we scored well over 100 points but still lost games. Any improvement in defense is a good thing for a team like the Pacers. I am also excited to see how Danny Granger responds to being an all-star last year. Is he going to be a one-year wonder resting on his accomplishments of the past or is he going to work harder and try to get back and be a perennial all-star? 

A few other questions I hope to see answered.

How effective can Hansbrough be as a rookie?

Will a point guard emerge as a team leader and the future of the Pacers?

How is Mike Dunleavy going to come out and play and how many times will he score 36 points in a game?

Continue reading "The Indiana Pacers and the nine.ten"


john howard

Thunder release Watson signs with Pacers posted by john howard

Earl Watson has been released by the Thunder.  He began last year as the starting point guard.  Then, became the backup to Russell Westbrook.  Towards the end of the season, Oklahoma City picked up Shaun Livingston.  He has battled injuries in his short career.  The trade for Chucky Atkins also gives the Thunder an experienced backup.  Watson earned 2 wins using the Howard Sports win system.  I is going to sign with Indiana, but must wait 7 days.Continue reading "Thunder release Watson signs with Pacers"


Chris Strickland

Top 10 Reasons Kobe and Artest will work out posted by Chris Strickland

10) They were spotted in Kobe's escalade at an 'N and Out drive-through. And yes, they both got "animal style."

9) When on road trips in Denver, Kobe's got Artest covered for booty calls.

8) Kobe's beer preference is bottles - meaning, he'll never pour anything in a plastic cup.

7) Kobe & LeBron's Nike "puppet campaign" is being replaced by "Kobe and Ron," a new puppet ad-series. However, Nike's yielding to "Crank Yankers" for the directing of this one.

6) Like Kobe, Artest is practically another Dobermamba on defense. Only difference is, Artest may bite.

5) As a peace offering, Artest bought fellow teammate and candy-lover, Lamar Odom, a year's supply of Cookies 'n Cream.

4) Finally, Kobe has a legit MC to battle Shaq with.

3) Ron Artest also prefers Aston-Martin jumping...jump-starting them, that is.

2) Forget a "safe word," Kobe's got a "safe sentence." All he has to say is "I helped bury Michael Jackson," and Artest will back off.

1) When it comes to crazy people, Bryant's got experience. Kobe's dealt with Jack Nicholson for years.

Continue reading "Top 10 Reasons Kobe and Artest will work out"


Christopher Arroyo

National Champs send four in NBA Draft posted by Christopher Arroyo

The people who saw the 2009 NBA Draft on Thursday were in for a special treat when they saw Blake Griffin go No. 1.

 

Very predictable however.

 

Then, Hasheem Thabeet went No. 2, which was also predictable. Then things got a bit interesting.

 

The early shocker was Stephen Curry going number seven to the Golden State Warriors. But what was really neat was that all of the North Carolina players that declared were drafted.

 

The first Tar Heel chosen was Tyler Hansbrough, who went at number 13 to the Indiana Pacers. This was a good pick, for the Pacers and here is why. Indiana is not known to carry much toughness, especially in the frontcourt.

 

If you had the treat to see this guy in college then you would know that he’s the real deal for toughness. I think he will start the season on the bench, but he will emerge into that starting position around December.

 

The second Tar Heel chosen was Ty Lawson, who was picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Now I know many of you were wondering why Minnesota picked four guards in the first round, which three were point guards. But, rest assured, they ended up trading Lawson to the Denver Nuggets for a future first round pick.

 

This is the BEST team for Lawson. You’re putting one of the top, and under-appreciated, point guards in the draft on a team that is surrounded with rising talent. He is also going to appreciate being an apprentice to Denver’s Chauncey Billups.

 

Probably the most respected guard in the league and known for his patience and leadership on and off the court. Sadly, he will be a bench player for a few years but, learning under Billups will definitely make him one of the top point guards in the league. This was really the best move of the draft Denver should be strong under the point guard position for at least the next 10 years if all goes well.

Continue reading "National Champs send four in NBA Draft"


Chase Hughes

posted by Chase Hughes

Thursday, June the 25th has officially passed as the Washington Wizards remain in a state that few could have foreseen a week ago. After months of speculation and a calamitous draft lottery, Wizards fans can relax and look at back at what has happened. No Blake Griffin, no Ricky Rubio, no 5th overall pick, no 2nd round pick. It was fun but you kind of wish Ernie Grunfeld could have let us know that all of our mock drafts and trade scenarios would be obsolete. What’s left of the Wizards roster seems to be an incomplete project… still.
You have to think that the Wizards’ brass has something else up their sleeve, another maneuver that will balance the Wizards and give its fans the expectations of a great season. I still think that the team is improved but there seem to still linger significant holes. One large void to fill down low still remains and it is perplexing why the Wizards didn’t plug it with the “largest” plug in the draft. I am talking of course about Dejaun Blair. My friend and I were contemplating the possibility of the big man from Pitt slipping to the second round. It seemed impossible and then it happened. He was sitting there, all 270 pounds of him, just waiting for the Wizards to pick him and enable him to thrive in a reserved role on a playoff team. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones. The Washington Post covered the draft later in the night, with Michael Lee acknowledging the experts were in on it to:



“When Pitt forward DeJuan Blair was still on the board after the first round, some of us reporters were fascinated by the possibility of the Wizards adding a rugged but undersized offensive rebounding machine. I still cannot believe that dude slipped all the way to San Antonio at No. 37 after he manhandled Thabeet in Big East play.”


Continue reading ""

Indiana Pacers News

View All Indiana Pacers News


Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knows best to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knowsbest to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knows best to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knows best to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Desperate to turn his career around, Roy Hibbert is working out with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Ball D

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot to national prominence some fifty years ago as a standout center at Power Memorial high school, before moving on to be a championship-earning legend at UCLA, with the Milwaukee Bucks, and most famously with the Los Angeles Lakers. He still stands as the NBA’s leading scorer, but he also retired nearly a quarter-century ago, and no NBA team has seen fit to sit him on the sidelines as an assistant coach for more than a year at a time. With the game moving farther and farther away from the pivot, valuing perimeter play and shots directly at the goal as opposed to low post play, it might be debatable as to what role Kareem could play in teaching what he knows best to a current player that needs it the most. Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, however, truly needs it the most. He is the last of the NBA’s true giants, an old school center that mixes fits of domination with instances of acting as the worst player on the court, a man out of time in a league that has already dashed past half-court. This is why Hibbert is studying with Abdul-Jabbar this summer, in a last chance diner’s attempt at serving up some semblance of an offensive game befitting of Hibbert’s 7-4 frame and (seriously) soft hands. Kareem shared as much on Tuesday:   @Hoya2aPacer great dinner tonight w/you & #LarryBird . Looking forward to kicking it up a notch at practice tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/xMfm3n3Xb6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) July 23, 2014 Hibbert’s regular season production declined for a second straight season, and for the second year in a row, the issues were centered on confidence issues (though Hibbert did work through a bad wrist to start 2012-13). The difference between those two dwindling seasons is that Roy’s game perked up to a ferocious degree in the playoffs during Indiana’s near-Finals run in 2013, but in 2014 a frustrated Hibbert paired the occasional standout performance with embarrassing displays on both ends. Roy Hibbert has a throwback game, and for two summers prior to this one he’s worked with the NBA’s principle throwback avatar , one Tim Duncan, to refine his all-around game. Duncan’s spindly 6-11 frame may have lost a step, but unlike Hibbert he can still pivot his way around defenders and keep up with smaller opponents bent on throwing him off his offensive game. The Pacers center has had no such luck at this, and this failing was more than apparent against Miami during last season’s playoffs, when Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh and even Chris Andersen routinely beat Hibbert to his spot. It’s true that entry passing was an embarrassing problem for the Pacers in the postseason, but even when Hibbert got the ball offensively the quicker defender would be able to anticipate and beat him to wherever his shoulder wanted to go, resulting in ugly, awkward (though sometimes effective) three-quarter hook shots sometimes tossed across Hibbert’s own body. With the more orthodox jump hook option taken away, possibly for good at this point in his career, it’s time for Hibbert to develop more moves at age 27. It’s not a given that Hibbert will attempt to approximate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s famed sky hook, but if anyone were to give it a consistent try, it should be Roy Hibbert. All players would do well to learn the move – could you imagine someone like Anthony Davis busting a sky hook out next season? – but Hibbert would seem to need it the most. Other smaller and quicker centers have options to fall back on. As the rest of the league gets smaller and quicker, Hibbert has no such plan in reserve. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s work with Michael Olowokandi at the outset of the former top overall pick’s career was met with notorious indifference . It’s worth noting that, following his stint as a big men coach with the Lakers (KAJ was not on the staff or on the bench, but attended most games and practices), Andrew Bynum’s career has fallen off significantly in the years following his impressive stint while under Abdul-Jabbar’s tutelage. Now, we have no way of knowing if injuries and/or ennui were the primary factors behind Bynum’s career going sour, and it’s quite possible Bynum would have been fantastic as it was even without Kareem around, but we should remember that with Abdul-Jabbar in house, Bynum’s low post game flourished. It’s also important to remember that we’re just about seven months removed from Roy Hibbert acting as far and away the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, with his sterling first half work for a Pacer team that was running with the best record in the NBA at the time. Hibbert would go on to lose that award, as the Pacers’ season got away from them , but this man is also just 27 and about to enter his prime. He has two years and over $30 million left on his contract, and Indiana is either shaking off trade offers, or not receiving any. If the former is the case, it’s a smart move. Indiana was always going to be terrible offensively in 2014-15, even if Lance Stephenson had stuck around. The key for this roster is to regaining that stout form on defense, and this means being able to keep Roy Hibbert on the floor for long stretches of time. If Hibbert can even get back to basic low post competency in 2014-15, while possibly adding a few Kareem-guided wrinkles along the way, this will act as a massive boon to Indiana on both sides of the ball. The Heat lost LeBron. The Cavs look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll mesh right away, and nobody knows what Minnesota general manager Flip Saunders is thinking in regards to Kevin Love. Chicago also looks great on paper, but health and rust are huge concerns. Washington and Atlanta still seem a step below. Brooklyn’s bones are made of dust. The East is still there for the taking, even if the Pacers look terribly uncomfortable offensively next season. If Hibbert can right his situation, whether Kareem is the impetus or not, Indiana would rightfully return to contending status in 2014-15. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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