Bill Walton working with Roy Hibbert, using plenty of hyperbole

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Thumbnail image for bwalton.jpgRoy Hibbert has developed into a good center.

Decent shooter with enough of a midrange game to make you respect it. Nice rebounder. Solid enough on defense.

Bill Walton expects more of him. One of the legendary centers of the game before he became an over-the-top broadcaster, the Pacers have brought in Walton to work with Hibbert, to give him some tips and some inspiration. To push him.

Of course, with Walton comes the hyperbole, as recorded at the Pacers official site.

“He has to control the paint. It’s not his choice, it’s his responsibility, it’s his duty, it’s his obligation. He has to learn how to do that on an individual basis. He has to learn how to do that on a team basis. It’s a matter of how hard he’s willing to work not just physically but mentally, as well, and to train his mind so that in the heat of battle he can make the correct decisions that are going to allow him to become a great champion and return the Pacers to their rightful place among the hierarchy of the NBA.”

“The goal is to raise the foundation, broaden the spectrum of skill and help him learn, help him develop, help him grow and realize what it takes and what’s at stake. When you’re 57 years old, it’s easier to understand all that stuff. When you’re 23 years old and the world is swirling around you, it’s difficult. My job is to help and to always be there for Roy, for Larry (Bird) and the Indiana Pacers.”

The good news for Pacers fans is that Hibbert is staying in Indiana for a chunk of the offseason and putting in the work. He is entering his third year in the league and while he has been good there is room for great in parts of his game. You can see it.

We’ll see if Walton is the guy to get it out of him.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.