The Indiana Pacers have a lot of new parts, new things for coach Jim O’Brien to experiment with.
That has left Pacers training camp a little like the Island of Doctor Moreau, looking at the reports out of camp.
Picture Mike Dunleavy at the two spotting up on the wing while Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert run a one-five pick-and-pop. Josh McRoberts is your starting four.
Throw in a Brandon Rush (once he is back) and a Tyler Hansbrough and a Paul George and you have some interesting mixes. The Pacers have said they plan to run a lot of pick-and-rolls with Collison, but last season he shot just 36.6% as the ball handler in that situation (and 25 percent from three). Hibbert, however, is very effective as the roll (or pop) man, so maybe together they can make it work.
Where Collison really excels is in transition. If nothing is there he can pull up and there will be Hibbert trailing the play setting a drag screen (a high pick and roll early in the clock).
And all of this ignores that you really want to get the ball to Danny Granger a lot, as he is still their best player by a long shot.
The good news is they are looking at things — modify your system to fit the talents you have. The Pacers need to run, but if Hibbert is good setting the pick then do it. Dunleavy shoots 41 percent on transition three point attempts, have him run to the line while Collison probes (and throw Dunleavy some half court isolation plays, he’s pretty good at it).
The Pacers are going to be interesting this year. They have a lot of things to figure out. Some of the attempts will be misguided and ugly. But better to try and fail then not to try. Well, except on the Island of Doctor Moreau.
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.
The Wizards are getting a new practice facility.
For some reason, the Wizards have to pay just $4.46 million for it. Washington D.C. will cover the rest.
How much is the rest?
Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post:
The District”s sports and convention arm, Events DC, is proposing a series of upgrades to a planned Washington Wizards practice facility and entertainment center in Southeast that would likely reduce the total number of seats but add $10 million to the original $55 million price tag.
The new spending would be paid for by Events DC, which is funded by a percentage of hotel occupancy taxes. It does not require approval by the D.C. Council but will have to be voted on by the Events DC board Aug. 11.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis pledged to move the team’s practices there as well as home games for the Washington Mystics and a future Wizards’ NBA D-League affiliate team. His company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, agreed to pay $4.46 million — or 8 percent of the original $55 million cost.
But in a July 26 letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive of Events DC, wrote that the original $55 million budget was “based on a preliminary estimate, as development and analysis of the program and concept design had not yet been performed.”
So, the District agreed to pay for a project without knowing how much it would cost and got the primary beneficiary — Leonsis — to kick in a share based on a low early estimate? It’s almost as if politicians are inept or have ulterior motives.
At least Wizards practices and WNBA games will bring plenty of new money into the community.
As Leonsis said, “There’s never been a better time to be an owner of an NBA franchise.”