Friday, January 19, 2007

JO Takes the Lead

JO is getting the hang of this leadership thing. A couple of weeks ago he said what everyone was thinking -- this ain't working. He was criticized here and elsewhere for using the media for in-house complaining, but the team did win three straight games following the comments.

A huge change was made and JO is now left standing as the unquestioned leader of the team and focal point of the offense. It's tough to see friends move on to other teams, but changing the makeup of the team makes it easier for JO to assert his presence as a leader on the team. Al Harrington joined the Pacers in the offseason with plans to be an equal partner with his buddy, whereas Murphy and Dunleavy arrive knowing full well that their role is to compliment JO. The dynamic is completely different. Now is the time to build up his supporting cast with confidence to leave it all out on the court with him. These quotes after the Heat game do just that:

(On the end of the game) “Guys made big plays. Jeff Foster carried us for the last two minutes. Marquis Daniels, Danny Granger, and Jeff Foster carried us all night; especially Jeff Foster. He had three consecutive three-point-plays which is big considering they were nine to 10 points ahead. We have to feel good about the effort considering we came back against a really good Miami HEAT team.”

(On Danny Granger) “In order to be a real good team you have to have one, two, or maybe a three good [players] to excel. I think Danny Granger did a really good job preparing himself for tonight. He looked tremendous on both ends of the floor. I think he is up for the challenge. When opportunity calls you have to answer the door and I think he is doing that right now.”

JO has left it out on the court too, playing through an aggravating ankle injury. He appeared to be moving around better on Thursday nigh, so hopefully the worst is behind him.
Dunleavy for Magette rumors were rampant after the initial trade went through, forcing the parties involved to set the record straight.

"Absolutely untrue," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said Thursday.

"I talked to Indiana today for 45 minutes and there was no talk of any kind of deal," the elder Dunleavy told Los Angeles-area reporters. "He's there because they want him there."

Walsh denied the rumor and more on Chad Ford's Daily Dish podcast. Great discussion of how the trade came about and stayed a secret. Plus, the plans for the new look roster. Great stuff, give it a listen.

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