Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Pacers Prepare for the Fresh Leather

As of last night, the leather is back in the NBA. The Pacers should adapt to the change as well as any team since they'll have four off days in between using the Orange Roundie and the new, old leather ball. The Pacers play the Mavericks on Thursday who are using the ball tonight against Seattle. One thing I don't want to hear should the Pacers lose to Dallas is, "Well, it's going to take some time to readjust to the leather ball." It seems like there is always an excuse available to explain a loss. Whether it be new faces, unsettled rotations, nagging injuries, or back-to-back games, there always seems to be something to explain away poor play. Mike Wells had some player quotes after Saturday's game on the ball switch and at least for now they don't expect the switch to be an issue.

Jamaal Tinsley is not concerned with the ball used for games, instead focusing on making sure he's on the court to use whatever ball they roll out on the court.
"As long as the ball has air in it, I'll be fine. I'm not worried about a basketball. I've played with different types of basketballs all my life. I'm just worried about playing 82 games this season."
Darrell Armstrong like to use the ball to remind him where he's playing. DA starting the season shooting well from distance but has really cooled of late. He may enjoy the switch to shake up his stroke.
"It has the NBA logo on it, so that means I'm still in the NBA. No thoughts. It's a round ball no matter what. The next ball is going to be round and it's either going to go in the same way or you're going to miss the same way. I feel I can put the ball in the basket, so it don't matter."
Danny Granger has really shot the ball well the last six weeks or so. Not real enthused to see he doesn't have much confidence with the leather ball. Hopefully the extra work he intends to put in will pay off. This is exactly why the four days off should be a huge bonus.
"I shot the (microfiber ball) pretty good. I had some pretty good games with this one. I'm going to have to shoot like 1,000 shots over the next few days just to get used to the other ball again. Shooting this one was easier to shoot than the (leather ball). I shouldn't have a problem as long as I get up a lot of shots."
Unlike Granger, the Big Thirst can't wait to lap up the leather, although he seems confused on the impact of the change.
"I'm not going to miss this ball. The only bad thing is it's going to take us another three weeks or a month to adjust to it. There may not be a lot of good shooting nights from teams as they get used to the ball again. I haven't touched one of those old balls in a while. The good thing is, the (leather) ball is what we've been playing with all our lives, so it shouldn't be too big of a deal going back to it."
So which is it, Al? It's either going to take a month to get used to or it shouldn't be a big deal since the players have used the leather ball all their lives. Sounds like Al dipped into the book of generic quotes for the media, making sure to cover all his bases. As long as he's not laying a little groundwork in case they lose a couple in a row, I can live with it.

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