Monday, January 08, 2007

Waiting on the Pacers vs. Hawks

The Pacers take on the Hawks at Conseco Fieldhouse Tuesday night. Here is Bruno's preview. Frustration is the theme of the day as Jermaine Oneal's trade comments have made their way through the NBA chattering classes and Al Harrington is expressing his concerns over a lack of plays called his way. Then to top it off JO tweaked his bum ankle during practice on Monday and is questionable for Tuesday's game. Items of interest:
  • Harrington Goes Artest on Pacers - The Indy Star headline writers sent a shockwave through me with that headline. Turns out "going Artest" in this case just means being aggressive on offense and making plays when calls aren't run through you.
  • Jermaine O'Neal's comment are all over the NBA media and blogosphere. Seems there are plenty of teams, or fans of teams, that would welcome JO to their city. Mike Wells explained the comments he reported over at Pacer Insider. Explains why the story came out a day later.
  • At the Fanhouse, J.E. Skeets agrees with JO's assessment of the Pacers and offers to shave his head if the Pacers don't win 40-45 games and lose in the first round. Actually, he said shave his hair but after mentioning his ugly head I assume he didn't mean full body. Either way, what better motivation could the Pacers ask for than to win for a bald Skeets?
  • Marcel Mutoni at SLAM Online also wonders why JO is surprised by the Pacers' results so far. Makes a good point about JO's option to opt out after next year, leaving the Pacers with nothing in return.
  • Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune excoriates O'Neal's trade talk as a max contract player running from responsibility of leading a team to wins, thus proving he's not max worthy. Since he's in Chicago, Smith dips into his MJ collection for a perspective from winners past and makes a quick incision to the heart of the matter.
    I remember Michael Jordan being asked frequently early in his career about playing for a poor team. Though repeatedly frustrated by losing to Boston and Detroit, he said he wanted to be around when the Bulls got better.

    Players ask for long, generous financial commitments from teams. But don't they owe what they can provide? Not only talent and effort, but dedication? It's one big reason I'm always pushing for a trade for Kevin Garnett. He doesn't want the easy way out. That's why you want players like him.

    And why you don't want someone like Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal.
    Ouch, that hurts. Wait a minute, doesn't the truth hurt?

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