Pacers and Raptors … moving forward from here

There’s an interesting interview with Larry Bird on NBA.com today which gives his interpretation of the Pacers’ situation looking forward to this season and their future in the next few years ahead.

———————————–

NBA.com: What do you see as the No. 1 area of improvement for the Pacers this season?
Larry Bird: Obviously we have to get better on the defensive end. Last year we committed too many fouls and we didn’t defend the three-point shot. So overall our defense has to get better to win games. Offensively, we’ll score a lot of points. Defense was the problem last year. As far as the team goes, I think we did something in the draft to help us overall, and I think we solidified our point guard position with
Travis [Diener],T.J., and Jarrett Jack so we’re very strong in that area right now.

NBA.com: How big of an impact will rookie Roy Hibbert have on the defensive end in the role of shot blocker, overall defensive presence?
Larry Bird: It’s always good to have a big guy in there. Without Jermaine last year we didn’t have that potential to block shots. With Roy in there he takes up a lot of space and even if we don’t block a lot of shots, you can get guys to shoot up over him and maybe distract them a little bit. I think it’s going to be a major plus for us. Obviously he’s a rookie and he’s got a lot of learning to do, but in the long run he’ll be fine.

NBA.com: Who is the team leader?
Larry Bird: I think it can be a couple guys. We’ve had some players around here just waiting for the opportunity to step in and I think now they’ll look at the training camp and go through and you’ll sort of see after a while who the players gravitate to.

———————————–

What’s of most interest to this corner is:

(1) The possible location of two former Raptors on Indiana’s current depth chart, i.e. TJ Ford and Rasho Nesterovic; and,

(2) The overall level of optimism Larry Legend has for the likes of Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert, et al., as a core group of players which the Pacers can build around over the next few seasons …

specifically, in comparison with the current roster of the Pacers’ trading partner in the deal they made this summer for Jermaine O’Neal.

———————————–

2008-2009

 

 

A) Raptors’ Current Roster

B) Pacers’ Current Roster

 

 

1 PG – Jose Calderon *

1 PG – Travis Diener *

2 OG – Anthony Parker

2 OG/SF – Mike Dunleavy 

3 SF – Jamarion Moon

3 SF – Danny Granger 

4 PF – Chris Bosh *

4 PF – Troy Murphy *

5 C – Jermaine O’Neal **

5 C – Rasho Nesterovic **

 

 

6 PG – Will Solomon **

6 PG – TJ Ford **

7 OG – Jason Kapono

7 OG – Brandon Rush **

8 SF – Joey Graham

8 SF – Marquis Daniels

9 PF – Kris Humphries

9 PF – Austin Croshere **

10 C – Andrea Bargnani

10 C – Jeff Foster 

 

 

11 PG/OG – Roko Ukic **

11 PG/OG – Jarrett Jack **

12 OG/SF – Hassan Adams **

12 PG – Roy Hibbert **

 

 

 

 

13 PF/C – Nathan Jawai **

13 SF – Stephen Graham

14 ? PF – Jamal Sampson **

14 SF/PF – Shawne Williams 

15 ?

15 PF – Josh McRoberts **


LEGEND:
* New Role this season; ** New Player Added

While most of the ‘2008-2009 NBA Season Forecasts’ these eyes have read, thus far, see the Pacers finishing toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference; and, the Raptors with a solid chance to finish in the top third of the EC … looking strictly at the rosters of these two teams, paints a very different picture in the mind of this NBA connoisseur.

Is it possible that the Raptors manage to navigate the entire NBA season without a significant injury to one [or more] of their key players [i.e. Bosh, O’Neal or Calderon]?

Yes it is.

If so … then, it is certainly possible to see how the Raptors might finish this campaign higher in the EC standings than the Pacers.

However, on the flip side … even if Toronto goes injury-free this year …

Is it also possible to see how this Pacers’ roster … with the Quality Depth it has … might, in fact, be able to generate just as many W’s this season as the Toronto Raptors?

Yes it is … if Larry legend is correct and the players he’s mentioned are indeed capable of stepping up their games to assume Leadership Roles with their team this season.

———————————–

From the perspective of this corner, these are just two of many teams in the EC that could realistically finish anywhere from #6-14 this season should the breaks go their way or not.

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25 Responses to “Pacers and Raptors … moving forward from here”

  1. Dan H Says:

    You would have an extremely valid point – IF you didn’t have TJ coming off the bench.

    I could definitely see them making the playoffs, though I don’t know about getting as many wins as the Raptors (especially with your injury-free assumption). <– That’s key.

    They have no top-tier talent (as I would describe Bosh as, if at the lower end of said top tier), and their top players (Granger, Dunleavy) might be seen as equivalent to JO and JC.

    I would place Diener and Rasho on the same level as Moon and AP respectively.

    So: Only real discrepancy in starting lineup is Bosh vs Murphy – quite a discrepancy in my opinion.

    Primary backups 6-8: Bargnani has the potential to be much better or somewhat worse than Foster, so I guess we could say that’s a write off.

    Kapono vs Daniels/Rush: I think Kap will be very effective this year. As such, I personally (that’s important) would give the edge to him. Rush being unknown as a rookie and Daniels having middling shooting percentages.

    Finally: TJ versus Solomon/Ukic – Based on my personal observations of TJ playing as a BACKUP, I think I am being kind to the Pacers when calling this a draw – virtual unknowns versus potentially destructive/implosive.

    Question: why did you list TJ as a backup? Is this based on commentary from the Pacers? Or is this the order YOU would put the lineup? I would say that for your quality depth argument, playing TJ as starter and Diener as a quality backup would be FAR more beneficial than Diener starting and TJ as a backup (not necessarily of the quality variety).

  2. khandor Says:

    Dan H,

    re: TJ listed as a back-up for the Pacers

    Did you read the link to Larry Bird’s interview?

    Bird mentioned three PG’s for the Pacers, this season, in that specific order.

    That’s one of the reasons I listed them as such on the roster sheet I put together above.

    ============================

    In addition, as I’ve said countless times before … the best 5-Man Units for a team are not necessarily comprised of its 5 most talented players, based on their individual abilities.

    ============================

    TJ Ford’s best position, in the NBA, is the back-up PG-spot … even though he was destructive in that role last year for the Toronto Raptors.

  3. Dan H Says:

    I agree that TJ’s game is best suited as a fast pace-changer to come off the bench, my last point there was simply that if they attempt to use him that way, I seriously doubt the results will be a positive climb up the standings.

  4. MDZ Says:

    Everything from the Pacers indicates that Travis Diener will be behind TJ Ford and Jack on the depth chart, I don’t think Bird was doing anything other than listing his point guards. He may have said Diener first because he was on the team last year. Jim O’Brien has said multiple times that it’s an open competition for PG in training camp. IndyCornrows has been reporting that Marquis Daniels will be the 3rd PG until Diener gets back from his injury. Therefore, TJ might be the backup PG, but it would only be because Jarret Jack beat him out. I agree with you that TJ Ford’s best position may be backup PG because he can provide instant offense, but any team that can legitimately have him as a backup is in pretty good shape.

  5. khandor Says:

    Dan H & MDZ,

    If given my preference, I would choose to go with … Jarrett Jack, as the starting PG for the Pacers and bring Ford in off the bench … BUT give TJ the green light to go full throttle whenever he’s on the court, as an offensive player.

    The fact is, I don’t think either of these two teams, as currently configured, has ‘the stuff’ of top dogs in the EC, any time soon … regardless of who the starters are for the Pacers … even though both groups have intriguing pieces to the puzzle on their respective rosters.

    [Note 1: What is particularly disappointing however is just how close the Raptors could have been today with the parts they’ve had in the fold at different times since the 1999-2000 season.]

  6. colin. Says:

    Khandor.

    I love the blog and read every time you write something, but I have to disagree with you.
    The only really link to make between the Raptors and the Pacers is that they both have a Graham twin on the payroll.

    But in all seriousness, the Pacers lack an all-star caliber PG such as Jose Calderon, and yes he should be an all-star this season, with any increase in production at all. They also lack a 3-time all-star, such as Chris Bosh.

    The fact of the matter is that even though their supporting players may be comparable, the Raptors ‘stars’ if you will, far outshine (no pun intended) any of the big name players for Indiana. Sure Dunleavy and Granger have nice numbers, and I would say that I think they are above average NBA players. The benches for both teams are a mix of inconsistent but sometimes promising players, but having said that I would take Humphries over Foster any day. Foster is useless save for his freakish athletic ability which gets him lots of boards, but he is a liability otherwise. The rest are a wash, in my opinion, unless Austin Croshere can re-capture the magic that netted him that monster contract after the 2000 finals or unless Bargnani can show the fruits of his reported work this offseason.

    But the fact remains that Toronto is a much stronger team top to bottom thanks to their all-star caliber players, which Indiana clearly lacks.

    Thanks for keeping the blog up!

  7. Rob Says:

    Do you really take yourself seriously as a basketball blogger?

    1) Just because these teams made a trade that worked for both of them by no means makes them comparable teams all of a sudden.

    2) The chance of the Raptors finishing 14: 0%. The chance of the Pacers finishing 14th: 30-40%.

    3) How can you ever compare 2 proven All-Star Big Men to a productive SF and another one who had his first good season because he got PT on a bad team.

    4) The reason the Raps didn’t do better than they should’ve last year was mainly because there’s no PG in the league that stalls an offense worse than TJ Ford. When Calderon would come in (yes the same guy that had a 58:1 Ass:TO in April as a starter last year – true fact – look it up) he would just dominate the opposition.

    5) The only discrepancy you see is Bosh-Murphy? Not Rasho-JO or Calderon-TRAVIS FREAKING DIENER? Oh why? Because they’re both white that means they’re equal in skill level? Give me a break. Calderon is a lock for an all-star the next five years while this will be the last year for Diener before making his long-awaited debut in the NBDL. Don’t get me started on the comparison of benches when one team has 2 soft rookies and AUSTIN CROSHERE as part of its second unit. That’s depth if I’ve ever seen it.

    6) Why is there a star next to Bosh’s name to denote a new role for him? If by new role do you mean going from an All-Star to a Top-5 player in the league and leading his team to 55 wins? Otherwise I have no clue what new role you think he’s taking on.

    7) I can’t believe I dignified this post with a comment, never mind reading it in the first place. It’s the most ludicrous comparison of teams on paper that I could actually write another 5,000 words breaking down how insane all the comparisons are. Go find another job, I’ll never read any of your posts ever again.

  8. Gerrit Says:

    I’m shocked that someone who runs a basketball site thinks that Travis Diener is the favorite to start because the GM offhandedly mentioned his name before TJ & JJ. I mean, he is coming off a career season of 7 points, 4 assists on 37% shooting and all…

  9. Eric Michaels Says:

    If your serious your retarded….TJ FORD IS A GARBAGE POINT GAURD….hes selfish and makes the most retarded plays….so enjoy having him…”The reason the Raps didn’t do better than they should’ve last year was mainly because there’s no PG in the league that stalls an offense worse than TJ Ford.” – Its true in the playoffs game one we were down by 20 in the first quater because he cant make plays/ and refuses to pass because HES THE MAN
    2nd pacers and raptors dont compare
    RAPTORS HAVE TALENT and now toughness in JO
    Indiana will be lucky to have made the 8th spot for the playoffs…honestly youll see at the end of the season when the Pacers have a 34-48 records and the raptors have a 56-26 record…
    Have a nice season, you optimistic fool

  10. datguy Says:

    i completely agree with Gerrit.

  11. khandor Says:

    colin,

    First.

    Thanks for your comment and for your encouraging sentiments!

    As someone who has actually taken the time to read what I’ve written on-line, it’s encouraging to know that YOU feel comfortable disagreeing with me, in a civil manner, like the other highly intelligent individuals … e.g. Flux, Dave, Raps Fan, Arsenalist, With Malice [Don], Sam, etc. … with whom I do not always see eye-to-eye but who have always kept an open mind toward new ideas and unconventional thinking and expressed themselves in a way which has earned nothing but my R.E.S.P.E.C.T., above all else. 🙂

    ===============================

    Second.

    I agree with your perception that the Raptors would appear to have the individual advantage at those three spots you mentioned, i.e. Starting PG; and both Starting Big spots, given the past status of O’Neal & Bosh and the present look of Calderon heading into this campaign.

    That said … this alone doesn’t mean that the advantage gained from these three spots, in isolation, is significantly better/greater than the appraisal of the Pacers’ starting 5, as a group, measured against the Raptors 1st Unit, or their team as a whole.

    [* Please recall that I would start Jack at the Point if I was running the Pacers.]

    Matching up the starters … on a hypothetical ratings scale from 1-10 [with 10 being highest] …

    Diener [4], Dunleavy [7], Granger [7], Murphy [5] & Nesterovic [6] = 29

    vs

    Calderon [7], Parker [5], Moon [6], Bosh [8] & O’Neal [7] = 33

    and matching-up the 2nd units …

    Solomon [4], Kapono [5], Graham [4], Humphries [6] & Bargnani [5] = 24

    vs

    Ford [7], Rush [6], Daniels [5], Croshere [6] & Foster [6] = 30

    and matching-up the reserves …

    Ukic [4], Sampson [3] & Jawai [3] = 10

    vs

    Jack [6], Graham [4], Williams [5], McRoberts [4] & Hibbert [5] = 24

    produces comparative team ratings which indicate that the Pacers might well be able to hang with the Raptors this season … in a similar way to the manner in which the previous two Raptors’ teams have been able to hang with the other 2nd tier outfits in the League, based on the depth of their overall roster and how those specific players fit into the system being run by their team [rather than the relative quality of their best three players].

    ===============================

    Keep in mind that I am NOT saying that the Pacers are better than the Raptors … only that the perceived separation between these two teams in the EC, right now, might well be exaggerated substantially when you actually take a closer look at their full rosters heading into this season.

  12. khandor Says:

    Rob,

    First.

    Thanks for taking the time to submit your comment. 🙂

    ===============================

    Second.

    Do you really take yourself seriously as a basketball blogger?

    Yes, I do.

    1) Just because these teams made a trade that worked for both of them by no means makes them comparable teams all of a sudden.

    (i) IMO, the trade definitely works for the Pacers … but the jury is still very much out on whether or not it works well long term for the Raptors.

    (ii) The Raptors finished 6th in the EC last season; while the Pacers finished in 9th position. That’s only 3 spots apart … and the Pacers played a huge chunk of their season without the services of their Starting Center. IMO, comparing the relative merits of these two teams is very easy to do and quite reasonable.

    2) The chance of the Raptors finishing 14: 0%. The chance of the Pacers finishing 14th: 30-40%.

    As I said, these two teams finished 6th & 9th last year in the EC … which was only 3 places apart. Did you realize that?

    3) How can you ever compare 2 proven All-Star Big Men to a productive SF and another one who had his first good season because he got PT on a bad team.

    Which is precisely why … if you consider that the Pacers actually finished last season in 9th position in the EC, on the backs of two players who have just begun to scratch the surface of their true abilities as Young Guns in the NBA … you might want to re-consider just how good Indiana is going to be this season now that they’ve added players like Ford, Nesterovic, Rush, Croshere & Hibbert to their team, after playing last season mostly WITHOUT Jermaine O’Neal.

    4) The reason the Raps didn’t do better than they should’ve last year was mainly because there’s no PG in the league that stalls an offense worse than TJ Ford. When Calderon would come in (yes the same guy that had a 58:1 Ass:TO in April as a starter last year – true fact – look it up) he would just dominate the opposition.

    Based on what you’ve written here … it’s clear to me that you have not yet taken the time to read anything I’ve written on my blog or elsewhere on-line, re: my impressions of TJ Ford, as a PG in the NBA, in comparison with Jose Calderon … because if you had, you’d already know that I agree completely with what you wrote in your point #4 … and I said it first in December 2005. 😉

    5) The only discrepancy you see is Bosh-Murphy? Not Rasho-JO or Calderon-TRAVIS FREAKING DIENER? Oh why? Because they’re both white that means they’re equal in skill level? Give me a break. Calderon is a lock for an all-star the next five years while this will be the last year for Diener before making his long-awaited debut in the NBDL. Don’t get me started on the comparison of benches when one team has 2 soft rookies and AUSTIN CROSHERE as part of its second unit. That’s depth if I’ve ever seen it.

    As I said before … methinks that you haven’t yet taken the time to read anything else I’ve written on my blog or elsewhere on-line … cause if you had, you’d never make that accusation towards me. 😉

    6) Why is there a star next to Bosh’s name to denote a new role for him? If by new role do you mean going from an All-Star to a Top-5 player in the league and leading his team to 55 wins? Otherwise I have no clue what new role you think he’s taking on.

    When he’s played his best as a Toronto Raptor, to this point in his career, Chris Bosh has done so as the CENTER on this team, not as the Starting Power Forward … contrary to popular belief. However, with Jermaine O’Neal now in the mix, it seems as though Chris will no longer have the luxury of matching-up most frequently against the opposition’s Center, on a nightly basis.

    If this is the case this season … this will be a new role for Chris Bosh with this team.

    7) I can’t believe I dignified this post with a comment, never mind reading it in the first place. It’s the most ludicrous comparison of teams on paper that I could actually write another 5,000 words breaking down how insane all the comparisons are. Go find another job, I’ll never read any of your posts ever again.

    If you choose to visit here again, in the future, with a better disposition … your presence and contribution will be appreciated. If not … so be it; both you and the other regular readers of this blog will be better off for it.

    The choice is yours. 😉

  13. khandor Says:

    Gerritt,

    Thanks for your comment.

    ===============================

    There are many different reasons a team decides to start a certain player at a certain spot, in the NBA.

    ===============================

    As I said before … one of the reasons I listed the roster the way I did was because of how Larry listed them in his interview with NBA.com.

    Now … let me throw another twist at you, so that you can see a glimpse of how the mind works in this corner of the blogosphere, okay?

    If the Pacers MIGHT actually be perceived to have a competitive line-up with the Raptors … while using their players in a combination which doesn’t even have their BEST bullets loaded in the correct chambers of their weapon … then, what MIGHT that say about the manner in which they WOULD actually stack up against Toronto … IF I decided to list their team in the actual manner I would choose to use them, if a top notch coach/GM was running their team?

    Hopefully you can follow the logical thought in that explanation. 😉

    ===============================

    Further Food For Thought, just for fun …

    Any idea what Avery Johnson’s individual stat averages are for his career, in comparison with a mediocre PG like Travis Diener?

    If not … then, maybe, you should look them up. 🙂

  14. khandor Says:

    Eric Michaels,

    Thanks for your comment.

    ===============================

    As I said before to Rob … it just doesn’t seem as though you’ve taken the time to read what I’ve actually written on this blog and elsewhere on-line, re: TJ Ford.

    If you had, you’d never make a comment like THAT directed towards me. 😉

    I would simply encourage you to browse around my blog a little bit further before you go off half-cocked and place me in the TJ Ford-lover’s camp.

    ==========================

    Hey, Flux … if you’re reading this …

    Who’d a thunk it?

    There are actually some active participants in the blogosphere who THINK I might be a TJ Ford booster.

    LOL 🙂

  15. khandor Says:

    datguy,

    Thanks for your comment.

    ===============================

    See my reply to Gerritt. 🙂

  16. Dave Says:

    I’m looking forward to watching this Indiana team playing. They should be somewhere around .500 this season, otherwise they’ve underperformed. I have too many doubts about their defensive ability to believe they’ll get further ahead than that. They’ve got a lot to prove on that side of the floor. They only way I see them catching the Raps is if injury problems hit, then it is possible.

    Indiana have one heck of a bench there – Jack, Daniels, Rush, Foster, Hibbert … and others left in reserve like Williams, Croshere, Diener – very good depth from the Pacers.

    I’m intrigued at how Obie uses his perimeter players. Jack and TJ will man the point and that’ll be easy enough because TJ doesn’t play huge minutes, good opening there for Jack to get his minutes. But on the wings with Dunleavy and Granger, then Rush and Daniels? Fitting all those guys in is going to be rough. At least one of Daniels/Rush is going to get underused, possibily both if Obie tries to fit them all in.

    They shouldn’t have any problems up front because Rasho shouldn’t play big minutes. That’s a serviceable four man rotation – Murphy, Rasho, Foster, Hibbert. Lot of size and rebounding there. I’m interested to see how well they compensate for the absence of Jermaine O Neal though, because last season Indy were rotten defensively without JO.

    I’m worried about their future though. Aiming for mediocrity with little idea where improvement is coming from is a dangerous play.

  17. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    In general, I’m looking forward to watching a whole swack of improving teams in the EC this season.

    IMO, the overall quality of play is going to be considerably higher across the board in this half of the NBA.

  18. fluxland Says:

    Khandor,

    LOL.. that made me laugh out loud. Like the rest of his (Rob) response. Can’t believe he accused you of being, what Scott C. refers to as, a TJ “nuthugger”.

    You know, I completely agree with Indiana (maybe) being better off. I may not be able to present the (potential) case nowhere nearly as well as you, but when that trade went down I had visions of them finishing better then us. I, like Dave, will be keeping a close eye on that team.

    I amazes me how people fail to realize that every year there are teams that are expected to do well and fail, while there are teams that are expected to perform miserably and do well. The Raptors and Pacers, IMO, fall into these categories very well.

    Also, kudos to you for keeping your cool when random visitors come on with guns blazing in all directions and throw down ridiculous accusations. Sometimes, I read comments on other blogs, and I can’t help but fire back when fired upon. Guess that makes you Jose and me TJ? 🙂

  19. khandor Says:

    Flux,

    Continued R.E.S.P.E.C.T., to you, Sir.

    ——————————————————-

    re: Guess that makes you Jose and me TJ?

    Different Strokes for Different Folks, as you know well, already.

    Never a justifiable reason, in my book, two opposite sides of the same coin should fail to see the benefits of ‘riding together’ … ala ‘Ruth & Gehrig’, ‘Csonka & Kiick’, ‘MJ & Pip’, ‘Butch & Sundance’, etc., etc., etc. …

    ——————————————————–

    re: one Scott C.

    If you check out his blog entry for Sep 22 2008 [I believe that’s the correct date] … you will see an entry there relating to a long ago comparison drawn by a one-time contributor to his site who paralleled Jose Calderon and a youngish Steve Nash, well before anyone in his ‘right mind’ was prepared to do THAT in a public forum for fear of being ridiculed.

    If you read the comments section for that specific entry you will also see that Scott C. makes certain unfounded accusations there towards me, i.e. calling me a liar.

    Well … you know what?

    I have responded to Scott C. in a series of private emails [some of which he has responded to and others which he has not, to this point] and with additional comments in that section on his site … some of which he has chosen to publish, others of which he has chosen NOT to publish for his own reasons.

    In the end, it’s his blog and he is free to do with it exactly as he sees fit.

    IMO … there are different ways to run a blog with class, and there are different ways to, in fact, fail to accomplish this fundamental task.

    Individuals like you, Sir, enable me to publish material here which I hope fits into the first of those two categories.

    Kudos to those others in the blogosphere … like Dave, Don, Scott P., Sam, Arsenalist, Karlo, etc. … who do likewise with their own sites.

    It’s an absolute pleasure to work with individuals of this calibre.

    ——————————————————–

    Speaking of guns ablazing in all directions …

    Are you familiar with this cinematic masterpiece? …

    which contains two of the greatest lines in American film history.

    1. “When you side with a man, you stay with him, and if you can’t do that … you’re like some animal … you’re finished.” – Pike Bishop [William Holden]

    2. “What matters is WHO you gave your word to!” – Dutch Engstrom [Ernest Borgnine]

    I’m guessing that you might be … or, at least, that you will be shortly. 🙂

  20. fluxland Says:

    Khandor,

    Ditto, Sir.

    I “stumbled” upon Scott’s blog via BDL during the blog ranking post. Decided to poke around and I did run into the exchange you are referring to. Appalling to say the least. Further investigation confirmed the suspicion that this was not a blog I would chose to frequent. Jay Z words come to mind – “You can pay for school but you can’t buy class”

    I am also under the impression he has or can obtain a media pass, but indicated at some point that he chooses not to attend the events because he believes he is “not much liked” by the Raptors organization. I wonder why.


    Will familiarize oneself with suggested material… as always.

  21. Travis Outlaw Says:

    The Pacers are one of the best frachcises in the NBA. Especially after that (Ron Artest Brawl) they still found a way with crappy players to make the playoffs. The Pacers are tough.

    But Khandor,
    Who makes the playoffs? The Raptors. The Raptors are still better. Jose Calderon starting means that he’s going to be better and has a great chance to become an all-star. Bosh and Calderon are better than the Pacers whole team.

    You keep overhyping Rasho Nesterovic whos been a crappy play his own career. Why not start Roy Hibbert if you think so highly of him from you’re other post.

    And why start Travis Diener? Over a better Jarret Jack. Don’t praise Larry Bird for doing a crappy job. Larry Bird traded Jerryd Bayless away who dropped to him. And traded away Ike Diogu who was the JEWEL of the Al Harrington deal.

  22. Travis Outlaw Says:

    player*

  23. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    I’m not over-hyping Rasho Nesterovic.

    In saying that Jermaine O’Neal may not be a substantially better player than Rasho, at this stage of their respective career’s … the fact is … I am not hyping Rasho, as much as I am throwing cold water on those who SEEM to be over-hyping an oft-injured former All-Star.

    Rasho has been a solid role player in the NBA for years. Jermaine O’Neal might now fit into a similar category with the Raptors.

    Time will tell.

    ——————————————————–

    It will be interesting to see which team finishes with more W’s this season, Toronto or Indiana.

    If I was placing a real life wager on that outcome, I’d be more inclined to take the Raptors … but the gap is quite narrow, IMO, and certainly much closer than most Raptors fans realize.

    ——————————————————–

    Bringing Roy Hibbert off the bench makes a lot more sense, from a basketball acumen standpoint … that’s why.

    Basketball acumen is something which means A LOT to me. 🙂

    Time will tell just what sort of GM Larry is … now that Donnie Walsh has moved on to the Knicks.

    With the acquisitions of Brandon Rush, Roy Hibbert and Jarrett Jack, methinks he’s off to a solid start, thus far … although I do not think he should have added TJ Ford to his team … despite the fact that getting him and Rasho from the Raptors, in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal, was a form of highway robbery. 😉

    [Note 1: It would not surprise me in the least to see Ford traded at a later date for a comparable asset that’s a better fit for the Pacers at that time, when they are further along in their development, as a solid squad in the EC.]

    It’s irrelevant … whether the Pacers go with Diener/Jack or Jack/Diener, as they are two complimentary players.

  24. Travis Outlaw Says:

    It will be interesting to see which team finishes with more W’s this season, Toronto or Indiana.

    If I was placing a real life wager on that outcome, I’d be more inclined to take the Raptors … but the gap is quite narrow, IMO, and certainly much closer than most Raptors fans realize.
    -Is this based on Indiana’s potenital? If you make this argument. Then you can easily say that the Hawks, Bobcats, Heat, Bucks are just as good as the Raptors too.

  25. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    It is based on the basketball ability I perceive their players to have this season.

    As I’ve said before, there are a swack of teams in the EC this season with ability to challenge for a playoff spot … including the four you just mentioned.

    IMO … it is by no means a given that the Raptors even qualify for the post-season tournament this year with the roster they have right now.

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