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News » Indiana Pacers Notes, Quotes 2009-10-18

Indiana Pacers Notes, Quotes 2009-10-18

Indiana Pacers Notes, Quotes 2009-10-18--Injuries to G Mike Dunleavy and F Tyler Hansbrough have coach Jim O'Brien having second thoughts on his desire to go with a 10-man rotation this season.

"We still have the ability to go 10 deep, but I don't know if we are there yet," O'Brien said. "If we were opening the season tonight, I don't know if I would go with a 10-man rotation."

Dunleavy and Hansbrough are both sidelined indefinitely. The Pacers would likely go with an eight-man rotation if the season started today. O'Brien is looking for one or two players to step up in practice.

"I'm not going to force the issue," O'Brien said. "Without (Dunleavy and Hansbrough), if eight deep is the way to go, I'll go eight deep. If it's nine, I'll go nine. If people earn the right to be in the 10-man rotation, we'll go with 10. I prefer a high number."

--It appears Brandon Rush has done enough to hold off Dahntay Jones to be the Pacers starting shooting guard when the season opens. There had been some talk that coach Jim O'Brien may go with Jones because he's a better on-the-ball defender than Rush. Rush, who is entering his second season, is a better all-around player, which works well in O'Brien's up-tempo offensive system.

"Brandon has had some very strong practices and we expect Brandon to be the type of player he was the last month of last season and I think that's what we'll get," O'Brien said. "He's a lot more comfortable with NBA basketball, he's more comfortable with what we're trying to do offensively and defensively and he knows he has the confidence not only of our coaching staff but his teammates. Those are all ingredients that will allow him to be productive from the beginning of the year."

MAIN REASON PACERS CAN WIN: The Pacers have been the ninth best team in the East each of the past two seasons and Danny Granger showed he could score against any player or team in the league last season when he made his first All-Star appearance. The Pacers finally made a commitment to the defensive end of the court when they signed Dahntay Jones, one of the league's premier defenders, in the offseason.

MAIN REASON PACERS CAN LOSE: Indiana will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season if Mike Dunleavy can't play at least 60 games this season. Dunleavy is out indefinitely because of problems with his right knee. The Pacers need Dunleavy on the court because he's their smartest offensive player and best team defender.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Jeff is a great model for our young big men like Solomon (Jones), Roy (Hibbert) and Josh McRoberts. He's more vocal on the court. Certainly we need leadership from all of our veterans, and Jeff, being the elder statesman, needs to really step up in that particular area." -- Coach Jim O'Brien, on veteran C Jeff Foster's added role with the team this season.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 18, 2009


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