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When J.O. Returns, Are Pacers Serious Threat?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006
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QUESTION
OF THE DAY
Conrad Brunner


Q. The Pacers have done a good job for the players they’ve had to work with. Can the Pacers pose a serious threat in the playoffs when Jermaine O’Neal returns? (From Steven in Elk Grove Village, Ill.)



A. Had O'Neal waited until the playoffs arrived to return, or even a few days before, I would've been much more skeptical about the team's chances. That's just too little time for a player of his stature to be comfortably re-integrated into a team that has undergone major structural change in his absence. It's also too little time for any player to regain his game conditioning.

Given O'Neal's comments yesterday, however, it would appear he's going to have more than a month of regular-season games to get the rust off. Assuming he does return this week, that should give him plenty of time to rebuild his conditioning while he, and the team, make the requisite adjustments to the addition of a prominent low-post threat.

When he does return, he will provide a big emotional lift but it will be important not to expect too much, physically, in the first few games. He hasn't played in nearly two months and has been working out for just the past two weeks, so his minutes will be limited by his conditioning. And the team, having grown used to its current style of play, will need a little time to re-adjust to his presence. It's a welcome change, but one that will require some time to realize its full benefit.

Assuming O'Neal remains healthy and regains his usual form, the Pacers should be a very intriguing team to watch in the playoffs. He and Peja Stojakovic have complementary games that should mesh very well; each should make the other more effective. If Jamaal Tinsley also gets back to full strength and avoids further setbacks, and Scot Pollard can shake off the foot and back problems that have begun to crop up in the past couple of weeks, the Pacers will have a lot of weapons. In fact, it's conceivable they'll head into the postseason with a full complement for the first time in three years. Under those circumstances, they'd pose a real threat to anyone they faced in the playoffs
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Go PaCeRs!!!
 

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TheBigDonut said:
yeah but still not up w/ Detroit and Miami.
Maybe, you're right... but what if the Big Fella isn't up to par? Or Detroit gets kind of banged up. These teams have had some real good luck so far, but both teams are kind of old, so we'll see how they hold up. It would be real funny if the tables turned on them. And I'm not so sure, if Jermaine can get back to being J.O. come the playoffs, that we can't knock off either of those teams. Call me a Homer, but that's how I feel. The way Peja has been playing and Granger has been coming of age, anything is possible. Maybe not probable, but definitely possible.
 
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a serious threat to miami? maybe. to detroit? i will say not a chance. i still believe this team will need some changes after this season is over. tinsley missed another game with a sinus infection. i wonder if he will ever be able to go again for more than 12 games without SOMETHING going wrong again. i can only predict that if he is still around after this season, he will miss more than 30 games yet again next year. how long can we hope this guy can stay healthy before it becomes clear that he is not reliable enough to ever make this team a contender. i can't compare him to bender because by about his 2nd year he had already played about as many games as bender did his whole career. this team must have a steady, reliable pg and that isn't tinsley.
sjax? hmm, he has his nights where he is very tough and nights where you don't want him touching the damn ball anymore because he is having one of those super off nights and is going like 4-18 and has been holding the ball and doing several pump fakes and shoots it even though none of the previous fakes worked resulting in a terrible shot. i haven't looked at the free agent possibilities or the draft too much so i don't know what to do yet about that issue. i just suspect he can't be relied on as more than a 3rd or 4th option. if somehow we could work out a way to get jj reddick of duke or however is name is spelled. that would be very interesting to me.
those are the 2 biggest worries on my mind with this team at this time.
winning a 1st round series against detroit is very unlikely with this current team we have.
 

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We'll be a threat, and a more serious threat, but not a championship contender. O'Neal is gonna be a force, but you have to ask how great he will be in big matchups due all the time he has missed this year.

The East is weak, so IMO it's a pretty even conference from the 3rd seed all the way to the 9th seed. However, i think the New Jersey Nets are starting to run away as the 3rd best team, and i'd definetly not not to play them in round one. I'd prefer Cleveland and James then the Nets.

But, i don't think a healthy O'Neal is enough to over come Miami or Detriot in the east, those are definetly the two best teams, and I doubt anyone will beat them. And the only reason why we can even say if we’ll be a threat with JO is because the east is weak this year and a lot of the teams are even.
 
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