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ENEMY LINES an opposing team's scout sizes up the Pacers
Chris Ballard
October 27, 2003
Detroit jumped to the top rungs of the East the last two years, and Indiana will do the same, because of Rick Carlisle's little-known strength: He teaches spacing as well as any coach in the league. You could already see in preseason that the Pacers were more organized than last year's team. Good spacing forces ball movement, because teammates are so blatantly wide open that a player looks bad if he doesn't pass to them. In this scheme Jamaal Tinsley should have a breakout season....
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October 27, 2003

Enemy Lines An Opposing Team's Scout Sizes Up The Pacers

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Detroit jumped to the top rungs of the East the last two years, and Indiana will do the same, because of Rick Carlisle's little-known strength: He teaches spacing as well as any coach in the league. You could already see in preseason that the Pacers were more organized than last year's team. Good spacing forces ball movement, because teammates are so blatantly wide open that a player looks bad if he doesn't pass to them. In this scheme Jamaal Tinsley should have a breakout season....

Right away Carlisle is going to establish a rotation of eight or nine players, which means they might end up trading one of their young forwards. If Austin Croshere can slay healthy, he's going to be given a fair chanceā€”G.M. Larry Bird likes him and his big contract is hard to trade. Any team in the league would want Al Harrington, but Ron Artest has more potential because he's so good at both ends of the floor. Actually he's a little overrated as a defender; he makes stupid mistakes, like trying to intimidate guys by bumping them, which they use as an invitation to drive right by him. Carlisle and Bird will probably be patient and see if they can help Artest become more stable emotionally [he was suspended for a total of 12 games last season]. If he doesn't come around, he'll be the one to go....

This team is so loaded it can afford to make trades. If Reggie Miller recovers from his off-season ankle surgeries and regains his form of two years ago, then he'll play 30 minutes a game. If not, it's no big deal because they can give some of that time to Jonathan Bender....

Jermaine O'Neal looks like the kind of superstar capable of leading his team to a championship someday. Carlisle's spacing will open up the court for O'Neal; if his numbers go down it will be because he's using his opportunities to set up teammates.

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