by Conrad Brunner
November 6, 2003
ASK THE COACH
With Brendan Malone
To ask a question of coach Malone, submit it along with your full name and place of residence to email@example.com. Not every question will be answered, but all will be considered, and are subject to editing.
Q. On Brad Miller, I have been discouraged by his lack of physical play for such a big man. Don't get me wrong, he's a great asset to this Pacer team. However his lack of muscular build and lack of improved conditioning to bulk up over the summer has left many of us fans questioning his heart and desire. It seems that he's often pushed around down low for a man his size, even by smaller center or forwards. I feel that 20 to 30 pounds of muscle and the killer instinct to go with it would truly make him one of the leagues most feared, low-post controlling centers to ever play for Indiana! Can we get Brad Miller on a massive strength building program for all his muscles., including the one in his chest? (From Kevin in Tampa, FL)
A. I think Brad Miller is probably one of our most consistent players on offense and defense and we're very happy with his performance. He brings the bigs away from the basket by shooting the outside shot, he's a very good passer in the low post and up on top. I would like to see him become a little more physical and aggressive in his low-post defense. As for strength, Brad - like every one of our players - is in a weight-training program under the supervision of our strength and conditioning coach, Bill Dean. I love Brad Miller and I think he's all heart.
Q. My question involves the progress of Jamaal Tinsley. We've heard he's in better shape and better prepared mentally for the NBA season ahead. However, I always felt he could benefit himself by improving his defense. Last year, he appeared to be the weakest of the Pacers' starters on defense, especially off the dribble. Have you seen any improvement in his defense, either individually or in how he is working within the team concept? (From Adam in Minot, ND)
A. I think he's more aware of both the individual and team defense and is continuing to get better. He came back in better condition so he could play defense better. He's also getting his legs into his jump shot better. But Jamaal has to continue to get better in all areas of his game.
Q. How necessary is, and, what is the function of, the point guard in the "Quick" system? (From Philip in Lafayette, IN)
A. The point guard or "push man" brings the ball up against pressure, particularly when they double-team in the backcourt, and also makes the first pass to initiate the offense. He then makes quick, hard cuts to make the defense play him. When he does cut he should be looking for the ball because he could be wide open on the initial screen. Then he becomes one of five players that will get a shot. He's initiating the offense but he also has to push the ball up the court and try to advance the ball with the pass. We have the "push" position, two wings and two trailers. Often times, we will have the point guard as our push man to get the ball upcourt as quickly as possible.
Q. The past two seasons the Pacers have won three playoff games and lost six. In the three games we've won Reggie has scored around 15-18 points. In the six we've lost, however, he has scored over 20 points in every one. Case in point: Against Philly 2 years ago Reggie scored 17 points in the first game and we won; he averaged 30 over the next three games and we lost all three. Against New Jersey Reggie scored over 20 points three times: Games 2,3, and 5 - all Pacer losses. Do you see the same pattern, (whenever Reggie scores more than 20 in a playoff game we lose) as I do? By the way, I'm not blaming Reggie for those loses, it's probably everyone else's fault for watching him instead of playing. (From Frank in Tallahassee, FL)
A. All I know is that when the game is on the line, we're looking for Reggie because he's one of the best all-time clutch shooters I've ever seen in the playoffs. The stats may back your assumption that when he scores a lot, we lose. But I don't know if there is a reason for that. When it's playoff time, Reggie always steps up and is one of the most competitive players and best big-shot makers in playoff history.