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A Good Problem Is Still A Problem At PF

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

December 27, 2010

(From L) McRoberts, Posey, Foster, Hansbrough (NBAE/Getty Images)

To borrow one of Mark Boyle's favorite words, Jim O'Brien has something of a conundrum at power forward.

Josh McRoberts has started 26 games and played reasonably well (6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds in 22 minutes) but, like every other starter, has tapered off in December. This has opened the door to a plethora of options off the bench, with two salty veterans (Jeff Foster and James Posey) and a peppery young guy (Tyler Hansbrough).

The thing is, there are only 48 minutes available a night and everybody can't play. Or can they?

"I have a little bit of a challenge in my mind at our power forward spot," O'Brien said recently. "It's like power forward by committee. … You can't play all four guys every game at power forward because I don't think you could get into any kind of rhythm. I haven't figured it out yet, in all truthfulness."

Sunday's loss to Memphis was clear evidence of the challenge. McRoberts started, but played less than 8 minutes and didn't return. Posey and Foster played 18 minutes each and Hansbrough 9.

The problem was Zach Randolph, who long has tortured the Pacers with his bulk in the post and his ability to step out and hit the mid-range jumper, and there really was no solution (though Foster defended him well).

You sense a change is coming but it's hard to predict.

McRoberts gives the Pacers athleticism and energy. Foster is a proven defender and rebounder. Posey spaces the floor and defends the smaller power forwards very well. In the meantime Hansbrough, who might very well represent the future of the position, finds little time in the present.

It's still relatively early, just past the one-third mark of the season, but it's clear something has to give. Too many players, not enough minutes. Coaches often like to say it's a good problem to have, but that doesn't change the reality that it is a problem.