Is Power Forward in Artest’s Future?

by Conrad Brunner

July 15, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005
If you'd like to pose a Question of the Day to Conrad Brunner, submit it along with your full name and hometown to Bruno' Brunner’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Pacers players, coaches or management.


Conrad Brunner

Q. I was intrigued and excited to see that the Pacers are thinking about experimenting with Ron at power forward. Is the team really considering this? Or is this strictly for the summer league? I think he could flourish at four in certain situations. It would cause matchup problems for opponents, it would allow J.O. (Jermaine O'Neal) to rest longer, it would maximize Ron's time on the floor (he's like the Energizer Bunny), and it would open up more minutes for reserves like the Jones Boys, Danny Granger, and even (Jonathan) Bender. Could Ron be effective against the elite, shorter bigs of the league? (From A.J. in Tallahassee, Fla.)

A. You never really know how seriously to take a summer-league experiment, but this one bears watching. Part of the motivation for using Artest at power forward is the nature of summer-league play. It's generally a smaller-man's game, guard-driven, quicker-paced and often devoid of the halfcourt, post-up, inside-out style that is prevalent during the regular season. But there may be more to it than just that. If Artest takes to the position, it could open up some intriguing options.

Artest is very effective in the post – at least he has been against small forwards – and certainly has the strength and girth to cause problems in certain matchups. He has not been a strong rebounder and will need to devote more energy to that area. It also remains to be seen if he can be effective in the post against power forwards. He has been able to simply overpower small forwards and that is less likely against the bigger bodies. He should be able to use his strong base and quick hands to be an effective defender but, again, power forwards will present a much different challenge.

If the experiment works, it would open up the possibility of a lineup in which the Pacers' most talented players are all on the floor at the same time – Jamaal Tinsley, Stephen Jackson, Danny Granger, Artest and Jermaine O'Neal. Given that potential, it's certainly worth a look.