Many possibilities remain at power forward


The question has to be asked:

With Troy Murphy now slated for a starring role in Jersey Shore, what's the situation at power forward?

Larry Bird is doing his thing, quietly casting about for a solution. The only name to bubble to the surface has been (they're not booing, they're saying) Lou Amundson, the scrappy former Phoenix backup who reportedly had narrowed his list of prospects to three teams (the Pacers, Hornets and Warriors) and was expected to make a decision last week but remains on the free agent market.

Should Amundson wind up elsewhere, or Bird decide to pursue other options, the Pacers aren't exactly desperate at the position. They may lack certainty, but not possibility.

As things stand, they have five candidates at the position: Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts, Jeff Foster, Magnum Rolle and Solomon Jones. Danny Granger will start at small forward but certainly can expect to spend some time at the four, so add him to the depth chart, as well.

The biggest wild-card, of course, is Hansbrough. Had his rookie season gone as expected, he'd be ready to step into the lineup now. Instead, his rookie season was just gone due to a variety of inner ear-related maladies, and we're still not sure when he'll be back on the court. If Hansbrough is ready for training camp, he could still emerge as the man for the job. Remember, he averaged 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in his last 11 games before the health problem emerged.

And then there is Foster, who like Hansbrough missed most of last season, though his issue was back surgery. Though expected to make a full recovery in time for the season, Foster is 33 and no longer in the mix for starter's minutes. But if he can be available for significant backup time, he could really help stabilize the bench rotation at both big spots.

There are no such physical question marks when it comes to McRoberts, whose performance in the final month of the season put him in line for an increased role in 2010-11 whether or not Murphy was around. McRoberts averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in the final 11 games and showed he was learning to channel his athleticism and energy into a fully productive player.

He also has worked hard on his 3-point shot. After missing the first 13 of his career, he made eight of 21 to finish last season and continues to progress under the tutelage of shot doctor Billy Keller. He may never be a stretch four a la Murphy but McRoberts does have an intriguing package of skills that merit a longer look.

Though unsigned, Rolle still factors into the plans because of his length and athleticism. He also has a nice face-up game from 15-17 feet and was able to raise some eyebrows with his performance in the summer league. But he's still very much in the formative stages and it's not realistic to expect a major contribution right away.

Jones, on the other hand, should be able to add something substantive to the mix. Coming off a disappointing first season with the Pacers, the former Atlanta free agent should view this as an opportunity to earn more playing time.

Tweets can be dangerous

Granger created a mild uproar in Turkey with some ill-advised Twitter posts on Tuesday. Granger posted a couple of tweets criticizing the hygiene of the citizens of the host nation of the FIBA World Championship at one point saying they smelled "like dead donkeys."

This, naturally, did not go over well in Istanbul so Granger then attempted some damage control, again through Twitter. He later tweeted that he was from New Orleans "and it smells the same way so relax!!"

Not sure how throwing his hometown under the bus was supposed to help but hopefully he's learned an important lesson about the power of Twitter.



Previous blogs

  • Aug. 27: Talking Turkey with Granger
  • Aug. 24: Despite struggling, Granger survives final cut
  • Aug. 20: International experience could be huge for Granger
  • Aug. 17: Collison ready to step into spotlight
  • Aug. 13: Honeycomb first of ABA Pacers to enter Hall of Fame
  • Aug. 11: Collison deal turns PG from question to exclamation
  • Aug. 11: Granger's finger injury believed to be minor
  • Aug. 10: Schedule's out, so circle these dates
  • Aug. 4: Walton puts Hibbert through personal training camp
  • Aug. 2: Banner day in a busy summer for Granger
  • July 27: After Jamaica sojourn, Hibbert back to work
  • July 22: Site still s preading the word in China
  • July 15: Bird hits the hot buttons
  • July 9: First look at rookies was an eye-opener

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