After brief setback, Hibbert back to work
July 27, 2010
Hoopsworld recently ranked the Eastern Conference teams and pegged the Pacers 10th. "While they weren't able to acquire the point guard that they were searching for in the offseason, the team did an excellent job adding Paul George and Lance Stephenson through the draft and should improve now that they're healthy and have developed some chemistry," wrote Alex Kennedy. "... (the Pacers) will be looking to compete for one of the final spots in the East."
Word has leaked out through the media that Lance Stephenson's contract reportedly covers three seasons with a team option for the fourth. "The deal reflects a commitment by both sides," Stephenson's agent Alberto Ebanks told the New York Post. "(The signing) marked the realization of a lifelong dream and at the same time the start of a new and exciting chapter in his life. He is playing for a great coach, for a Hall of Fame boss and in a town rich in basketball history. Who could ask for more?"
Surely I'm not the only one wondering why Shawne Williams was identified by ESPN.com (and other outlets) as "Ex-Pacers F Williams" when he was recently arrested with marijuana and a loaded gun in his car. He's been with three other teams, including the Bobcats in summer-league play, since he last wore an Indiana uniform in 2008.
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Roy Hibbert has long wanted the chance to play in the Olympics, which explains his brief sojourn with the Jamaican national team earlier this month.
You'll recall things came to a screeching halt when Hibbert tweaked his knee during Jamaica's 72-68 loss to the host Dominican Republic on July 6 in the FIBA Centrobasket Championship in Santo Domingo, D.R., but all is well now.
Hibbert's father (Roy) is from Jamaica. His mother (Patty) is from Trinidad. He could've played for either country but chose Jamaica because he thought that team had a better shot at advancing.
"I just felt that I always wanted to have a chance to play in the Olympics and the U.S. has a great team as it is," he said. "They have a crop of guys they're grooming just in case certain guys can't go. So I felt my only chance to make it to the Olympics would be with Team Jamaica. They had some other NBA-caliber players that were able to come along with me."
This wasn't Hibbert's first international experience. He was the starting center on USA Basketball's under-21 team in the 2007 Pan Am Games. But it might be his last for awhile. Jamaica was not one of the top four teams in Centrobasket, thus did not advance in the pre-Olympic qualifying process.
So Hibbert is back in Indianapolis working out along with a handful of teammates as the Pacers prepare for the 2010-11 season. Training camp is a little more than two months away, believe it or not.
"I've just been in the gym in the mornings – come in, work out, lift, work on my conditioning," he said. "And then I've been working on my post moves, getting strong in the post, my lower base. I've been working on my outside jump shot and creating off the drive a little bit more. But primarily I've been in the paint.
"I've been trying to figure out other ways to get my conditioning up so I've been taking kick-boxing or MMA training and I do boxing in the afternoons, helping my footwork, balance and conditioning."
Granger to learn fate soon
Danny Granger could learn this week if he will be included among the finalists for the Team USA roster that will compete next month in the World Basketball Championship.
Wrapping up a week in Las Vegas with 19 hopefuls, Granger played just under 21 minutes off the bench and produced five points, two rebounds, an assist, a block (and five fouls) for the White team, which won the intrasquad scrimmage 114-96.
After the initial cuts, the Team USA finalists will head to New York for training camp Aug. 9-16 before heading to Turkey for the WBC from Aug. 28 through Sept. 12.
Ex-Pacers seeing green
Though neither quite lived up to expectations last season, the Celtics opted to bring back Marquis Daniels after signing Jermaine O'Neal, giving Boston two ex-Pacers in the rotation.
O'Neal had a respectable season for Miami but shot 9-of-44 against the Celtics in a five-game loss in the first-round of the playoffs. One of the three highest-paid players in the NBA last season, O'Neal took a substantial pay cut to sign with Boston.
After signing with the Celtics last season, Daniels went down with a thumb injury that required surgery, missed 28 games and averaged a career-low 5.6 points. He was not in the rotation for the potseason, making just 11 appearances in 24 playoff games.
Fast breaks ...
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