Indiana Pacers’ fun with experimental lineups
The Indiana Pacers have a lot of new parts, new things for coach Jim O’Brien to experiment with.
That has left Pacers training camp a little like the Island of Doctor Moreau, looking at the reports out of camp.
Picture Mike Dunleavy at the two spotting up on the wing while Darren Collison and Roy Hibbert run a one-five pick-and-pop. Josh McRoberts is your starting four.
Throw in a Brandon Rush (once he is back) and a Tyler Hansbrough and a Paul George and you have some interesting mixes. The Pacers have said they plan to run a lot of pick-and-rolls with Collison, but last season he shot just 36.6% as the ball handler in that situation (and 25 percent from three). Hibbert, however, is very effective as the roll (or pop) man, so maybe together they can make it work.
Where Collison really excels is in transition. If nothing is there he can pull up and there will be Hibbert trailing the play setting a drag screen (a high pick and roll early in the clock).
And all of this ignores that you really want to get the ball to Danny Granger a lot, as he is still their best player by a long shot.
The good news is they are looking at things -- modify your system to fit the talents you have. The Pacers need to run, but if Hibbert is good setting the pick then do it. Dunleavy shoots 41 percent on transition three point attempts, have him run to the line while Collison probes (and throw Dunleavy some half court isolation plays, he’s pretty good at it).
The Pacers are going to be interesting this year. They have a lot of things to figure out. Some of the attempts will be misguided and ugly. But better to try and fail then not to try. Well, except on the Island of Doctor Moreau.