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The IUPUI Lady Jaguars were a dominant team throughout the course of the season. They finished the regular season with a 21-8 record, and only lost three times in Horizon League play. They additionally outscored their conference opponents by 18.7 points per game, and took that dominance to the conference tournament, where they won their two games against Cleveland State and Milwaukee by 17 and 14, respectively. The team was jubilant after their win on March 10th.
By March 12th, however, COVID-19 had caused many cancellations in sports, and by that afternoon the NCAA canceled their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. This all happened quickly, and left some members of the team confused.
We interviewed three players and head coach Austin Parkinson. Here are their accounts of what happened, and how quickly everything changed.
Before the NCAA Tournament was canceled, the team still had to face it’s conference championship schedule, where they came in as the number one seed in the tournament.
Rachel McLimore (Redshirt Sophomore): We obviously felt confident, but we knew we still had to play the high level that got us to win the regular season and the conference. We knew we had to play the high level that got us to win the regular season because we knew we had a target on our back. We were confident but we knew we had a lot to take care of.
Holly Hoopingarner (Senior, Horizon League Tournament MVP): Personally and as a team, we had a lot of confidence coming into the conference tournament, especially once we found out who were playing and we could start preparing for that team. Everybody was psyched up to play. We really thought we were going to make a run and make it all the way.
Macee Williams (Junior, Horizon League Player of the Year) : I was pretty confident because how the season was going, we had the confidence of ourselves coming in and knowing we could win.
Austin Parkinson (Coach, IUPUI): Well, I felt like we had the best team. But we really hadn’t shot well the last four or five games of the regular season, and we had such a long gap of games from I think it was 11 days, but some people I talked to were nervous about the double bye. In our particular case, we were excited about it because it gave us a chance to get our legs back, and spend time in the gym getting our confidence back shooting.
The Jaguars clinched the title on Monday, March 10th. They beat Milwaukee, a team who beat them in their previous encounter, 51-37. They held Milwaukee scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Parkinson: It was an incredible feeling knowing that you won the regular season, but that doesn’t guarantee anything in regards to the tournament. I was really proud of our players, especially in the championship game. Defensively, to hold the other team to zero points in the fourth quarter. We’ve built our program with a defensive mindset and that helped to beat the next best team in the league. And then in the fourth quarter when it matters most, to hold them scoreless, you know, really you know made it an extra special feeling.
Hoopingarner: It was the most excited I have ever been playing basketball, because you know that’s the dream--winning the conference tournament and making it to the NCAA Tournament. Get to compete in the big dance. So it felt like all of our hard work and dedication since we were little had finally paid off.
McLimore: It was so awesome, it was awesome to see all of our hard work pay off and to make history was really cool.
Williams: It was an unforgettable experience. It was just such a good feeling of knowing the hard work you put in throughout the season and it was just such an awesome thing.
Parkinson gave the team Wednesday and Thursday off, with plans to begin preparation for the NCAA Tournament that Friday.
Parkinson: So the last kind of memory was us in the locker room and the ladies had splashed me with water and our last discussion was we’re gonna give you the two days off, and then Friday we’re going to come in and start practicing for whoever our opponent is.
Coach Parkinson felt confident that his team would not just be a first round doormat in the NCAA Tournament.
Parkinson: A unique stat from this year, and this has not happened in the years that I have coached, is that we never lost a game by double digits. And if you go back and look at our non conference, each of the teams that we had played were upper echelon teams in the league. If you look at it we had a lead in the fourth quarter against Miami, against Butler, Northern Iowa. All road games. We weren’t able to complete those games, we had a lot of losses by two points, three points. Even in conference a lot of our losses were by two or three, I felt pretty good about postseason play. The other part about it is, the way our team is built, Macee and Mo (Morgan Allen) are 6’2” and 6’3” and we had the physicality to match up with Power 5 teams, and we were looking forward to the competition.
Even so, the commotion with COVID-19 starts swirling and becomes impossible to ignore.
Hoopingarner: After the conference tournament, even after all this stuff started happening with COVID. And school started getting canceled and all that kinda stuff. Luckily it was our spring break anyway, and we were going to classes, but we just weren’t sure what was going to happen and so a lot of the team ended up going home, if they’re in Indiana, to go home and celebrate with our families, our friends. And then we were gonna come back on Thursday or Friday and practice for the NCAA Tournament.
McLimore: We had a couple days off so we were getting ready to come back and start practicing for the NCAA (Tournament) when we had the news. When we found out it was during our days off, so we were just getting ready mentally.
Then, the inevitable becomes reality: the NCAA Tournament was canceled.
Hoopingarner: Oh, funny, I was actually just sitting on the couch, I was home alone, and I had seen some other stuff start to get canceled. We saw the NBA season get suspended I think that was on Wednesday. We saw the NCAA say no fans on Wednesday, so it was almost like you’re gonna wait for it. Then I found out Thursday at 230.
Parkinson: Actually I was doing an interview on the phone with a radio station and my phone started buzzing quite a bit, and obviously I couldn’t take it during the call so when I was done I immediately looked down and several of the players had texted me already. I had a pretty good idea the tournament was going to get canceled, but in today’s day and age with the way technology goes, the immediacy of them finding out versus me being able to tell them, so they informed me.
McLimore: I was just at home and then I saw a text from Holly. And I was like ‘oh no’ and your heart just drops. It’s definitely very upsetting.
Parkinson: Wednesday night the NBA canceled their season, and Thursday in the late afternoon was when they canceled the NCAA Tournament. We scheduled a meeting the Friday after, brought everybody together. And it was an odd feeling, your season typically ends with a win or a loss. You don’t normally end your season on the couch, looking at Twitter.
Understandably, all parties involved were upset.
Williams: It went from being one of the greatest weeks of my life to like, just such a devastating, devastating week. Just getting the phone call saying we weren’t going to be able to play in the NCAA it was just such a crushing feeling. Just knowing we weren’t gonna be able to get that back, and just because of all the hard work we put in. I felt bad for Holly knowing she was a senior. Coach P said multiple times you’re going into the game knowing it was gonna be your last game, but none of us knew.
McLimore: It definitely took some of your joy away. I was still was super excited about conference but part of the reason you’re so excited is because you get to go to the NCAA’s. It’s just kind of frustrating, but then I’ve had to look back and think about all the positives. The fact that we were able to get our conference tournament in was a huge positive and some people didn’t get to experience that, so that kinda helped me get over the frustration of not being able to play.
Parkinson: We kind of had an idea that was gonna happen. It was just more of when at that point. But, like I said it was a punch to the gut. It was obviously the right reasons, and it needed to take place in regards to canceling the tournament. But my heart went out to our players, because one I was excited for them to experience playing in the NCAA Tournament; and two was the collective feeling we had when we got together, which was that we felt like we had the chance to do some damage and win some games in the tournament. They always played with that mentality of wanting to prove people wrong and I think they were excited about finally getting to do that on a bigger stage.
For Hoopingarner, the team’s lone senior, it stung hard.
Hoopingarner: I didn’t really know how to feel. When you have something so unexpected,come to an abrupt end, and something amazing just ends, especially since it’s my senior year so I don’t get it back. Everybody else, they get to come back next year, they get to compete once again, they hopefully get to go to the NCAA Tournament and play next year, but this was my one year I was going to get to enjoy that. It’s a lot of emotions that are kind of a tough pill to swallow.
Williams: I felt bad for Holly knowing she was a senior. Coach P said multiple times you’re going into the game knowing it was gonna be your last game, but none of us knew.
Hoopingarner: I felt sick to my stomach literally, just because as a basketball player who has been so dedicated to the sport since I was so young. It was great to get to the tournament, because that’s what everyone wants to play for. Having it taken away from me, and I’m not saying this in a negative way because obviously they’re taking precautions, they’re trying to do what’s best for the public. It’s not like I’m mad at anybody. But yeah, it definitely did feel like something was taken away that would have been an amazing experience.
Even so, Hoopingarner is grateful that in a sense, she got to go out on top.
Hoopingarner: I am very thankful that we got to end the season. It gives you a peace of mind knowing that we were the regular season champs, that we were the Horizon League champs, we earned all of that. A lot of conferences didn’t get to finish. Some people were getting the trophy because they happened to be the one seed, and nobody wants that as an athlete. We’re all too competitive, to just have something handed to us. I’m very thankful that we did get to finish out the regular season, finished out the conference tournament, and have that moment with that team, it’s a very special memory. A lot of people don’t get to say that their last game was a championship.
Even though the other players are discouraged that they’ll have to wait until next year, they plan on starting next season strong, even if they acknowledge it will be more difficult without Hoopingarner. Still, Williams notes how difficult it will be to prepare for next season.
Williams: We still have a good shot of making it far in the tournament even without Holly, but losing unlimited access to gyms, and stuff like that, it puts a toll on your exercise and what you want to do. I had a bunch of plans for my senior year, because your senior year you want to go all out. But not having unlimited gym access and stuff like that kind of takes a toll on that. I’m just trying to do little things around the house so I can stay in shape with all the stuff I have around the house.
McLimore: Obviously Holly’s gonna be a huge loss, so we’ll really have to take time to adjust to losing her because she meant so much to our team, in so many different ways. But we do have a ton of pieces coming back so I feel pretty confident that we’ll have a good team again, and because so many of us have played a lot together already, so we know each other well. I think if we just work on a few things. We can be really good again.
Parkinson: I think the biggest loss is the leadership of Holly. We relied so heavily on Holly, organizing, leading. But basketball wise, we’ve got a really nice opportunity that we do have back. That said, it’s going to be a different feeling. You’re not going to be picked third, you’re going to be the favorite. And we have to manage those expectations, if we continue to focus on the process, one game at a time, you have to stay healthy, we feel really good about what our prospects are, but if you focus on winning the championship, things can go sideways in a hurry.
The Pacers were up ten with 2:27 left in the second quarter. What happened next was damning for Indy’s season.
Pascal Siakam spearheaded the deadly Raptors press, which proceeded to not allow any points for the rest of the game, allowed one shot attempt, and forced four turnovers in that time span. Siakam and star point guard Kyle Lowry had their fingerprints all over the game, and the Pacers did not seem to know what to do with the press.
That press confounded the Pacers, who had played a practically perfect game up until that point. In the February 5th game against Toronto, the Pacers hit 19 threes, with Justin Holiday and Doug McDermott combining for 10-16 shooting behind the 3-point line. Domantas Sabonis did not play well, but he was making great passes, being patient and helping get those open looks. Siakam shot 7-18, and while the Pacers were allowing many open threes themselves, they did a good job of throwing bodies at Siakam and confusing him. Malcolm Brogdon once again proved himself as someone who kills the Raptors.
The main issue that was exposed for the Pacers is that their size on the wings is lacking. People always refer to that Golden State dynasty as a ‘small’ team, but their wings were all 6-6 or taller, and Draymond Green has a ridiculous wingspan. The Pacers have height, but their wings in Jeremy Lamb, TJ Warren, and Justin Holiday (Siakam’s main matchup) are listed at 180, 220, and 180 pounds, respectively. For comparison, Malcolm Brogdon is listed at 229 pounds, and he is their starting point guard. Brogdon can do many things, but to ask him to try and contain bigger wings is not going to go well for you.
Holiday was really no match for Siakam, nor was anything the Pacers threw at him. Yes, he shot 7-18, but he settled for four 3-pointers, and shot 6-14 on two pointers. Additionally, he got to the foul stripe 11 times, and he had five assists as well. Siakam is a more well-rounded player than the Pacers are equipped to deal with, and he tore them up. The play below was a miss, but Siakam’s pressure on the defense created that open shot to begin with.
On this play, Siakam kicks to Lowry after a pump fake. Lowry killed the Pacers to the effect of 32 points on 21 shots.
Siakam was not a star until pretty recently, and as such he is still a great cutter.
Justin Holiday is too small to try and contain Siakam, so this is going to be what happens every time.
Myles Turner could theoretically contain Siakam, but Siakam is too crafty, too quick, and Turner is better as a rim protector than as a one-on-one defender.
Siakam takes it right into Sabonis’ chest and draws a foul. On a roster full of guys unequipped to guard Siakam, Sabonis might be the least equipped. I might rather have TJ McConnell try and check him than Sabonis.
And on defense, Siakam is an agent of chaos. He finished with 3 steals, and he’s good on the ball or off of it. Siakam is the rare player who is capable of roaming and playing safety on defense, or in the halfcourt you can stick him on opposing ball handlers or centers. This presents problems for the Pacers, as he can wreak havoc while Lowry and Fred VanVleet clean up the scraps. Marc Gasol, when healthy, is still a great defensive player who held Joel Embiid to zero field goals earlier in the season, and Serge Ibaka, who held Sabonis to seven field goal attempts all game, is a great defensive player as well.
The Pacers did a good job breaking down the defense for the game, getting 39 3-point attempts and putting in 19 of them. However, outside of Brogdon, none of the Pacers main stars could buy a bucket. Victor Oladipo, Sabonis, and Jeremy Lamb were a combined 11-30 from the floor, and while Sabonis got to the line, Lamb and Oladipo combined for 1-2 foul shooting.
OG Anunoby got the steal, but Pascal made the action happen drawing the foul.
Pascal steals the ball after coming over for help.
So, is there any way the Pacers can not have a 6’6” wing guard this behemoth of a man? Well, the trade deadline came and went and nary a move was made by the Pacers. Marcus Morris, who would have been a perfect fit, never really had a chance to go to the Pacers as he appeared to be in the midst of a bidding war between the two LA teams. Morris would have been the best fit because he is a bigger wing who has a great 3-point percentage, and he brings more toughness to an already tough Indiana squad.
Two other players who would have been perfect for Indiana were Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Both of these players were in the last year of their contracts in Charlotte, and would have fit the Pacers like a glove. Williams, who is shooting 38% from behind the 3-point stripe, is also a great defender who the Pacers sorely need. Kidd-Gilchrist is the other side of the Williams coin, where he’s an incredible defender but someone who cannot shoot, even though he actually tried his hand at shooting this year, landing at 29% from behind the arc.
However, when these two were bought out of their contracts, Williams and Kidd-Gilchrist landed in Milwaukee and Dallas, respectively. Why did these two not go to the Pacers? Williams is completely understandable, as the Bucks are the Eastern Conference favorites, if not NBA Championship favorites. Kidd-Gilchrist going to Dallas fills a particular need for that team, and living in Dallas might appeal to a player more than living in Indianapolis.
Are there any buyout players that would want to go to Indianapolis and help push the Pacers into Eastern Conference contender talk? Solomon Hill, who previously played for the Pacers, might make sense, but he only has had one real season as a good contributor on a team, and that was before he was a free agent. I can understand why players would not choose the Pacers on their free agency opportunities, as there are currently 12 teams that have a better record than them at the All-Star break.
The Pacers are margins away from becoming a contender. The thing is, the margin just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and the team is not coming any closer to being a contender this season.
Hot takes are the media currency of the day, but it’s hard to fully believe any hot take. That being said, you can talk yourself into some of them, and this is going to be my attempt to reconcile these takes with myself. Without further ado:
Malcolm Brogdon is a top 5 point guard
Case for: Brogdon has been the Pacers best player this season. You can talk about Domantas Sabonis, and you can talk about maybe T.J. Warren, but this season Brogdon has been a driving force. He is huge (6’5”) and is a defensive force. If he were a force just on defense, that would be great for Indiana. However, his offense is what has been keeping the team alive, with him averaging careers in points per game (19.1), assists (7.5), and shot attempts (14.7). He is aggressive, and makes sure the offense is balanced and everybody eats when Brogdon is on the floor. That combination of offense and defense has been deadly.
Case Against: Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and Trae Young have all been better this season, and those are just the guys that are healthy. Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet have been playing at an outstanding level thus far, and Steph Curry is not even healthy yet.
Verdict: Needs more time
Miami is the second best team in the East
Case for: Depth seems to be the new name of the game, as the league seem to shift away from the superteam era. Miami’s depth is a marvel to behold, as they never seem to have a bad player gracing the floor. The worst player is probably Chris Silva, who gives Miami a pure rim running presence, the likes of which they probably have not had since Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen. Bam Adebayo is a perfect big man for the modern NBA, as he can play quarterback on the back line of the defense while being a pretty good passer on the other end.
Their development team deserves a lot of credit, making NBA players out of unproven commodities such as Silva, Duncan Robinson (44.9% from 3-point range on 7 attempts), and Kendrick Nunn, who is a leading contender for Rookie of the Year. Justise Winslow is proving to be an incredibly sharp Swiss Army Knife, being the de facto point guard while playing the three/four most of the time. They have incredible players to come off the bench, as Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk are overqualified to be sixth and seventh men.
I have made it this far without even mentioning Jimmy Butler. Butler is fulfilling a sort of Scottie Pippen role this season, averaging 20.6 points a game, 7 assists, and 6.9 rebounds. He allows Spoelstra to play his way for 44 minutes, and then crunchtime is Butler time.
Without Butler doing all the little things, there is no Miami Heat being 18-6. Butler is probably the second best player in the conference, depending on how you feel about Joel Embiid (you’ll see how I feel further down this article.)
Case Against: Boston does not have the size at center, but they are bigger on the wings than Miami. Indiana could potentially bully them, as well as Philadelphia. Philadelphia has a way better starting five. The Raptors are going to be a formidable matchup for any team on any given night, as even though Butler willed them to a victory in their matchup. There is also a not insignificant case that they are the fifth best team in the conference.
Verdict: Talk me to in January.
Karl-Anthony Towns is better than Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic
Case for: With Towns, we may see another Anthony Davis situation developing before our eyes. Embiid and Jokic got the benefit of being drafted into better organizations, who put actual good teams around the players that exacerbated the strengths of their best players (Embiid admittedly less so.) Towns is a top shooter in the league. No, I did not say top big man shooter. I said top shooter. He is shooting 42.4% from three on 8.4 attempts a game, in the process of averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds. He also suffers from what we call Kevin Garnett syndrome, which is when your team is incapable of surrounding you with effective talent for more than a year.
Towns is not the defender that Embiid is, nor is he the passer that Jokic is. However, according to Cleaning the Glass, when Towns is on the floor with Jarrett Culver, Andrew Wiggins, Treveon Graham, and Robert Covington are on the floor, the Wolves defense only allows 100 points per 100 possessions, which is by far an above average defense. Also according to that wonderful site, Towns assists on 21.9% of his teammates shots, which puts him in the 98th percentile for centers as well.
In this video, you can see Towns getting into the teeth of the defense, and using his pump fake effectively to make plays for others. Embiid has never shot higher than 31% from three after his first season, while Jokic has had exactly one season shooting higher than 33.3% from three, and he is shooting 23% from that range this season. And this season, they have combined to take 7.5 threes a game, meaning they have taken 20 fewer threes combined while making 26% of them this season.
Case Against: Towns is not the passer and defender that Jokic and Embiid, are respectively, and both of them game-changing on that end. Additionally, Embiid is considerably better at drawing fouls, and Jokic performed considerably better in his lone postseason than Towns did in his. Embiid is a defensive monster, as the 76ers are 11 points worse on defense when Embiid is off the court, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Verdict: I fully believe it, and here is why: I laid out the case why those are better at their best strengths than Towns is. However, when you give a player 50% of those capabilities and make him one of the most knockdown shooters in the league, then you have a player who is going to be a monster. Towns is going to be the next Anthony Davis, and I hope he either gets freed or gets better help because he is a special player who needs even just a point guard. Let’s see what happens in the future.
The Pacers can easily be mistaken for an infirmary at this point, as most of their players have missed games because of various injuries. However, this has not stopped the Pacers train from chugging along, as they’re currently sitting with an 8-6 record and with a point differential of 4.3 points every game so far. Malcolm Brogdon, TJ Warren, and Domantas Sabonis have stepped up big time since the beginning of this season, and with Nate McMillan’s track record as a coach, the Pacers have stepped up as well. The strength of schedule has helped, as they have played (according to ESPN) the 30th toughest schedule. But in any case, what they have done thus far has still been wildly impressive. Onto the grades:
Malcolm Brogdon, A+
Domantas Sabonis, A
TJ Warren, B+
These three have been the driving force behind how well the Pacers have played this far. You could say any of them are having a big leap, but in reality they really are making a leap in the first 14 games, and with the way Nate’s scheme is, it is hard to see them slowing down.
Brogdon has been a complete revelation thus far, averaging a career high in shot attempts (15 per game), points (19.9 per), and almost doubling his previous career high in assists at 8.2 a game. Brogdon has done a great job of controlling the tempo for the Pacers this season, and is the driving force for the Pacers even being in the playoff conversation. He has been attacking the rim at will, and even though his 3-point percentage has fallen off this season (30.8%), he has made up for it by being more aggressive in the mid-range and more aggressive in general.
Sabonis himself has taken a considerable leap as well. Averaging 18.6 points per game along with 13.8 (!) boards a game, he has given the Myles Turner-less Pacers a great inside presence, and is shooting 64% three feet or closer to the rim, according to Basketball Reference. He also is just bullying players like Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen, as he has utterly dominated the Nets every time. In fact, Sabonis has only had two games where he had less than 10 rebounds. He has stepped up to the challenge, and it has been wonderful to watch. Additionally, Sabonis has been setting great screens, as he is second in the league in screen assists according to NBA.com.
Warren has proven me wrong in every respect when it comes to the defensive end of the ball. His scoring output has not changed much, as he is averaging 17.5 points a game, he is all over the place on the less flashy side of the ball. According to NBA.com, Warren is in the top ten in the NBA in deflections with 43, and according to Cleaning the Glass, the Pacers are 8.6 points per 100 possessions when TJ Warren is on the court. On offense, McMillan is doing a great job getting Warren involved, trying to get him more in his mid-range comfort zone as opposed to standing on the outside trying to shoot a big amount of threes this season. Warren would have been a steal even if he was not playing as well as he is, but the way he is playing only increases his value to the Pacers by the day.
Nate McMillan and the Coaching Staff: A
Nate McMillan is a top six coach in the NBA. Given what he has gotten out of his teams after varying amount of injuries the team has had this year (two starters, Turner and Jeremy Lamb, have combined to play 11 games) he has done a good job of getting contributions from players more than likely to be relegated to the end of the bench once everyone gets healthy. According to Cleaning the Glass, the opening night starting lineup have only played 35 possessions together thus far this season, but when they have played together they have outscored opponents by 28 points per 100 possessions (small sample size alert!). Once the team gets healthier, the players at the end of the bench should be better, leading to a deeper bench. Props to McMillan and his staff getting the most out of his team.
Good, Given the Circumstances:
Aaron and Justin Holiday: B
The brothers’ Holiday have been giving the Pacers great minutes all season. Aaron has stepped into the starting lineup since Lamb’s injury and given the team a punch in the arm, including the most recent game against in which he put up 24 points and 13 assists. Justin has been a key contributor as well, holding down the wing defense and while he is not shooting a great percentage from three, he shoots enough for his shot to be respected. These two are going to be contributors to the lineup well after everyone comes back.
Goga Bitazde, B-
Bitazde is doing about you would expect from a rookie center who is adjusting to the speed of the NBA game after playing in Europe. Bitazde seems to be in foul trouble every other game, causing TJ Leaf to play inordinate amount of minutes at center, but he is also averaging 1.8 blocks per game this season as well. He shows a good touch from the outside, shooting 36% from 3-point land. He is definitely not a lost cause, and I believe the future might be bright for Bitazde yet.
Doug McDermott, C
TJ McConnell, C
TJ Leaf, C-
Featuring the two lesser TJs on this roster, they both have played adequately. McConnell, who gives David Eckstein a run for his money in terms of being scrappy, is a good third point guard who gives you good defense and can run the pick and roll, which is what I want from my third point guard, so I do not fault the Pacers for going with him.
McDermott has shown great chemistry with Sabonis on the offensive side of the ball, running good dribble handoffs and getting good screens from Sabonis, garnering a good amount of Sabonis’ screen assists. He is taking four 3-pointers a game, a career high, and has been shooting 43% from behind that stripe. He is doing his job, and that has been good enough for Indiana.
Leaf, whom the Pacers selected with the 18th pick in the 2017 draft, has been thrust into spot duty. He has been a decent backup four, even though he has not been shooting from the outside like he was believed to be able to do. If he can give 20 decent minutes at four (he CANNOT play the center) then he could carve himself a decent role in this league.
Would like to see more:
Jakarr Sampson, N/A
Alize Johnson, N/A
The two pure energy players on this roster, I would like to see more minutes for these guys. Sampson appears prone to foul trouble, while I might try and see if Johnson could take backup four minutes from Leaf. But for now, I still do not know what to make of these guys just yet.
Myles Turner recently returned from a sprained ankle, and him missing is a key component of this season. The main takeaway of Victor Oladipo missing all this time was trying to iron out the chemistry between Sabonis and Turner, but that has not been actualized just yet. Another key piece missing due to injury has been Jeremy Lamb, who was also trying to place his imprint firmly as a starter and has not played since November 5. When Oladipo gets back, Lamb might be a prime candidate to go to the bench. Additionally, Edmond Sumner has been dealing with a broken hand, and has not played since October 30th. When Lamb, Sumner, and Oladipo all come back, it will be a dogfight for minutes at the two and the three, especially factoring in Warren probably retaining his starting spot and McDermott and Justin Holiday needing wing minutes as well. 96 minutes for 6 guys is not an enviable task, but I know McMillan and Co. can figure it out.
The Butler Bulldogs routed the IUPUI Jaguars 80-47 in both teams’ first game of the season. The deficit for the Jags was 10 at halftime, but Butler pulled away, outscoring IUPUI 44-21. Butler senior Sean McDermott shot 10-11 from the field on his way to 26 points, pacing the Bulldogs.
The first half looked promising for IUPUI. Butler was shooting 50% from the field in the first half, but IUPUI came out hot on the offensive glass, snagging 12 offensive rebounds in the first period to help them stay in the game. Additionally, they were managing to keep Butler with passable defense, allowing 53% shooting from the field and generally answering every time Butler scored.
However, the signs of trouble were already there for IUPUI. In the first half, they only shot 12-33, meaning they rebounded more than half of their misses. Additionally, the team allowed McDermott to start 6-6 from the field, enabling him backdoor cuts and open threes off of movement. A theme that kept occurring in the first half was that every time IUPUI pulled within eight, Butler would score to increase that lead back to ten.
In the second half, the dam broke with Butler clamping down on the Jaguars. IUPUI shot 9-24 from the field, but only 1-10 from the three-point line, and 2-6 from the foul stripe. The offense bogged down, with IUPUI guards Jaylen Minnett and Marcus Burk combining to shoot 18 threes and making the only threes that IUPUI made. Burk shot 7-21 from the field, and Minnett shot 3-12. Butler badly outscored IUPUI in the paint, 50-22, and the Bulldogs had 19 points off of turnovers as opposed to 7 for IUPUI. McDermott and the Bulldogs got whatever they wanted, shooting 19-29 from the field in the second half.
After his first game as the coach of IUPUI, Byron Rimm II seemed despondent, saying that the effort was not there: “Our guys gotta learn how to trust each other, trust oneself, and I gotta learn how to trust them. We played like how we practiced, and it shows (them) that they cannot just do it their way.” He also relayed the story of how his team faded in the second half on the offensive glass: “First half we ran offense, let’s move the ball back and forth. But we come down (and) turn the ball over, we come down jack the shot, then we are not in the right position to get the ball. Second half it kinda got out of hand, we turned the ball over, guys got attitudes.”
IUPUI will next take on Bradley on the road this Saturday.
The Pacers have been bad to start the season. Even with a win on Wednesday, it has not looked good. That being, beating Brooklyn while enduring the loss of Myles Turner impresses me as well. That being said, let’s get to the grades:
Malcolm Brogdon, A
Were I to declare a standout player this season for the Pacers, it would be Brogdon. His shooting percentage is bad, but he is playing aggressively. He is shooting 17 times a game; if it keeps up, that would be his career high by five shots, averaging 22 points a game in the process. He is still shooting 38% from the three-point line, and he is currently compiling 11 assists a game. He is throwing dimes like this:
In the first game, Derrick Rose roasted everyone who guarded him, shooting six for his first six, and finishing with 18 in 27 minutes. In their second matchup, Brogdon snuffed him out, holding him to shooting 4-16 from the field. Kyrie Irving, who has been on fire, played good as opposed to lighting it up.
If Brogdon keeps playing this, then expect him to gun for Most Improved Player.
Justin Holiday, B
I do not have a lot to say about Justin Holiday. However, even after four games, one thing is blatantly clear: he should be playing more. He has been the Pacers’ best wing defender, and he is making a decent amount of threes. He really should be playing more than 21.5 minutes a game.
Domantas Sabonis, B-
Myles Turner, C+
You cannot talk about one without discussing the other, it really has been the story of the season. The offense has looked a lot better than I could have expected. Nate McMillan insists on playing 3-out, 2-in and it is not doing great, but it is also not terrible. However, it should be known that the Pacers inextricably looked better without Turner in Brooklyn; Sabonis had free reign to roam the paint, and he dominated Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan.
The three point defense is just worse when Sabonis and Turner (and TJ Warren) are in the game. These guys are both centers; they both want to be near the paint. This is fine if these are not two of your three best players; this is not fine when they are. For instance, this is a shot chart from their game against Cleveland on October 26th:
This is the shot chart from Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. We will see if opposing tough big men keep dominating them, like Andre Drummond on opening night.
I would be remiss if I did not say how much I enjoyed how Turner is playing this season. He is covering the weak side well as he usually does, and he has been decisive on offense. I am enjoying when he actually chooses to shoot, and he has been effective from beyond the arc. Here’s to hoping he’s back soon.
Wait to See
Jeremy Lamb, Incomplete
TJ Warren, Incomplete
Edmond Sumner, Incomplete
These guys I have not made my mind up on just yet. Warren has been very bad on defense, and shot the dumbest late shot I have ever seen. Lamb has really done nothing too noteworthy, and I admittedly do not trust Edmond Sumner. Sumner is a blackjack player who hits every time, and when you gamble as much as he does, the defense suffers. I am withholding judgement for the time being.
This team had a top three defense in the league last year. They do not have a top three defense this year, and I believe it is because of three key changes in personnel: Putting Sabonis in the starting lineup, and swapping Wesley Matthews and Bojan Bogdanovic for Jeremy Lamb and TJ Warren, respectively.
It is a known fact that a good defense does not happen overnight, but none of the additions were plus defensive players. Lamb has not been noticeably bad, but Warren dies on screens, and Sabonis cannot guard the perimeter. The Pacers 3-point defense has been bad from every area of the court, per NBA.com, and when Sabonis and Warren are the main defenders at the three and four, there is bound to be miscommunication and missteps. The season is still early, but I am very concerned with the Pacers this season. I am going to give it until around Christmas, however, to see how they gel.
If I know anything about Kanye West at this point in my life, it’s that he is a great producer. And in “Jesus is King”, his latest effort released last Friday night, is an impeccably produced album with great beats. But at this point, this is merely Kanye’s baseline. When he raps, it is better than most rappers, because he turned himself into a great rapper. But he does not rap great on this record, and he seems to just be ranting the whole album.
Kanye and his Christianity has had an interesting relationship throughout his time in the public eye. His breakout song, “Jesus Walks” is a plea for people to believe in God, and a plea to protect him from the devil. Then we get to “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, where one of the standout songs was “Devil in a New Dress”, which features prominently in the hook “I know I’m preaching to the congregation, We love Jesus but she done learned a lot from Satan.” By the time “Yeezus” came out in 2013, he had reached full major ego status, having a song titled “I Am A God” that is quite humorous for how ridiculous it is.
But on this album, he seems to be trying to convert people again- except this time, he sounds like so many of the people I went to school with, trying to explain that rap is the devil’s music even though this album contains many rap songs. He seems to be either professing his love of God (“Everything We Need” and “God Is”) and trying to make songs the way he usually does (“Follow God” and “Hands On”.) Some of the featuring decisions were good, especially when Ty Dolla $ign features on any song that requires his vocals. But having Kenny G, Pusha T, and Malice on a song in 2019 feels weird, and it did not make any sense.
To be honest, this album would have been improved if Kanye had conducted an orchestra and led a choir, to see his true musical chops. The first song, “Every Hour,” inspires hope that this might be a good gospel album, but “Selah” coming immediately after changes the tone of the album. Is it possible to have a good gospel album while having rapping? It sure can be, but I feel a choir and actual instruments would have amplified the experience for me. When you hear the choir doing background vocals, you hear the potential for the album.
I cannot leave without reflecting on a tweet I saw: “Kanye says God rewarded him with $68 million tax refund for becoming born-again Christian.” At best this is incredibly tone-deaf, and at worst this is exploitative and Kanye might be doing what I feared he might be doing: trying to take advantage of Christianity to help build his bank account. If he is doing that, my review changes to something more cynical.
But until that comes, I will settle on this album being boring, which is the last thing I ever expected from Kanye West.
If you want to read about my coverage on this album being pushed back, click here.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, but that time of year when ‘small sample size’ starts to mean even less than it did compared to the week before. The week where the Dallas Cowboys are currently on a three-game losing streak after starting off 3-0. The one where the Detroit Lions are looking like a good football team. But, I like awards, and projecting who might win them in any given season--without further ado, here are my top MVP candidates through this point in the season.5.) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (5-1)Rodgers has not been great this season. In fact, he has only thrown for more than 300 yards once, and thrown for more than 250 twice. However, the Packers defense has been phenomenal, and there is no way Green Bay would be 5-1 were it not for Rodgers. He might get some votes, but I don’t think his chances are that great.4.) Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (4-2)In the NFL, the only currency that can compare to touchdowns is yards. When massive yardage is earned on every possession, that gives an advantage to the offense that can help a backup quarterback keep the ship afloat. McCaffrey is a yardage monster who can get his yards via rushing or receiving, and he does both with astonishing regularity. Thus far, he leads the league in total touches, with 162, and in total yards from the line of scrimmage with 923. If he gained all those yards from the backfield, it would be impressive on its own. However, McCaffrey has gained 305 yards from the air, and has been gaining 8.7 yards after the catch this season, per Football Reference. If he can break the total yardage record, he could finish higher than fourth in the MVP voting.3.) Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)Mahomes has been the best quarterback in the league for the last year and a half. Still, he has been contained for the last two weeks, first by the Colts and then by the Texans. You could argue that this is because of subpar performances from the offensive line or not having many capable targets the last couple weeks. Even when he struggles, though, he’s still the scariest player in the league: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSezUAV9UUkThis play alone encapsulates why he’s so scary. He evades the pressure ten yards behind the line of scrimmage, and then throws a dart thirty yards into the end zone. If the Chiefs regain momentum (definitely possible), then look for Mahomes to possibly repeat as MVP.2.) Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins (0-5)Just kidding, just wanted to make sure you were still reading. 2.) Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (4-2)You look at the top three candidates on the list and they all have similarities. They all scramble and consistently make something out of nothing (you can probably figure out who number one is, but we’ll keep it suspenseful for now.) Watson and Mahomes are going to be intertwined when it comes to narratives because they were picked in such close proximity (unfortunately for Mitch Trubisky.) Watson has had some low yardage passing games; however, those games came when a majority of their offense was generated from the run game. What does that tell me? That Watson can determine which facet is working best in the game, and then use that to his advantage. When he has adequate protection, he is one of the top quarterbacks in the league--we’ll see how this goes.1.) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (5-1)Is it a little self-serving that I am choosing the guy who I picked in the prediction piece for this publication? Perhaps, but Wilson has been balling out this year. I don’t think it is ridiculous to say that the Seahawks would not be 5-1 were it not for the best efforts of their quarterback. He is Mahomes with a worse publicist, and possibly more entertaining. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNYo8ziwHzYThis video is the Wilson experience in a nutshell. He maneuvers around the pocket with a dexterity and smoothness that should not be possible. He is a great runner, and he keeps plays alive and basically wills wide receivers open. He does it and makes it look incredibly easy, all while helping Seattle put out a great offense. Thus far, he has been the MVP. Let’s see if he can keep it up.
This past offseason, the Indiana Pacers drastically changed the way their team was structured from last season. Now that the new season is here, we are going to look at the starting lineup and see how they could possibly mesh. StartersProjected Starting Five (Oladipo Out)G Malcolm BrogdonG Jeremy LambF TJ WarrenF Domantas SabonisC Myles Turner There are a lot of positional ways this team could go, particularly if they wanted to go small. Warren can play the three or the four, Lamb can play the two or the three, Brogdon (in theory) can play the one or the two. Additionally, this team has firepower that the Pacers have lacked for a good while. Warren is great at putting the ball in the basket, as he has averaged 19 points a game for the Suns the past two years.However, Warren is where my concerns start for the Pacers. He really just cannot play defense, and might be the worst defensive player the Pacers have had since the end of Reggie Miller’s career. It’s that bad. Defensive statistics can be flawed, but per NBA.com, Warren had no negative differential on what his opponents shot from anywhere on the floor. Just to compare, Myles Turner made his opponents shoot worse in just about every situation. Not to mention Warren’s apparent inability to make plays for others (here is a 40 point game he had against Washington where he only passed the ball to get it back), and his lack of rebounding ability, Warren is what we in the biz like to call a one dimensional player. This can be a compliment, albeit a backhanded one, but when you can put the ball in the basket like TJ Warren can, the good has to be taken with the bad. It’s just a lot of bad.Another area of concern I have is: just how good is Jeremy Lamb? He put up 15 points a game in Charlotte last season, but somebody had to. There is a phenomenon in the NBA, where one player usually cannot take 30 shots a game, so the shots just have to go to other people on the team. For the Pacers the last couple seasons, those shots typically went to Bojan Bodganovic or Sabonis off the bench. Kemba Walker could not shoot every shot in Charlotte, so 12 a game were apportioned to Lamb, where he managed to get 15 points a game out of them. If the Pacers are able to get Lamb wide open threes, then he should he be good, as he drained 40% of wide open threes last year. However, if he dribbles or holds the ball for an extended period of time, then he will struggle. I believe if the Pacers ask him to be a playmaker next season, it could spell trouble for Indiana. Malcolm Brogdon had a career year for Milwaukee last season. He managed to join the 50/40/90 club, where you shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the 3-point line. However, this is no offense to Brogdon, but the offense was very catered to his strengths last season. He played with the MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and played his role about as well as you can play a role, and you could argue he was Milwaukee’s second best player during the playoffs. However, he is going to be asked to play point guard this year for the Pacers.I do not believe it is an understatement that until Victor Oladipo returns, the Pacers chances for a good playoff seed hinge on Brogdon’s ability to make plays for others. Say what you will about Darren Collison (and believe me, I have said a lot), but there was something to be said for being a 10-year point guard who knows how to run a ship, especially the way your coach wants it to be run. I just do not have faith in Brodgon’s ability to make diverse plays out of the pick and roll. If you watched Milwaukee last season, Brogdon either would shoot a wide open three, or use a ball fake to get a lefty layup. I have already written about Myles Turner, but I think he should probably be fine in the long run. My question is how Sabonis fares at the power forward position, and how the tandem of Turner and Sabonis perform on offense. Offensively, the pairing should work in theory- however, as I noted in my Turner article, Turner’s favorite spots are in the mid-range, while 98% of Sabonis’ shots come from inside the 3-point arc, and his average shot distance is 6.2 feet from the basket. On defense, however, this grand experiment might collapse. Sabonis is a center by trade, and to have Turner guarding wings is borderline malpractice. Just ask yourself, is it a good idea to have the league leader in blocks guarding the perimeter rather than the paint? [fvplayer id="15"] The beginning of this video is a good explainer of why this pairing might be doomed on the defensive end. I do not think it will last very long, but we will wait and see.So to recap, we have Warren, a defensive sieve who does not know how to pass; Lamb, a wing who we doesn’t actually know how good he is; Brogdon, an unproven playmaker coming from a situation tailormade to his strengths; and Turner and Sabonis, two centers trying to play in a league where the concept has all but died. I think until Oladipo gets back, the team is going to struggle big time. Nate McMillan is a good coach, but if Oladipo gets back after the All-Star break, do not be surprised if Indiana finishes in the bottom half of the playoff bracket.
“Dark Knight feelin', die and be a hero
Or live long enough to see yourself become a villain”
-Jay-Z, ‘So Appalled’
On his spectacular debut album “The College Dropout”, Kanye West came out with a song titled “Never Let Me Down.” The gist of the song is that, despite whatever trials and tribulations that Kanye and Jay-Z went through, they would never let us down. Now it may be telling that I am willing to take rappers at their words when it comes to things like that, but here I am.
I used to be a bigger fan of different artists, but as time has gone on and I listen more to the older songs, West’s work stands out. Ask me my favorite Kanye album, the answer differs by the day (That answer will never be “Graduation”, though.) When he releases albums, I will always want to think that I will not be left dissatisfied with the end product.
I was led to believe that Kanye would be releasing his latest album, “Jesus is King”, this past Friday. As of October 3rd, this album has not hit the internet, vinyl, or any other way I could possibly listen to it. According to TMZ, Kanye said the album is finished, but every time that he listens to it, he keeps wanting to tweak it. I guess that is understandable because Kanye has a reputation for being methodical.
In my experience, the best music makes you think in selfish ways. When I listen to OutKast, I feel a certain way about the world. When I listen to Kanye’s old stuff, it makes me feel a lot of emotions, because his songs are one of innate emotions.
This feels like a good time to disclose that I am not particularly religious, but I was looking forward to a Kanye West gospel album. The man can get the most out of many beats, and it would have been interesting to hear him with a chorus, and how he could get other featuring artists, who mainly do secular music, to get them to a religious tune. His mind is one that sees famed hip hop group Clipse be on a song with Kenny G.
I knew in the back of my mind the album was not going to come out on September 27th, even as my anticipation built. I knew once it did not drop on that day, it was not going to come out on the 29th, which was that Sunday. I knew, even while writing this, we probably are not going to see that album for a good while.
Is it possible the game has passed Kanye by? It could be true, but this is an era where older rappers are thriving in a way they never have. Pusha T, who is the president of Kanye’s label, put out a world-class album last year in Daytona while he was 41. 2 Chainz, a contemporary of Kanye’s, has been largely successful in the rap game after 35 and has put out a couple of good albums after he hit 40. Jay-Z released “4:44” when he was 47.
However, Kanye’s last couple of albums can be best described as mediocre and more accurately described as lackluster. He seems to not know which direction he wants to go with his music, and it is starting to show. I thought I would be listening to this album after midnight, enjoying a crisp album. However, none of that has happened, and it makes me sad. I want to experience that new music from my favorite artist. After years of making great music, he did it. He finally let me down.
Warning: this review contains spoilers.
The recession was hard on everybody. These women took it upon themselves to make sure it was not hard on them.
"Hustlers" is not what it appears to be at first glance. What starts as what seems to be a movie about strip clubs turns into a heist thriller where you can see the pyramid collapsing from within. And yet, in the end, you still find a way to appreciate, if not love, the main characters.
Dorothy (Constance Wu) is a girl who goes into stripping to support her grandmother. While she is at the club, she befriends Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez, who takes Dorothy under her wing.
Things were going great at the club until the great recession hit. Dorothy, Ramona and two other characters decide to take matters into their own hands and make more money through scams. Although they were making money, the scams weren’t sustainable, and everything came crashing down in the climax of the movie.
Dorothy is the narrator and the supposed through-line of the story. However, the story is really propelled when it is Ramona doing the heavy lifting. Ramona’s story is relatable, a hustler whose hustle was taken away, having to resort to a dirtier hustle that becomes more lucrative. It doesn’t hurt that Ramona is so charismatic in every scene of this movie, being the cool hand that guides the creaky ship.
It was remarkable to me that Lopez was able to feel maternal in some parts of the movie, while in others acting as the honcho in the heist movies. It is a very difficult tightrope to maintain, but Lopez is so agile as an actor in this film that she makes the tightrope seem like a sidewalk.
There was a huge component of the movie that involved drugging victims of the crimes. It made me uncomfortable to see the characters taking advantage of their victims. I found it interesting and upsetting to see Dorothy and Ramona try to justify it in their own way.
When Ramona eventually breaks, like all movie characters of her ilk must, it is not before the audience is rooting for her to succeed. The mark of a good movie is when the audience is wishing success for people that have questionable morals, and this movie does that. Jennifer Lopez is going to be nominated for this movie, and she deserves it because she dominated this movie.
I know I mostly talked about Lopez, but Constance Wu did a fine job in the movie, and it was remarkably produced. It was one of the best movies I have seen this year, and you should see it, too.
Myles Turner has had an up and down FIBA World Cup. It might foreshadow how he will play in the regular season and playoffs this year. For me, it showed how he might fare this season, particularly without Thaddeus Young.
Turner has a game that might best be described as ‘finesse’. Turner is a very good defensive center who understands positioning and gets a lot of blocks, where he actually led the league last season. He also has good touch on his outside shot, where he shot 39% from the three point line and 41% from the field (via basketball reference).
However, for some reason, he did not really play to his strengths in this tournament. It might have been the coaching of Gregg Popovich, where he was dropping in the pick and roll and was not staying at the three point line. It could have been international basketball, where teams have more of a tendency to play zone rather than man, although one would think Turner’s shooting could help bust zones. The play below illustrates his playmaking struggles:
In this play, Turner short rolls instead of popping or going hard to the rim, and when he catches the ball in the short corner, he goes into a weird post move where he gets nothing but air. Also, something that sticks in my craw about Turner’s game is that most of the time when he is trying to set screens, he does not make contact and just rolls right to the rim. Makes it seem like he is scared to make contact. Slipping the screen (which is what he is doing is called were it to be intentional) only works when you actually make contact from time to time.
Here, Turner is just kind of standing right by Kemba Walker’s drive, giving him another defender in Kemba’s immediate vicinity.
Another area where Turner struggled was the physicality of the game. Per nba.com, Turner and Nikola Jokic both weigh 250 pounds. I do not know if you have seen Jokic or Turner, but they are not both 250 pounds. Something’s not right here. Anderson Varejao, Turner’s main matchup, was listed as 273 pounds during his NBA career. Rudy Gobert is listed at 245 and, while he is slender, he still appears to have more meat on his bones than Turner does. The strength and ability to bully is the biggest concern when watching Turner to me; while there is nothing wrong with being a finesse big man, finesse is not the best way to go if you’re going to be a rim protector.
Turner in this video gets shoved out of the way by Cristiano Felicio, allowing the offensive rebound. Felicio played less than eight minutes in this game, and grabbed two offensive rebounds. According to Basketball Reference, the leader in defensive rebound percentage was Hassan Whiteside at 35.88%; Turner managed to grab a measly 22% of defensive rebounds.
On this possession, Varejao bullies Turner out of his way for an offensive rebound. Varejao just seems to bully Turner far enough under the rim so he can just grab the board and kick it back out to the wing; Varejao bullied Turner through the course of this game.
Myles Turner is trying to seal Leandro Barbosa in this clip, and fails miserably. Barbosa is listed at 194 pounds, meaning he likely weighs 20 pounds less than that. The fact that Turner could not hold Barbosa behind him is concerning.
Turner is not in the action in this clip, and that to me seems to be an issue. Smart switches with Turner after a screen, and handles Varejao better than Turner had up to that point. Smart is a rugged defender, and would actually fit quite nicely on the Pacers.
I know I have gone over the negatives, but I saw some things I liked from Turner in this tournament.
He shot 51% from inside the arc during the tournament, and not all of those shots were layups.
On this shot, Turner rolls to the short corner, only this time he goes up right when he catches the ball. His touch is soft and he banks the shot in.
On this play against Serbia, he sets a good hard screen (for once) and finishes a nice floater with some solid touch. In addition to that, he also for the most part has been rolling to the rim or the dunkers spot, allowing Team USA to sometimes get some good ball movement and get the team set up for the three.
Turner rolls hard, and sets up Jaylen Brown for a potential nice jumpshot, which Brown did not end up shooting. Donovan Mitchell gets the tough rebound and Turner fills the lane correctly, leading to an easy layup.
Where Turner shines on defense is his weak side defense, from where he can come over and stuff the daylights out of most shots.
Here, Varejao gets what he believes to be an easy lane to the basket, until Turner uses his speed and athleticism (and maybe Varejao’s lack thereof) to get back to the ball and block the shot.
Turner’s defense is where he is most important. If you were to combine Domantas Sabonis offensive feel with the strengths of Turner’s game, you might have one of the best players in the league. Alas, basketball, nor life, works this way. When Oladipo returns, he should have easier touches. However, missing Thaddeus Young might be their crutch this year, because he was able to cover for Sabonis and Turner’s weaknesses on the defensive end. In addition, switching from Bojan Bogdanovic to TJ Warren might hurt how he is set up, seeing as Warren would not know the meaning of passing if you held the definition right in his face.
This tournament fortified my belief that the Pacers need to trade either Sabonis or Turner. They both are centers, and neither can guard power forwards at this point in their career. My bet is that they trade Sabonis, especially since all of Sabonis’s success last season was against bench players, and he’s far worse defensively. If the FIBA World Cup was any indication, keeping Turner might work out yet.