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West brings jump shots, professionalism to young Pacers

Jan 3, 2012, 10:06 PM EDT

Jonas Jerebko, David West AP

The Indiana Pacers are 4-1. Let that sink in for a second. They’ve done it against a soft schedule (something changing this week with the Heat and Celtics on deck), but in years past the Pacers did not consistently beat the teams they were supposed to beat.

This year is different for a few reasons — Roy Hibbert’s maturity, a very versatile defense that is allowing just 95.7 points per 100 possessions (second best in the league), and they are healthy (knock on wood).

The glue bringing it all together is free agent pick up David West, explains Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo. Last season the Pacers were a team that had a fun but not very professional locker room. That has changed.

“I don’t tolerate a lot of ignorance, and I think guys are starting to figure that out,” West said. “I’m not a preachy guy, but I just try to represent something different in terms of who I am.”

“He does a lot of one-on-one mentoring, and does it every day,” (Pacers coach Frank) Vogel said. “Just his presence – guys are going to think twice before they handle themselves the wrong way. Big brother is there. He’s a good observer; he knows what the right chemistry feels like. He knows when guys need hugs, when guys need a kick in the butt.”

Right now, West and Darren Collison are running the pick-and-pop as well as anyone in the NBA. It has opened up the Pacers offense and provided balance. Granger still leads the way(17 per game) but after that Hibbert, West, Tyler Hansbrough and Paul George all average 12 points a game — it’s tough to defend that type of balance.

If the Pacers can continue to grow and defend, they are going to become that team that the elite teams like the Celtics and Knicks really don’t want to see in the first round. They have a team that will not go quietly as they did a year ago.

  1. bparmalee - Jan 3, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    You had me until you called the Celtics and the Knicks elite teams. I dont think you can be considered an elite team if there are 2 teams clearly better than you in your conference. The Bulls and Heat are still the class of the East..the Hawks might even be the 3rd best team. So Celtics and Knicks….good…. but not at all elite.

  2. ctguns - Jan 3, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Since when did the Knicks become elite??

  3. goforthanddie - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    “The Indiana Pacers are 4-1. Let that sink in for a second. They’ve done it against a soft schedule (something changing this week with the Heat and Celtics on deck)”

    You speak of soft schedules. Boston’s 3-3, with 2 wins over WASH and one over Detroit.
    Do you see the problem?

  4. 00maltliquor - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    What I tell you about those Pacers! Surprising everyone but me.

  5. karlton2 - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    “They have a team that will not go quietly as they did a year ago.”

    Quietly? They beat on the Bulls for the first four games of the series where the Bulls outscored them by a total of ten points. If that series was quiet, the NBA doesn’t want to see rough.

  6. wiLQ - Jan 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    He maybe brings the professionalism to young Pacers but that was a nice joke with his jump shot… his FG%=40,7% so in that category he didn’t contribute to those wins [yet].

  7. metalhead65 - Jan 4, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    nice dig at the pacers record, who cares who they have played as long as they have the record they do. last time I checked you do not get bonus points because the teams you beat records are not very good. do you mention the records of of the teams your beloved heat beat when they win? and as was pointed out by kalton2 the pacers may have lost to the bulls but they did not go out very quietly to them in the playoffs last year. the pacers are a young and improving team with a bright future let tnem and their fans enjoy it after all they have gone thru the last few years with thugs for players and the horrible coaching of obrien. where all those people now who said Larry Bird did not know what he was doing? he had a plan and stuck with and thanks to that pacer fans have something to look forward to besides police reports and lousy records.

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