NBA Roundtable

Larry Bird On 2011 Pacers

In General NBA on May 3, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Some interesting quotes from Larry Bird on his 2011 Indiana Pacers players

Danny Granger

Granger had a good playoff series, but Bird felt he took some small steps backward this year and wants to see him step up his game.

“He’s a top-30 player,” Bird said. “I’ve always thought he could be an All-Star and he’s close, but he’s not there yet. I didn’t think he was as committed consistently as he’s been in the past. It would be really nice if he could be our second scorer.”

Paul George

Paul George has to learn how to put the ball on the floor and create more scoring opportunities inside the 3-point arc. That said, Bird loves his work ethic, calling him “one of the five best young guys I’ve been around in all my years in the game.”

Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough has to develop more ways to score, including developing a left hand and some subtle moves around the hoop. On a 50-plus-win team, he’s probably a 25 minutes per game rotation player.

“With him now, it’s in-game adjustments,” Bird said. “When they switch the way they’re playing him, he has a hard time picking it up and adjusting, and he’s getting frustrated. But that takes time.”

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson has to have some kind of personal revelation this summer, or he’s going to waste a precious gift.

“When he’s playing, he’s fine and has as much talent as anybody on this team,” Bird said. “He’s a long shot, but he’s my ace in the hole. If we can get him to grow up, he knows how to play . . .

“I know he’s a pain in the ass and the guys in the locker room get frustrated with him, but I’m not giving up on him. Unless he does something crazy.”

Pacers Main Needs

“Anybody who watches us play a little bit and has any basketball IQ knows what we need,” team president Larry Bird said Tuesday. “It’s no secret. Everybody around the league knows what we’re looking for in the draft and free agency.”

No. 1: A long, athletic power forward who can score and defend at the basket.

No. 2: Another perimeter scorer (O.J. Mayo?) who can take some of the load off Danny Granger.

Interesting thoughts from Larry.

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