Archive for the ‘Indiana Pacers’ Category

Ever since I moved to Canada, I’ve become fascinated with the UFC to the point where I’m watching all the events and can usually distinguish one guy’s tattoos from another. It’s fun, and when I realized that last night’s UFC Fight Night was in Indianapolis, I said, “Roy Hibbert should be there. He loves MMA.” Lo and behold, there he is, the huge guy in the plaid shirt who keeps messing with his phone in the background of the Takeya Mizugaki-Erik Perez fight.

Funnily enough, that phone came in handy, because Roy Hibbert was blowing up the internet with all kinds of UFC stuff. For instance, this:

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tony-snell-showing-off-uniform

With the dust mostly settled on this offseason’s player movement — and there was a whole lot of it this year — it’s time to take stock of all the fascinating new faces in new places, as well as the more compelling stories of players who will face new challenges while sticking around. Over the course of the next few weeks, Andrew Unterberger will do a team-by-team look at the most interesting players going into next season — one new to the team, and one returning — as we all try to pass the dog days of NBA-less summer, dreaming of hoops-filled months to come. The series continues today with the teams in the Central Division: the Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers and Bucks.

CHICAGO BULLS

Most Interesting New Player: Tony Snell

Not a ton to choose from here, obviously — it’s Snell, fellow rookie Erik Murphy, and reserve sharp-shooter Mike Dunleavy, now about a team away from officially reaching journeyman status. Murphy seems unlikely to make a huge impact, Dunleavy’s impact will be decent but predictable, but Snell intrigues me. From his play in Summer League, he looks a lot like budding Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, and I of course mean that in the most literal sense — with his dreads, tall but slight build, and expressionless demeanor, there’s probably not a better physical comp in the league for Leonard than Snell. But he also looks like he could maybe provide a good poor man’s facsimile of Leonard’s skills: solid three-point stroke (39 percent his final season at UNM), long and athletic wing defender (6-foot-7 for a nominal shooting guard), toughness to spare. We’ll see if it actually pans out as such, but from the little I saw, I was impressed.

In general, I was also impressed with the way the Bulls basically oriented their entire offseason around one simple strategy: improving their outside shooting. Maybe not all of Snell, Murphy and Dunleavy will end up being legit contributors to the team, but if two of them do, that’s a simple dimension added to the Bulls’ attack that simply wasn’t there last season, when Jimmy Butler and the departed Nate Robinson were the only outside threats of any consistency. Nothing too sexy, but you never know when an outside shot or two could make the critical difference in an Eastern Conference playoff game, even a whole series. Definitely better to have than not have.

Most Interesting Returning Player: Derrick Rose

Would’ve loved to say Jimmy Butler here, since I’m fascinated to see if he can continue the improvement of his breakout season and become the near-All-Star contributor I feel he might could be, but c’mon. There’ll be no bigger story the first month of the season — with the possible exception of Dwight’s first games in Houston, but I can certainly tell you which of the two I’m more excited for — than D-Rose’s return to the Bulls lineup after a full year’s absence. I practically had heart palpitations when they announced that the first TNT game this year was going be the Rose-led Bulls against the two-time-defending Heat — there might not be a better opening night matchup possible than those two old foes squaring off with both sides finally back at full strength.

Can a fully healthy Derrick Rose lead the Bulls past the Heat in the East playoffs? For now, I’m still pretty skeptical, but to have one more legitimate challengers to the throne — in a season where there are already one or two other credible contenders on the far side of the map as well — should certainly make things more interesting (and less depressing), for the regular season and beyond. I can’t wait.

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roy-hibbert-high-school-button

It’s hard to be precise about the date of this picture, but Roy Hibbert definitely played for an AAU team called the DC Blue Devils prior to 2003, so this picture is at least 10 years old. And just judging from the shoulders-up looks of it, at least 75 pounds ago. It’s such a reverse Marc Gasol that HibDibs even kind of looked a bit like Tracy McGrady back in the day.

Also, in high school, Roy Hibbert was taller than a backboard.

When I first started to watch this, I was like, “Eh, Google Glass videos aren’t really that interesting to me. I think you have to actually wear them to appreciate them.” But then Roy Hibbert started dunking and blocking shots and catching alley-oops off the backboard while looking pretty much directly at the net and I was sold. Being super duper tall seems like fun.

(via Daniel Beyer)

malice-cup

Here is a fun and possibly fake internet story, via Redditor “salmon10″:

It was 3 days before my 20th birthday. What better a gift than a Pistons game that was bound to be a tug of war rematch of the previous year’s titanic Eastern Conference Finals. Myself, my girlfriend, and my best friend from college had scored amazing seats, in section 115, row CC. Three rows behind the Detroit bench. It was heaven (In a twist of fate, I’ve sat in that exact row now 4 times since then..). The game itself was a slight disappointment, for a victory wouldve been an excellent early present. I remember Rasheed and Darvin Ham had a particular great game. I despised the Pacers, but respected them utmost. Hell, I was and to this day an enormous Artest/World Peace fan. I think he would’ve made one hell of a Piston in fact.

Fast forward to the moments after The Shove. The Detroit bench was surprisingly hostile, and I remember clearly Elden Campbell heightening the situation by making crying sounds, trying to entice Artest or whomever. It was strange, considering I always thought of him as a gentle giant. Anyways, Artest starts to calm down and decides to lay upon the scorers table, about 25 feet from myself and my company. Both benches are standing and shouting at one another. It was getting pretty damn grim. My girlfriend and I were panning the audience, the little that had remained, and everyone’s look was that of worry and clairvoyance, as if we all knew that things were going to come to a head. As I was looking to the left of me, one section over and maybe 6 rows back, I witness very obviously a man in blue Pistons garb throw his drink toward the court.(This man has since been identified as John Green). The timing, and aim, couldn’t have been more devastating. My girlfriend had seen him toss the cup the exact same time I did. What happens next is one giant cacophony of regret and shame on the part of the mob-mentality fans and players. When Artest started to lunge upon the fans, I recall Rick Mahorn, who was doing the local TV play by play, leap out of his seat and go after Artest and pulled fans away. Mind you this was all occurring no more than 30 feet from us. All the meanwhile the security had hardly any control of the situation, and fans were already entering the court. The entire time, I never took my eyes off the Cup. It was repeatedly kicked and swatted, with no one as much thinking to jump upon it. At one time, when Jermaine ONeal had just slide-punched one fan, he was being restrained by Johnathan Bender and other teammates. During this melee, one of them had managed to kick it (along with many other things that were thrown upon the court) clear across the court and right in front of Larry Brown, who at this time was trying to comfort his son whom was the ball boy.

Fast forward to about 4 minutes after the players had left for the locker rooms. Mason, the announcer, and other police/security guards were demanding we all leave in a calm fashion as quickly as possible. I had to retrieve that Cup. I had in my mind the idea that if I myself were to get it, I would be pepper sprayed or some sort of force would be taken upon me. So, being the kind hearted gentleman I am, I asked my girlfriend to lunge for it. She obliged immediately, and simply walked down to the court and picked it up. At this point, security was not within 100 feet of us, and the Cup itself was still laying where it had been for a good 10 minutes. She picks it up, still with traces of liquid in it, which was not alcohol but definitely a soda of some sort. She hands it to me, I tell her to place it in her purse. The three of us leave with gusto.

Now it resides at my father’s home. No markings of the chaos, no real authenticity of the event. Just the story that can be vouched by other people, and just maybe video somewhere out there. To this day I refuse to watch footage of the Malice. Just thinking about it makes my eyes well up, I get a lump in my throat and I am overcome with remorse. A lot of things changed that night, most for the better, but the images and stories I ponder from that night will live with me forever, as will this mundane yet infamous article of NBA history.

Well, even though Darvin Ham threw up a pretty Darvin Ham-ish zero points and one rebound in 11 minutes, Rasheed Wallace did have a nice 19-10 outing, so I guess this story which is impossible to verify holds up. I mean, Rick Mahorn is definitely in the mix once things get crazy, plus this cup certainly does look exactly like the Ron Artest chest cup.

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roy-hibbert-the-big-red-dog

“Roy Hibbert is big as s–.”Nerlens Noel, future scout

pacers-sleeved-summer-league-jerseys

“what is that?!? Keep away.”Roy Hibbert, former sleeve-wearer who will not play for the Pacers’ summer league team as he is an established veteran player, upon seeing the Pacers’ sleeved summer league jerseys

(via BDL)