Brian Shaw likes Pacers adding Bynum, thinks he’ll help — if healthy
Before Frank Vogel and Pacers officials met with Andrew Bynum and Bynum’s agent over dinner on Jan. 31, a Friday night, Vogel made a phone call to a former assistant. That call was to Denver, where Brian Shaw is in his first year as the Nuggets head coach. He was preparing to play the Toronto Raptors that night.
“Gave them my two cents on Andrew, and what have you,” he said. “I woke up the next morning to see that they had signed him.”
Prior to being Vogel’s right-hand man for two seasons in Indy, Brian Shaw was an assistant coach under Phil Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers for Bynum’s first six seasons in the league. Shaw, a player’s coach and a former player himself, has a great feel for people so who better to get a pulse on the Pacers’ newest addition than Shaw?
“When Andrew is healthy, first and foremost, which he hasn’t been most of his career — but when he is healthy, he’ll be able to help this team out a lot because he’s a load out there on the floor,” Shaw said after he finished holding shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “He can rebound, he takes up space, he can protect the rim, he can score inside and he’s also a good passer. That’s No. 1.
“I think a lot of stuff that’s out there about him — he’s a good guy. He’s not a bad guy. I think he’s been in some situations when he hasn’t really respected the coach and the program that he’s been under. I know that in his personal life, he’s dealing with some things with his mom and so he’s kind of been a little distracted, which could be expected with what he’s dealing with.
“I think it’s a great pickup for the Pacers, in that I know what he is capable of. He was a big part of the two championships we won in ’09 and 2010, and it’s a situation where if he’s able to get healthy and get out there, he’ll help the team. If it doesn’t, they don’t lose anything by trying to bring him along.”
Before the 2012-13 season, the Lakers traded Bynum to Philadelphia, but he never played a minute for the 76ers due to knee injuries. Then on July 19, 2013, he elected to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bynum played 24 games in a Cavs’ uniform, starting in 19, and averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
On Jan. 7, the Cavaliers sent him to the Chicago Bulls, who subsequently waived the 7-footer. The Pacers own the best record in The Association, 39-11, so now in a good situation with a championship in sight, might that be enough to motivate Bynum while also helping him repair his reputation?
“That’s what is all about,” said Shaw. “Trying to get yourself in position to be able to win a championship. The core group is fixed. The formula that Frank Vogel has here works. It’s proven. … The team doesn’t have to adjust to Andrew Bynum. He has to fit in to a system that’s already working.”
“If he’s healthy and he can get out there on the floor, he’s going to contribute. Whatever it is. I think at this point he realizes that his last couple of stops haven’t been good, and hasn’t helped his reputation, … and I don’t think he wants to go out like that.”
A decision as to when Bynum will make his debut with the Pacers won’t come until a week or two after the All-Star break.
Paul George’s Next Area for Growth: Dealing With Officials
We’ve all seen it.
Paul George drives to the hoop or fires a mid-range shot, misses, and then pleads for a foul. Or take Sunday night’s loss in Orlando, where George pulled up for an 18-foot game-winning jumper but he missed and then fell to the ground.
“I thought I got hit,” George said afterwards. “I think I got hit up top. I feel like Big Baby finished through me on the shot. It is what it is.”
For the last few months, George’s frustration with officials has been mounting. He frequently now pleads his case to officials but it hasn’t seemed to help.
Brian Shaw, who’s in his corner and helped him tremendously the last two years, has seen George voice his displeasure, too, and plans to talk to him about it tonight before the Pacers and Nuggets play.
“I still watch all the Pacers’ games,” Shaw said. “The last couple of years, it’s been something that I’ve been on him constantly about because there’s superstars in the league that complain on every single call. We always talked about not wanting to be one of those guys, not wanting to be in those categories. We had a thing around here that we said, ‘We punish criers.’ When a guy is crying to an official, the other team is running the ball down your throat while you’re back there complaining. You’re not going to change the call.
“A lot of times when you think you get fouled, you didn’t. There’s nothing you can do about it [so] don’t waste the energy and that negativity. I’ve never seen a referee five seconds after he makes a call and the play is still going on, say, ‘You know what, you’re right, I was wrong. Let’s put five more seconds on the clock and go back. It was a foul.’ He’s not going to change that.
“That’s something that he’s going to have to continue to try and get better at as he progresses as a player. I constantly stayed on him about it when I was here and if I was critiquing him from afar, which I am now, he still has to grow in that area.”
Quincy Miller to Start
Ty Lawson fractured a left rib in their loss Saturday night to Detroit. He’s certainly out tonight and there’s no timetable for his return.
“I would imagine that it would be a while,” Shaw said.
With Lawson out, Shaw is opting to start second-year guard Quincy Miller. Randy Foye will have the point guard responsibilities from the tip for the Nuggets, who’ve lost two in a row.
“I have to keep somebody in the second unit that can do some of the ball handling,” said Shaw. “Bringing Evan [Fournier] in with the second unit to kind of relieve Randy [Foye] when he comes out of the game, and having the combination of Evan and Jordan Hamilton, who’s played some guard with us and can help handle the ball.
“Putting that size (of Miller) on Lance Stephenson, who’s a strong, physical player, will hopefully bother him a little bit.”
The 6-foot-9 shooting guard will make his fourth start of the season.