On the Airwaves: Donnie Walsh on the Pacers
Indiana Pacers consultant and former team president Donnie Walsh appeared on national radio Thursday morning. Walsh was a guest on ESPN’s national syndicated morning show Mike and Mike, where he discussed the Pacers’ recent four-game slide, the addition of Andrew Bynum and also what Phil Jackson could expect if he became the New York Knicks’ team president, as numerous reports say.
On Indiana’s recent lulls:
“Well, it’s almost like you look at the team and you can see they’re relaxing a little bit because they have a great record and they think they can go out on the floor and just win the games — which this team did for a long while, where they weren’t playing that well during the first three quarters, and then come back in the fourth quarter and win the game. If you do that, that’s going to catch up to you. It caught up to us. I think our coaches and players, boom, they’re aware now, and so they’re trying to get it back and I think they will get it back.
“I think we have a good group of young guys that want to win. They realize now that we’re coming down to the end where every game is important. And they’ll direct themselves to it. I like the team, I like the way they’ve played this year. We’re trying to get the best seeding we can get, and so the remaining games are really important for us.”
On what he hopes to get out of newcomer Andrew Bynum:
“Well, we have Roy Hibbert and Bynum. That’s two of the biggest centers in the league, two of the more talented or guys that are going to have an impact on the game in the league. Andrew has come here and worked very hard, and got himself into the other game the other night when we weren’t 100 percent sure that he was going to be able to do that. And he played very, very well. He’s a really good center, as is Roy. We think we have a two-headed monster now and that eventually will help us a lot. It already has helped us in the game the other night. He had pretty much an immediate-success type game.”
On what he’s seen from Bynum, in terms of effort and desire to play again:
“Well, I’m glad you brought that up because basically … we’ve been on the road a lot and he’s been here alone going through the weight programs, conditioning programs and on-the-court work and so it’s not a whole lot of fun. He stayed with us after he got here. In other words, he didn’t go off with the team for a week and stayed here and worked really hard during that period. And that showed us a lot. And it basically helped him. I haven’t seen (lack of effort or desire) at all.
“I think he does want to play. I think when he gets out on the floor, he can play. And we’ll see if his legs hold up. That is a question mark. We don’t know that, and I don’t think he knows that. But I think he has gone by whatever our medical people have told him to do and it seems to be working for him. We’re keeping our fingers crossed on that part of it.”
On Phil Jackson potentially joining the Knicks as an executive:
“If he did, he’d be a great choice. He’s a tremendous basketball mind, and I think he’d enjoy it because he’s going back to the city where he won championships. He lived there. He understands New York. I did as well, because I grew up there, and he’ll enjoy it. I enjoyed every minute I was in New York, even though it was a difficult job and it will be for anybody who takes that job. I really had a great time there because the fans are so involved. Everybody in the city on a day-by-day basis is interested in the Knicks.”