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Eddie Gill, Indiana Pacers TV Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
May 20, 2024 8:50 pm

Eddie Gill, Indiana Pacers TV Analyst

JR Sports Brief / JR

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May 20, 2024 8:50 pm

Eddie Gill joined JR to discuss the historic Game 7 performance from the Pacers and the path for Indiana to take down the Celtics. 

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Minimum $10 per order. Additional terms apply. Eddie, appreciate the time, man. Yes, sir.

I appreciate your job. When you look at this Indiana Pacers team and how young they are, especially given their youth, was there an expectation from the fan base that they would be in this spot so quickly? I don't know if there was an expectation, but there was definitely a hope, right? So it's been quite some time since the Pacers have reached this level of success, particularly in the playoffs.

And you think about the last couple seasons, it really has been less than ideal, to say the least. But man, I give them a ton of credit for the maturation of the team, the moves that have been made from a management standpoint, especially with the acquisition of Pascal Thiokam. I think he was the one that tilted it in a playoff direction where the expectations significantly changed.

Although I think even without him coming in at the beginning of the season, they were hopeful and expecting to at least get into the playoffs. But when he joined the team, it definitely went to another level. And although there is a fair amount of inexperience in terms of the young players, I think they matured in a rapid way. Rick Carlisle and his staff have done a really good job of expediting some of that maturation.

As you know, experience is our greatest teacher. And the first round I thought was good for them in terms of the way they were able to play and get through some different things and getting through the second round is even the next level. Eddie Gillis joining us, Pacers television analyst here on the Infinity Sports Network. When you talk about the seven games that it took them to dispatch the Knicks, the Knicks play hard as all hell. What is your expectation as they get ready to take on a Celtics team that is apparently going to miss a giant in Kristaps Porzingis to start the series?

Yeah, I think when you get to these rounds, the intangibles of the game become even more important. You referenced how hard the New York Knicks play. And obviously they were significantly undermanned, but really their competitive spirit carried them along the way. You know, Jalen Branson was playing out of his mind, really the last two seasons specifically in these playoffs.

So he was kind of the X factor in terms of a guy you just had to account for and throw multiple bodies at. But they play super hard, the great rebounding team. They compete just about as hard as, not as hard as anyone else in the league. So that right there was something that the Pacers not only had to match that, but they had to try to exceed it in certain instances throughout that second round. And they were able to get that done and move on. So that should bode well.

You referenced the experience piece in your first question. So I think that'll be really vital to them having any sort of chance to get out of the season conference finals and represent the East. Eddie Gill joining us. When you take a look at the Celtics, what's going to be the biggest issue for this Pacers team? What are they going to have to overcome?

You talk about experience. The Celtics haven't gotten over the hump to hoist to Larry O'Brien, but they've been through it. What's the Pacers biggest challenge here?

The Pacers biggest challenge as far as dealing with the Celtics will be just the amount of weapons that they have. Arguably the best starting five in the league. Obviously they're minus Porzingis right now, which is a huge gap to fill for their team because of all the things that he's able to do on both ends. But you're still dealing with Tatum and Brown and Derek White is one of the best, I don't know, third or fourth options. I don't even know what option he is on that team, but he might be the best of that option in the entire league.

In my opinion, Drew Holliday might be the most underrated player in the game. They have a lot to deal with there, but I think from a Pacers standpoint, they're able to lean on their depth. They rely heavily on their bench. Oftentimes you see in the playoffs, the rotations are shortened and minutes are cut, but not on this team. They rely heavily on the depth. If you look at game seven, there were heavy contributions throughout the entire lineup, both starting and that bench unit.

Eddie, over the past year, we all know about the growth and some of the eye popping numbers that Tyrese Halliburton has been able to put up. We know about the hamstring injury earlier this season. He's had his ups and his downs. Yesterday, certainly a high helping to eliminate the New York Knicks. How have you seen his growth and how have you seen him perform over the last several months?

Everybody's kind of banged up. Do you think he's still kind of behind the eight ball a little bit when it comes down to the hammy or is everything good way back in the rear mirror? Yeah, I would say just evaluating and then watching him over the last couple of months, he's moving really well.

I don't know that and obviously he would know better than I, but just watching him, he looks to be moving well, he looks to be at the peak of his game. As you look at the Knicks series, sometimes he was a little less aggressive than everyone would like, including himself. But when he puts it in that gear in terms of his aggression to score, or not even necessarily to score, to just be a serious threat out there to score, the Pacers are a different team. Do you believe that the Pacers, the defense or the defense has been kind of lackluster?

Everybody looks at them as getting up and down the court. You know, you look at a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves, everybody harps on their defense leading the way. What can you say about the Pacers and what they do on the defensive side of the ball? I would say they struggled in a major way early on in the season. In the latter part of the season, they made significant strides there in terms of some of their just overall competitive spirit, defensive execution, communication. Again, some of those intangibles I referenced earlier on, I think they've been better throughout the latter part of the season and they've been pretty good here in these playoffs. So that's going to give them an opportunity to win games and they've been top two or three in offense throughout the entire season. So that's been consistent.

So if they can just be solid defensively, they're going to give themselves a chance each and every night. We know Rick Carlisle. He went through a stint here almost 20 years ago with these Pacers.

He came back again kind of right after COVID. What's different with Coach Carlisle from when he was around 20 years ago versus what you see with him? We know the game has changed and how has his personality changed? It's very interesting and coincidental that you're asking that question.

I had this exact conversation with someone today at breakfast. I give him a ton of credit based on his ability to evolve as an individual, as a coach, and really just gravitating towards the era and the style of play that you have here today versus what you had 20 years ago. And I was fortunate enough to play for him. As sharp as anyone you know in the game in terms of X's and O's, very stringent in terms of play calling, somewhat of a script of a game. Obviously he makes some adjustments during the game, but he kind of had it mapped out going into that game. Whereas now it's a free-flowing game, very random style play.

It's clearly a younger group. Certain things to them are more important than things that we even have access to when I was playing 20 years ago when I played for him. So I give him a ton of credit in terms of the evolution both as an individual, how he relates to his players, and overall assessment and management of the game. And Pacers CV analyst Eddie Gill is here with us. As we wrap things up, Eddie, when you look at this Pacers squad, I mean, Benedict Matherian isn't even healthy to play.

People aren't even talking about what he would have brought to the squad. What are your thoughts on how they're constructed to compete into the future? We finally got to the point where there's so much parity in the NBA. We haven't had a repeat. Teams are here.

They're there. There's a lot of competition. How are the Pacers built for the long haul? I think they're built to be good for quite some time now. I mean, clearly, it's a young man's game, and they have a fair amount of youth on this team. But with that said, you think about the rookie right now that they're getting significant minutes, and he has been probably since the half mark of the season in Ben Sheppard. He's a four-year player at a Belmont University. He's making significant contributions even though you don't necessarily see his name in box scores and highlights and all those types of things, but he affects winning. Andrew Niffard is in his second year, also another four-year guy in a starting lineup, relieving some of the pressure for Tyrese Halliburton in terms of facilitation, oftentimes guarding the best perimeter guy. You got Aaron Neesmith, and he's in his third or fourth year, I believe it is. Coincidentally, he was drafted by the Celtics. Didn't get a whole lot of opportunity considering the guys he was playing behind, but I think they're fit to be good for quite some time. And obviously, we've referenced what Tyrese Halliburton has meant to the team as a young, budding star in this league, two-time All-Star in the acquisition of Pascal Siakam.

And not to mention the longest tenured player, Miles Turner, is in the peak and prime of his career, but also young in his own right. So I think they're positioned well. You know, we'll see what they decide to do in the offseason with regards to kind of tweaking the roster in some capacity. If they decide to do that, who knows?

But as of right now, with added experience with this young group, I only see them look to get better over time. Eddie, man, I appreciate the time. Where can people follow you and all your work with the Pacers, man? Yeah. Eddie Gill underscore four on Twitter, or X as they call it, and then I believe, I think it's four Eddie Gill.

My son is the fourth, so I always forget what his handle is, but four Eddie Gill on Instagram. Hey, appreciate you, man. Enjoy the ride and keep up with them Pacers. I know they go up and down that court fast, man, okay? Yes, sir.

It's fun to watch. Okay, picture this. It's Friday afternoon when a thought hits you. I can waste another weekend doing the same old whatever, or I can conquer it. I can hop into my all new Hyundai Santa Fe and hit the road. Any road. The steeper the better, because my all new Santa Fe is available with H-Trek all wheel drive, so I can hit the trail without a worry in the world. Heck, with three rows and best in class rear cargo space, I can pack the whole family in with all our gear.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-20 23:56:15 / 2024-05-21 00:02:14 / 6

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