It appeared that the Indiana Pacers could be in store for a pretty solid season, but they’re off to just a .500 start at 11-11 and if the season ended today, they’d be on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Never fear, says power forward David West. The team has been without Danny Granger, and West believes getting him back in the lineup could help the team eventually make a run and be a threat in the East.
David West joined 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis with Dan Dakich to discuss the Indiana Pacers’ slow start, how long it took him to transition from the college to the NBA game, enjoying playing in the middle of the floor, taking clutch shots and just how good the Pacers could be as the year goes on.
You guys got off to a slow start. How much did not having Danny Granger affect that?:
“We prepared during the preseason for him to be in the lineup. And when you miss a guy like that — a guy who knows how to play the game, how to get himself going. … I think the biggest thing that we miss about Danny is his size. Danny’s got legit size in terms of size at his position. There’s only a few guys with legitimate size at the small forward position. That was an advantage that we had and we’re missing right now. … We are in the Eastern Conference, so you’re never really out of the playoff picture.”
When you broke into the league, how long did it take you to transition from the college game to the pros?:
“It took me a couple years, just in terms of being able to figure out a way to play that was going to give me some success, understand the speed of the game. Once you’re inside the game, you realize how fast it is. Obviously the physicality and the strength level of grown men is far different than that of guys in college. It takes a few years to get adjusted to that. … When you’re able to figure it out, learn the pace, learn the speed that you need to play at, usually guys find some success.”
You really like playing in the middle of the floor, don’t you?:
“Oh yeah. I’ve learned that over the years, that’s it’s prime real estate in the NBA to be able to operate in the center of the floor. You can kind of see what’s going on, be able to make passes when they’re there. And obviously, when you draw some attention, you’re able to see where it’s coming from.”
You also like to take big, clutch shots. Have you always been that way?:
“Yeah, you’ve got to embrace those situations. You’ve got to want to be able to win games. You’ve got to want to be able to have the game rest on your shoulders. And miss or make, you’ve got to be able to deal with the outcome in the right way.”
Using last year as a barometer, how good do you think this Pacers team can be?:
“Obviously I think, on the surface, we have more talent. But what we have to do now is understand we’ve got a target on our back. Teams have really come after us, particularly early in the year. We’ve done a good job in terms of just being able to fight back, get our feet back up under us … but we understand it’s just December. … We feel like, headed toward the end of the year, in particular, we have enough here to make a legit run.”