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kriD
10-05-2006, 07:12 AM
'Throw-in' from Mavericks becomes a keeper for Pacers

By Mark Montieth
mark.montieth@indystar.com

Josh Powell was assumed by many to be merely a warm body to help make the salaries match when the Indiana Pacers acquired him in a trade with Dallas in July.

Before training camp began, however, he already had established himself as much more than that in the eyes of the front office members who hung out in the Conseco Fieldhouse practice gymnasium in August and September.

"It was clear to us that this guy is definitely a roster player in this league and very well could be a rotation player," coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Pacers weren't allowed the luxury of idle admiration, however. Powell's contract became guaranteed Sunday, forcing them to back their optimism with a commitment of nearly $750,000, his salary for this season.

Carlisle describes that as an easy decision. The Pacers will have to trade or release three players to get to the league limit of 15 heading into the season, but the 6-9 Powell seems safe.

The Pacers made a similar commitment to small forward Rawle Marshall, the other "throw-in" to the deal that brought Darrell Armstrong from the Mavericks for Anthony Johnson. Marshall, whose contract became guaranteed in August, also could stick with the team, but Powell appears to have a better chance because he plays a position of greater need.

Armstrong, who played one season with Powell in Dallas, compares him to Ben Wallace, although Powell shoots better. He proved that in the 37 games he played last season, hitting 80 percent of his 45 free throw attempts.

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh draws a link to Miami's Udonis Haslem. Jermaine O'Neal, who played against Powell in several pickup games at the Fieldhouse, goes a step further.

"He's a better Udonis Haslem," O'Neal said. "He's a better offensive guy. He brings that same toughness, but he's a little taller and blocks a lot of shots."

Powell and Haslem are close friends. They once had the same agent, and worked out together in Clearwater, Fla., in the summer of 2003. They've kept in close contact since.

Neither minds the comparison.

"He can definitely contribute in a major way to somebody's team," Haslem said via telephone. "He's a real good athlete, gets on the boards relentlessly, has the ability to become a great defender and can knock down the 17-footer."

Sound like someone the Pacers could use? Either O'Neal or Al Harrington will start at power forward this season, but a player like Powell could find an important backup role on a team seeking toughness.

"I like his intensity," O'Neal said. "I think I hit him in the face by accident with my elbow about every day (in summer workouts) and he just bounced back up and kept playing hard."

Powell, like Haslem, went undrafted out of college and played in Europe before signing with an NBA team. The difference is that Haslem played all four years at the University of Florida while Powell left North Carolina State after his sophomore season.

There's strong sentiment around the NBA that Powell probably would have been a first-round pick had he exhausted his college eligibility. That's what friends and family members encouraged him to do, but he has no regrets. Playing two seasons in Europe -- mostly in Italy -- helped both his game and his outlook.

"Even though I took a harder road, it made me a better person," said Powell, who was an honor roll student as a freshman at N.C. State.

"I've always been hungry and humble, but that made it more realistic. It's tough. You've got to be on the bus for five or six hours. You're not flying everywhere. You don't have a bunch of trainers taking care of you. It's a humbling situation. Guys over here don't know how good they have it."

He hopes to stick around long enough to remind them.

V2M
10-05-2006, 08:08 AM
I've always thought of Powell as a Haslem kinda' guy... the tough, hard working defender & rebounder, who could knock down the open mid-range jumper. I'm sorry we had to let him go, although I'm certainly glad we got Anthony Johnson in return.

Hope he gets a good chance in Indiana.

ballin_boi
10-05-2006, 10:59 AM
I've always thought of Powell as a Haslem kinda' guy... the tough, hard working defender & rebounder, who could knock down the open mid-range jumper. I'm sorry we had to let him go, although I'm certainly glad we got Anthony Johnson in return.

Hope he gets a good chance in Indiana.

Agreed. Him and 'Quise.

kriD
10-05-2006, 11:42 AM
Former Mavericks make new home in Indianapolis

Associated Press
National Basketball Association News Wire

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers guard Marquis Daniels is getting a little help from his friends.

Less than two weeks after being traded to Indiana in July, Daniels was reacquainted with three of his former Dallas teammates from last season.

The Pacers sent Anthony Johnson to Dallas in exchange for veteran guard Darrell Armstrong and forwards Josh Powell and Rawle Marshall, giving Indiana four ex-Mavericks on its training camp roster.

"It helps a lot having those guys here with me because it's always tough at first coming to a new situation," said Daniels. "We're here to help each other adjust."

Daniels helped persuade Armstrong to join the Pacers.

"Marquis called me and said, 'You should think about coming up here.' I never really thought about it, but then I started looking at the team and what they had," said Armstrong, who agreed to be part of a sign-and-trade even though he was a free agent.

As an added bonus, Daniels watched as Powell and Marshall were included in the trade for Johnson. The group of ex-Mavericks quickly bonded with each other in Indianapolis, something coach Rick Carlisle has noticed.

"They hang out together, and they like each other," Carlisle said following Wednesday's training camp practice at Conseco Fieldhouse. "Marquis and Darrell are very close, and Rawle and Josh -- being two younger guys on Dallas' team -- spent a lot of time
together last year."

Along with helping each other adjust to life and basketball in a new city, the former Dallas players have received support from everyone in the Pacers' organization.

"It's not necessarily what you're doing on the court, it's what you're doing together off the court," said Indiana forward Jermaine O'Neal. "If you're mingling and enjoying each other off the court, then on the court it's going to be easy.

"Dallas is more of an entertaining city and Indianapolis is more laid-back. Coming from a city like Dallas, it's obviously a bit of a culture shock, but I think we've done a great job of
hanging out and having our families mingle amongst each other."

Although Daniels and Armstrong are expected to play more of a prominent role for the Pacers this season, each of the former Mavericks has brought a winning attitude with them. Dallas advanced to the NBA Finals last season before losing to Miami.

"For us, it's great because you have four guys coming from a team that went to the finals, so they know how to do things right," Carlisle said. "Playing in a winning environment is
always a good thing."

Armstrong is hopeful his new team can be even more successful than his old one.

"That means we'll win a championship," he said with a smile.

Underdog
10-05-2006, 02:43 PM
I hope those guys do well - just not too well...

bobatundi
10-05-2006, 04:21 PM
I always really liked Powell. I guess we have to hope Pops turns out to be even better than Powell.