Bird: Pacers to aim for NBA crown-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
MANILA—Emboldened by last season’s Eastern Conference finals stint, the Indiana Pacers believe they can contend for the NBA title this year.
The Pacers bowed to eventual back-to-back champion Miami Heat in seven games.
“We’re getting better. Last year, we got to the Eastern Conference finals against Miami, but until we make the next step we’re not gonna get there. I do like our chances, and hopefully in a short period of time we can challenge for a championship,” said NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird on Wednesday, who is now the Pacers president for basketball operations.
However, the Pacers fell short in their pre-season game last night, losing to the Houston Rockets,116-96, in the Mall of Asia Arena.
Bird left the Pacers in summer of 2012 after winning the NBA’s executive of the year supposedly because of health issues. But his absence wasn’t long. He was convinced to return and help the Pacers in their bid for another crack at the title.
Off-season, Bird assembled players who can provide the Pacers a big lift. They include George Hill, Roy Hibbert, David West, Chris Copeland and Paul George, who committed to extend his contract for five years reportedly for $90 million.
And what does he look for in a player?
“I tend to look at length, I look at shooting obviously. Can he defend first? Is he a team player? Does he do the things necessary to get better every year? Sometimes it’s hard. You have to talk to different college coaches to get as much information as you can out of them. Then you try to put together a team that fits,” said Bird, a three- time Most Valuable Player of the fabled Boston Celtics in the 1980s. (Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 11, 2013.