October 28, 2005
Hunter, Brown cut; Walker makes team
With deep roster, Carlisle has 'tough decisions' to make about playing time

By Mike Wells

The Indiana Pacers released guard Jimmie "Snap" Hunter and forward Damone Brown on Thursday to bring their roster to 15 players.

"Damone and Snap were two guys we had to let go because we are set at those positions," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "Both players represented themselves real well and helped make our camp very competitive. There's no doubt that both are NBA material; they just got caught in a numbers game."

Samaki Walker made the team.

Injuries to Jeff Foster, David Harrison and Scot Pollard gave Walker the edge because he can play power forward and center. Walker has started two preseason games and is averaging 5.3 points and 5.0 rebounds

Finding a rotation

Carlisle, who has a surplus of talent, is trying to find the right rotation. That's a better problem than he had last year, when injuries and suspensions depleted the roster.

Carlisle hopes to settle on a rotation before the regular season starts Wednesday at Orlando.

"Any time you have a deep roster, you're going to have to make some tough decisions," Carlisle said. "I always say players determine minutes."

Jamaal Tinsley and Stephen Jackson are expected to start in the backcourt. Jermaine O'Neal, Ron Artest and Austin Croshere will start in the frontcourt. Beyond that, it's a tossup.

The Pacers have 11 players who averaged at least 18 minutes in the preseason. What makes Carlisle's decision even tougher is that he's having to figure things out without Foster, Harrison and Pollard.

"We're in a quandary because of the injuries," Carlisle said. "We don't know the status of Harrison and Pollard. It's not going to be easy, but I'd rather have this problem because it means you have a lot of good players."

Injury update

Carlisle wouldn't say Harrison will be ready for the opener, but he said his second-year center will be increasing his workload, starting with the team's shootaround this morning for tonight's preseason finale against the Washington Wizards.

Harrison has missed the entire preseason with a torn abdominal muscle. "David is doing a lot better, to the point where we feel comfortable to let him be more active on the floor in practice," Carlisle said.

Forward Jonathan Bender is expected to play tonight. Bender played two minutes Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats after he was poked in the eye.