HoopsHype.com Interviews

Brad Miller: "We're really close to winning a championship"
by Les Morris / March 10, 2002

Were you happy about the trade?

Brad Miller: Yeah, I was real happy. Besides coming back home, to get out of last place and come to playoff position, that's lovely.

Has it been a tough adjustment?

BM: Just the hotel living. You have to live a hotel until you find a place. I'm not a fan. I've been in a hotel two weeks straight between the road and here so it's not a whole lot of fun.

Do you think the Bulls' Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler will be NBA stars?

BM: It depends how hard they work because they're still high schemers. Tyson has shown more improvement throughout the year but Eddy definitely has the possibility to come out and really blossom. It's all going to be on them and how hard they work and how hard the coaches work with them.

The Pacers played the Lakers in Los Angeles last week, the first time you had faced Shaq since your altercation with him earlier in the year. Was it just another game or was it special?

BM: It was more just another game. I still tried to play the game and I still fouled him hard a couple of times but I just tried to go out there and play the game.

What is your view of your fight with Shaq?

BM: We won and I'm glad he missed.

How do you stop Shaq on the basketball court?

BM: Our concept in Chicago was to make him miss free throws, basically. You have to push him and try to keep him above the circle. If you can keep him out of the circle and make him shoot a hook or a jump shot, it's more in your favor. We're just trying to keep distance between the basket and him. That's the main concern.

How close are the Pacers to winning a championship?

BM: I think we're really close because you have to have athletes and you have to have people that are willing to defend. We have some shooters but we just have to start making shots. We haven't shot the ball well but that's a problem with a new team - your shots aren't coming from the same place that you're used to. That's one of the main adjustments. But we have the people. We can defend and we're starting to show that. That's where you can really make some noise, if you can stop people.

What's it like playing with Jermaine O'Neal?

BM: It's been great because it gives us another dominant force inside. I liked playing with Charles Oakley but they'd always put the better defender on me because he'd stay outside. Now they have to make their choice about which way they want to go. Do they want to put their best defender on Jermaine or they want to put him on me? I don't have a problem if who is ever hot, they just keep feeding that person.

How disappointed were you when you weren't drafted out of Purdue?

BM: It was extremely disappointing because I was told by one team that they were going to take me and that they were even going to trade up to get me. I quit watching after that pick. It was real frustrating. I felt that I really belonged here but I just stuck with it and things have worked out. I can't complain with how everything has went.

Did playing in Italy help your game?

BM: Yes. It was during the lockout while everybody else was not playing or not making any money, I was doing both over there. So when I came back with Charlotte, people were trying to get into shape and training camp was only a week-and-a-half. I was already to go in game shape and that got me off to a good start in my rookie year.

Is it true after your playing days that you want to open a sports bar in Indiana?

BM: It's always been a thought to open something on a lake where you can pull up the boats and have a delivery service on the lake with a pontoon or something like that.

Les Morris covers the Indiana Pacers for the Shelbyville News and is a frequent contributor to HoopsHype.com

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