Monday, April 8, 2019

Orlando Johnson's Impact as an Indianapolis Pacer

“That was the death-knell," he told IndyStar last year. “When we did that for Danny, I just sort of in my gut, I knew we weren't going to be able to get by the Heat. Even though it was in February, I knew we’d be able to get through the first two rounds, but without Danny, without OJ (Orlando Johnson was waived as part of the Granger trade), without Roy (Hibbert) being mentally confident, I knew we weren’t going to have enough to get by them.”

Losing Orlando Johnson wasn’t just collateral damage, either. It hurt. Though he only averaged nine minutes a night for the Pacers that year, Johnson was an invaluable role player, West said. 
“You can ask anybody to a man, OJ was the guy in that locker room,” West said. “His playing time was (limited), but he brought it every single day. He talked to every single guy. He gave the locker room life. I mean he was a genuinely good dude. And he was a huge part of why we were winning. Those nights where guys didn’t have it, or didn’t feel right, he was the guy in everybody’s ear encouraging. He was huge. That lesson probably taught me how important it was having a locker-room minded guy, a glue guy.”

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