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How Will Shawne Williams Be Received Tonight?

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Williams will be making a quick return to Indiana tonight, and he's not sure exactly what to expect from Pacers fans.

"Indy fans, they're hard to predict. I hope I don't get any boos. But if I do, it's just a basketball game."

Well, if Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star speaks for most Pacers fans then the answer is pretty obvious.

Heaven knows, Williams has some serious talent, even if he's not quite as good as he thinks he is and doesn't know much about work ethic.

But you put some things together, and it makes sense. Like the fact he never stopped hanging around the wrong people, even when he was embarrassing the organization. Like the fact he didn't get into the kind of condition the Pacers wanted him in this summer. Like the fact he was often at odds with coach Jim O'Brien about a lack of playing time.

And it's not just a columnist who feels that way.  Larry Bird was on local sports radio in Indiana yesterday and said plenty of the same things.

...I talked to Shawne quite often and he was dissatisfied with the way they were using him and his minutes and I kept telling him, you gotta get better and once you get better the coach will play you.

I was very disappointed this summer that he wasn't here. He was here off and on but really the last month he wasn't here and he picked up weight. He was out of shape when he went into summer league, then when he came back to camp the first two or three days he didn't look real well, he was out of condition.

Obviously there is going to have to be a positive "change of scenery" effect if Williams is going to spend any significant amount of time not only on the floor but on the team.