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Bball
04-09-2006, 05:06 PM
Bball's Season Ending Wrapup Report

I don't think it's really premature to go ahead and do my wrapup now. This season is over except for the formalities of actually playing some meaningless games. In fact, this season has been over for a while because this was supposed to be a championship contending team and it hasn't been one since we lost Artest...

No, not when he demanded a trade and was put on ice. Before that there were signs that Artest was again marching to the beat of his own drummer and so we'd already lost him then. And as soon as that happened, even though we tried to pretend we weren't seeing what we were seeing or that it was "just Artest", it was over.

It was over because last season had already shown us JO is not the player we all hoped he would be. If anything, I believe management held onto Artest as long as they did because they realized that without Artest, JO was exposed.

Am I totally blaming JO? No, actually I'm not. From the outside looking in there are other factors to consider. We're trying utilize JO like he's one of the NBA's true elite. He's not. He doesn't have a higher gear to go into in crunch time. For a player making the money he makes he's rather weak mentally as far as maintaining focus and letting the game come to him. And when he does look to force the issue, he does so badly. So why do we insist on putting him into that position? Is it to justify his salary? Is it to keep him 'happy'? That's a question that coaching (and management) needs to answer.

JO is certainly part of the problem but there is plenty of blame to go around with aspects of this team.

Obviously, if Carlisle has to utilize JO this way in order to keep him happy then the problem is JO. But I'm not convinced of that. I believe Carlisle has worn out his welcome and his overbearing wish to slow down and overly control the game has worn thin. It's not helped at all by his desire to run so much through JO, and by the Pacers' desire to make JO the leader and face of the franchise. In that regard things have failed miserably. JO is not a true leader and for this team to be successful he is going to have to relinquish that role.... or he's going to need to look in a mirror and re-evaluate and totally re-work his overall game. And he's not a young pup anymore so every day I feel less optimistic that it can happen. The game doesn't revolve around dunks and blocks. For every missed blockout, or weak fadeaway clanked off the rim it only negates those flashy dunks and blocks even more. The team needs to see their leader doing the little things. They need to see the best player on the court working harder than anyone else at all aspects of the game. They need him to be strong. They need him to make their games easier. Talk is cheap and JO is overdrawn on his account. Posing and words don't cut it.

So, between Carlisle and JO this team has a terrible leadership void. Carlisle keeps going back to his comfort zone of controlling the game from the bench and force feeding JO, and JO keeps coming up short. The other players have to see this and lose faith in both of those guys. As long as we have that kind of a void on the court other players are naturally going to be drawn into filling that space. Some players are going to try and force their way into filling that space. That's why (IMHO) we've seen so many instances of someone trying to be the hero and taking a quick momentum killing fast/bad shot. And, it doesn't help when your alleged leader is sitting injured on the bench for long stretches either. And it only gets worse when we try and then highlight a lesser player and have him play the "JO" role.

I have to wonder if this team is that fundamentally flawed all the way around or if it's simply Carlisle's insistence on overusing JO, and JO coming up short and not truly being a hard working player on the court (please don't try and tell me JO busts his butt on all aspects of the game when he is on the court), and that is causing other players to look to do too much. It certainly doesn't promote trust or confidence.

Sjax quickly comes to mind. Freddie is not far behind him in making bad decisions (that 'jump in the air and then look to pass the ball' act has worn very thin... I don't care if he can dunk or not). I wish I knew how Sjax would play in a system where there wasn't such a void in the pecking order on court. A system where players knew who to defer to and who they could count on. I think back to last year when Dale returned and Reggie went back to a main cog and the whole team picked up its play and I don't remember Sjax being a problem then. The same thing happened this year when JO went out and Peja arrived. As long as we were playing a controlled motion game everyone seemed to pick up their games and share the ball. Perhaps nobody felt they HAD to shoot the ball when it came their way for fear of never seeing it again? ...That's a byproduct of Carlisle's preferred system. Especially, when a team doesn't buy into it or has no faith in the centerpiece of it.

At this point, Sjax might so have lost the fans that even if we fixed everything else and he bought into a comfortable role, it still might not be enough for him. It's a sad situation to see a player so disrepected on our own court. But, seeing some of his decisions with the ball... I understand. It's a shame. Could another coach, not afraid to use the bench, accomplish anything... or just make it worse? We might not get the chance to find out because I don't think management will want to take the gamble. The fans have spoken.

I've railed on Tinsley because I don't like his attitude. As Jay has pointed out, Tinsley certainly could have a right to be disgruntled... I just don't like him wearing it on his sleeve. If I could know Carlisle's insistence on controlling things has so poisoned Tinsley that it has gotten to this point, and with another coach he'd be fine, then I'd be fine with giving him that chance. But, I'm having a hard time being that confident. But I think Tinsley is only a sideshow to the real problem.

I also get the feeling Carlisle is worried about his reputation coming from Detroit and that he has given the players too much rope when they've gotten off the range and that only makes it worse when he does try and lay the hammer down (however belatedly that may be).

-

If I never see the ball in Freddie Jones' or AJ's hands during the end of a quarter again I will be much happier. I have to think that was Carlisle's desire over running a play and if it wasn't then he obviously has no control over this team.

Carlisle has lost this bunch anyway you look at it. There's no way Carlisle can come back without a total revamp of the roster and I don't see that happening. And even if we did revamp the roster, is Carlisle who we want coaching a rebuidling project (or youth movement of any sort)? The next question becomes (in my mind), can JO accept a lesser role on a 'new look' coached Pacers AND is he willing to pick up his overall game? Swallowing the ball, not making quick decisions, not blocking out, weak screens, forced shots, etc is not going to cut it. And the new coach must have the power to tell the emperor he has no clothes and bench or minimize JO's role (or any other player) if they don't put forth the effort and mental focus on the court.

There may or may not be something to address at PG. There's certainly something to address at the top of our team.

Carlisle must be replaced.

Then JO's situation needs to be addressed. Whether that is a trade or whether that is a LOOOOONG talk and a meeting of the minds is a very good question. One thing I am certain about, we're doomed if we keep trying to use JO like we have been. And JO is going to have to relinquish some or all of his leadership role or else we're constantly going to be besieged with power struggles and players not trusting their teammates or the coach. As I said, there is a vacuum being created because JO is not filling that void. Other players will naturally rise and begin to fill it. Just like Artest did... just like Peja and Granger have done... And some will try and force their way into it (and it can be argued Artest did that as well).

Everything else is secondary to both of those issues. Management should know how JO would react to a reduced role simply by what they've seen of him in practice and the lockerroom these past few years so they really shouldn't gamble on this too much. Just do whatever has to be done... one way or the other. And it's clear to me Carlisle no longer can get this team to perform and so that part is simple.

I have a feeling management already know what the answers are... Whether they'll admit to them and begin seriously addressing them is the real question.

-Bball

Jermaniac
04-09-2006, 05:11 PM
Should I read this or this another one of your Jermaine O'Neal Sucks Novel's?

sweabs
04-09-2006, 05:20 PM
Wow - amazing post. I agree 100% with everything...is there anyway you can mail this off to Larry/Donnie to read?

The one thing that really stands out to me, as you said, is the leadership issue. That is something that really needs to be addressed first and foremost.

Once again, great post, Bball.

Thirtysomethin
04-09-2006, 05:22 PM
Bravo!!

Good Post.

I wouldn't keep Tinsley because he has missed too many games.

I think the rule should be if go two straight seasons missing 15 or more games, then you should be moved.

Under those guidelines, Tinsley AND J.O. would be traded which is fine with me.

Seed
04-09-2006, 05:39 PM
Interesting post Bball. I pretty much knew your opinions before, but somehow you always make me reconsider mine. Thank you.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that when Artest left we lost some of the toughness and hustle we need so badly.
Also it is clear there is a leadership void currently.

As far as the toughness concerns:
I think JO can stay as long as we do get some tough mean EXPERIENCED b$stard that can help (Ben Wallace can be a match).

On the leadership front: I agree we need a new, autoritive coach, and we need to trade Tinsley and S-Jax. The new SG does not have to be an offensive marvel. He needs to be tough, to defend well, to pass and handle the ball relatively well.

Also as a last note: this season is not over yet, for me at least. I know most will disagree.

Seed
04-09-2006, 06:13 PM
What would you say about bringing in Ben Wallace and playing him along with JO? This will cost us but...

sweabs
04-09-2006, 06:16 PM
What would you say about bringing in Ben Wallace and playing him along with JO? This will cost us but...

I'm not trying to be mean, but that would never, ever happen. :D

Lord Helmet
04-09-2006, 06:18 PM
We certainly have a mess.

Seed
04-09-2006, 06:20 PM
I'm not trying to be mean, but that would never, ever happen. :D
Why?

Unclebuck
04-09-2006, 06:33 PM
Good post Bball. Even though I don't think I agree with the overall premise that Rick lost the team because of the way he used J.O., I certainly agree that the players have lost trust in J.O. and Rick for whatever reason. They certainly aren't responding to J.O's attempt at leadership.

Is it a coincidence that the Pacers played their best ball this season when J.O. was out. Sure the schedule was easy during February, but during that month there was effort, energy and enthusiasm. Tinsley was out during this time also. The same thing occurred last seaosn, in March and April. The strange thing is both times Jax played and played well, so maybe he isn't the problem so many of you think.

The question is why: do the players not like J.O., do they not like the system the coaching staff uses when J.O is playing, is J.O simply not very good, or is he just not a good leader.

I believe 100% that a team is only as good as its best player, he sets the tone for the entire roster. And the relationship between the coach the team's best player is the most important relationship in the franchise.

I believe there is a 50% chance J.O. will be traded this summer, don't forget Bird's comments about J.O last summer. I think Rick will more than likely be fired, so it will be an interesting summer.

Let me end with this, the Pacers better trade J.O for quality, no quantity

Kstat
04-09-2006, 06:36 PM
I believe 100% that a team is only as good as its best player

I can think of a lot of situations (not involving Jordan) where the team with the best player lost a series...

I'll modify that. A team is only as good as its leader.

Big Smooth
04-09-2006, 06:46 PM
Bball's Season Ending Wrapup Report

I don't think it's really premature to go ahead and do my wrapup now. This season is over except for the formalities of actually playing some meaningless games. In fact, this season has been over for a while because this was supposed to be a championship contending team and it hasn't been one since we lost Artest...

No, not when he demanded a trade and was put on ice. Before that there were signs that Artest was again marching to the beat of his own drummer and so we'd already lost him then. And as soon as that happened, even though we tried to pretend we weren't seeing what we were seeing or that it was "just Artest", it was over.

It was over because last season had already shown us JO is not the player we all hoped he would be. If anything, I believe management held onto Artest as long as they did because they realized that without Artest, JO was exposed.

Am I totally blaming JO? No, actually I'm not. From the outside looking in there are other factors to consider. We're trying utilize JO like he's one of the NBA's true elite. He's not. He doesn't have a higher gear to go into in crunch time. For a player making the money he makes he's rather weak mentally as far as maintaining focus and letting the game come to him. And when he does look to force the issue, he does so badly. So why do we insist on putting him into that position? Is it to justify his salary? Is it to keep him 'happy'? That's a question that coaching (and management) needs to answer.

JO is certainly part of the problem but there is plenty of blame to go around with aspects of this team.

Obviously, if Carlisle has to utilize JO this way in order to keep him happy then the problem is JO. But I'm not convinced of that. I believe Carlisle has worn out his welcome and his overbearing wish to slow down and overly control the game has worn thin. It's not helped at all by his desire to run so much through JO, and by the Pacers' desire to make JO the leader and face of the franchise. In that regard things have failed miserably. JO is not a true leader and for this team to be successful he is going to have to relinquish that role.... or he's going to need to look in a mirror and re-evaluate and totally re-work his overall game. And he's not a young pup anymore so every day I feel less optimistic that it can happen. The game doesn't revolve around dunks and blocks. For every missed blockout, or weak fadeaway clanked off the rim it only negates those flashy dunks and blocks even more. The team needs to see their leader doing the little things. They need to see the best player on the court working harder than anyone else at all aspects of the game. They need him to be strong. They need him to make their games easier. Talk is cheap and JO is overdrawn on his account. Posing and words don't cut it.

So, between Carlisle and JO this team has a terrible leadership void. Carlisle keeps going back to his comfort zone of controlling the game from the bench and force feeding JO, and JO keeps coming up short. The other players have to see this and lose faith in both of those guys. As long as we have that kind of a void on the court other players are naturally going to be drawn into filling that space. Some players are going to try and force their way into filling that space. That's why (IMHO) we've seen so many instances of someone trying to be the hero and taking a quick momentum killing fast/bad shot. And, it doesn't help when your alleged leader is sitting injured on the bench for long stretches either. And it only gets worse when we try and then highlight a lesser player and have him play the "JO" role.

I have to wonder if this team is that fundamentally flawed all the way around or if it's simply Carlisle's insistence on overusing JO, and JO coming up short and not truly being a hard working player on the court (please don't try and tell me JO busts his butt on all aspects of the game when he is on the court), and that is causing other players to look to do too much. It certainly doesn't promote trust or confidence.

Sjax quickly comes to mind. Freddie is not far behind him in making bad decisions (that 'jump in the air and then look to pass the ball' act has worn very thin... I don't care if he can dunk or not). I wish I knew how Sjax would play in a system where there wasn't such a void in the pecking order on court. A system where players knew who to defer to and who they could count on. I think back to last year when Dale returned and Reggie went back to a main cog and the whole team picked up its play and I don't remember Sjax being a problem then. The same thing happened this year when JO went out and Peja arrived. As long as we were playing a controlled motion game everyone seemed to pick up their games and share the ball. Perhaps nobody felt they HAD to shoot the ball when it came their way for fear of never seeing it again? ...That's a byproduct of Carlisle's preferred system. Especially, when a team doesn't buy into it or has no faith in the centerpiece of it.

At this point, Sjax might so have lost the fans that even if we fixed everything else and he bought into a comfortable role, it still might not be enough for him. It's a sad situation to see a player so disrepected on our own court. But, seeing some of his decisions with the ball... I understand. It's a shame. Could another coach, not afraid to use the bench, accomplish anything... or just make it worse? We might not get the chance to find out because I don't think management will want to take the gamble. The fans have spoken.

I've railed on Tinsley because I don't like his attitude. As Jay has pointed out, Tinsley certainly could have a right to be disgruntled... I just don't like him wearing it on his sleeve. If I could know Carlisle's insistence on controlling things has so poisoned Tinsley that it has gotten to this point, and with another coach he'd be fine, then I'd be fine with giving him that chance. But, I'm having a hard time being that confident. But I think Tinsley is only a sideshow to the real problem.

I also get the feeling Carlisle is worried about his reputation coming from Detroit and that he has given the players too much rope when they've gotten off the range and that only makes it worse when he does try and lay the hammer down (however belatedly that may be).

-

If I never see the ball in Freddie Jones' or AJ's hands during the end of a quarter again I will be much happier. I have to think that was Carlisle's desire over running a play and if it wasn't then he obviously has no control over this team.

Carlisle has lost this bunch anyway you look at it. There's no way Carlisle can come back without a total revamp of the roster and I don't see that happening. And even if we did revamp the roster, is Carlisle who we want coaching a rebuidling project (or youth movement of any sort)? The next question becomes (in my mind), can JO accept a lesser role on a 'new look' coached Pacers AND is he willing to pick up his overall game? Swallowing the ball, not making quick decisions, not blocking out, weak screens, forced shots, etc is not going to cut it. And the new coach must have the power to tell the emperor he has no clothes and bench or minimize JO's role (or any other player) if they don't put forth the effort and mental focus on the court.

There may or may not be something to address at PG. There's certainly something to address at the top of our team.

Carlisle must be replaced.

Then JO's situation needs to be addressed. Whether that is a trade or whether that is a LOOOOONG talk and a meeting of the minds is a very good question. One thing I am certain about, we're doomed if we keep trying to use JO like we have been. And JO is going to have to relinquish some or all of his leadership role or else we're constantly going to be besieged with power struggles and players not trusting their teammates or the coach. As I said, there is a vacuum being created because JO is not filling that void. Other players will naturally rise and begin to fill it. Just like Artest did... just like Peja and Granger have done... And some will try and force their way into it (and it can be argued Artest did that as well).

Everything else is secondary to both of those issues. Management should know how JO would react to a reduced role simply by what they've seen of him in practice and the lockerroom these past few years so they really shouldn't gamble on this too much. Just do whatever has to be done... one way or the other. And it's clear to me Carlisle no longer can get this team to perform and so that part is simple.

I have a feeling management already know what the answers are... Whether they'll admit to them and begin seriously addressing them is the real question.

-Bball

Pretty much sums up my feelings.

Anthem
04-09-2006, 08:17 PM
I also get the feeling Carlisle is worried about his reputation coming from Detroit and that he has given the players too much rope when they've gotten off the range and that only makes it worse when he does try and lay the hammer down (however belatedly that may be).
This is interesting. I've been wondering the same thing myself.

Moses
04-09-2006, 08:29 PM
I agree with alot of your points.

However, I do feel that JO has the ability to be one of the true elites. I think Carlisle made a mistake in forcing JO to bulk up. JO has some of the best post up moves in the NBA. His spin moves into the lane and turnaround jumpers are rivaled only by Garnett. I think he is a franchise player..He just needs more maturity. If anyone remembers Reggie was still getting into squabbles at age 27...I think JO can be a leader..But he needs more time..and it's time that many fans don't have. We need a veteran presence on this team in the worst of ways. ..I really don't know what to say. I do expect JO to be around next season for our team though.

I also think alot of your opinions are based on JO's last 9 games. He's coming off of an injury and playing in a new offensive system. I'm not sure what you really expect of him..But put down the trade JO banners for now..I want to see him around next season.

owl
04-09-2006, 08:29 PM
Let me end with this, the Pacers better trade J.O for quality, no quantity

Or lottery picks and cap relief.


owl

TheSauceMaster
04-09-2006, 09:05 PM
Is it a coincidence that the Pacers played their best ball this season when J.O. was out. Sure the schedule was easy during February, but during that month there was effort, energy and enthusiasm. Tinsley was out during this time also. The same thing occurred last seaosn, in March and April. The strange thing is both times Jax played and played well, so maybe he isn't the problem so many of you think.



No it's not a coincidence I don't think. Infact I tried to point this out last year and got alot of heat for saying such. If it isn't obvious to management by now this team needs some changes , I dunno if it will ever be.

rm1369
04-09-2006, 10:15 PM
If I had to the blame the current state of the Pacers on one person I'd lay it at Rick's feet. He has his system and he dosen't want to change it for anything. I believe the players and depth that we have had has screamed for a more uptempo, aggressive style. Rick won't adjust.

There are only 2 players on the current roster that I believe are better suited to play Ricks style: AJ and Austin. You could possibly add in Harrison, although I've seen him get early position enough to think he could be effective for limited minutes in an uptempo game. JO would be better 15 lbs lighter using his quickness to get to the rim or facing up. For all of JO's supposed post moves, I've always felt he was better facing up rather than backing down his man. At least when he had the quickness to get to the rim. He just truly is not physical - no matter how much weight he gains. He's finess (thats not meant to be a knock on him). Peja, Pollard, and Saras are all obvious when you look at their previous style of play. Foster would be at his best playing 20 - 25 minutes all out. Sjax and Freddie both play better when they are "into the game" (read - scoring). It is amazing how much better each of their D is when they score. Both are extremly streaky - why not play them as such? If you are getting it done you will play, if not you sit. Really just AJ and Croshere are best served by this style of play and the rigid rotations.

Compared to other elite teams the Pacers have a weak starting 5 IMO. The supposed depth we have had lends itself to playing quicker and harder for less minutes. Having a better 10 and 11th man means nothing unless you force tempo, allow your team's depth to keep it fresher, and ride the hot hand. The set rotations are great for a team that has a true drop in talent from 3 to 8 or so. The Pacers don't have that. Think about whoever you believe the Pacers 3rd best player is - now how much better is he than: Garnger, or Foster, or Freddie, or Croshere, or Jack, or AJ, etc. After JO and Peja they all seem interchangable to me. And really JO and Peja aren't more than a little better than the rest IMO.

Of course you could blame Walsh / Bird for having to many good players and not enough really good or even one great player. I just think getting realy good / great players is one of the hardest things to do in the NBA. It should be much easier to use what you have properly. Carlisle hasn't done that IMO.

I guess the bottom line is that Carlisle is a very good system coach that needs consist, veteran players to be succesful. He needs a team that has an obvious established pecking order and strong internal leadership. Basically he needs the team he coached to the finals for Bird.

I'm done rambling.

Sollozzo
04-09-2006, 10:31 PM
I agree with alot of your points.

However, I do feel that JO has the ability to be one of the true elites. I think Carlisle made a mistake in forcing JO to bulk up. JO has some of the best post up moves in the NBA. His spin moves into the lane and turnaround jumpers are rivaled only by Garnett. I think he is a franchise player..He just needs more maturity. If anyone remembers Reggie was still getting into squabbles at age 27...I think JO can be a leader..But he needs more time..and it's time that many fans don't have. We need a veteran presence on this team in the worst of ways. ..I really don't know what to say. I do expect JO to be around next season for our team though.




Thats a good point.

Reggie didn't lead the Pacers to a playoff series win until 1994, when he was 28 years old and in his 7th season with the team.

JO helped lead the Pacers to the ECF's when he was 25 yrs old, and in his 4th year.

Reggie had to get several good veterans around him before he could lead this team far.

Unclebuck
04-09-2006, 10:33 PM
When did Rick ever force J.O to bulk up, I don't think he ever suggested. But I know he didn't force him

Indyfan
04-09-2006, 11:01 PM
After the past two years of constant upheaval and change, how can anyone say Rick won't adjust? Maybe this roster isn't set up to play uptempo regardless of what the players egos are telling them. Look at our fast break, it is a mess, and usually ends up with a TO or missed layup.

ChicagoJ
04-09-2006, 11:06 PM
This is interesting. I've been wondering the same thing myself.

Me too. Posted something similar earlier tonight, but I hadn't read it over here.

Peck
04-10-2006, 12:16 AM
When did Rick ever force J.O to bulk up, I don't think he ever suggested. But I know he didn't force him

Rick deserves zero blame for J.O. bulking up. If you wanna blame anybody blame the upper ups for not giving J.O. a true center to play with when Rick was brought in.

They thought that they had one but everybody knew his back was bad.

I'm sure J.O. felt he had to do this so that he wouldn't suffer from the merciless pounding he took in the paint.

Bball
04-10-2006, 12:16 AM
After the past two years of constant upheaval and change, how can anyone say Rick won't adjust? Maybe this roster isn't set up to play uptempo regardless of what the players egos are telling them. Look at our fast break, it is a mess, and usually ends up with a TO or missed layup.

That's the maddening thing for some of us... Rick did adjust and not only did it work but chemistry seemed to improve and the team played some of its best ball of the season. This was both last season and this past season... But Rick couldn't keep himself or the team from reverting back to (what seems) his preferred style and eventually things simply swirled the drain.

And I'm personally not asking for an uptempo style of play. I want to see moving, cutting, passing, screening, heart, less ego, smart play, defense, and effort. ...Not run and gun nor do I want to see the lunatics running the asylum.

-Bball

Peck
04-10-2006, 12:33 AM
Bball's Season Ending Wrapup Report

I don't think it's really premature to go ahead and do my wrapup now. This season is over except for the formalities of actually playing some meaningless games. In fact, this season has been over for a while because this was supposed to be a championship contending team and it hasn't been one since we lost Artest...

No, not when he demanded a trade and was put on ice. Before that there were signs that Artest was again marching to the beat of his own drummer and so we'd already lost him then. And as soon as that happened, even though we tried to pretend we weren't seeing what we were seeing or that it was "just Artest", it was over.

It was over because last season had already shown us JO is not the player we all hoped he would be. If anything, I believe management held onto Artest as long as they did because they realized that without Artest, JO was exposed.

Am I totally blaming JO? No, actually I'm not. From the outside looking in there are other factors to consider. We're trying utilize JO like he's one of the NBA's true elite. He's not. He doesn't have a higher gear to go into in crunch time. For a player making the money he makes he's rather weak mentally as far as maintaining focus and letting the game come to him. And when he does look to force the issue, he does so badly. So why do we insist on putting him into that position? Is it to justify his salary? Is it to keep him 'happy'? That's a question that coaching (and management) needs to answer.

JO is certainly part of the problem but there is plenty of blame to go around with aspects of this team.

Obviously, if Carlisle has to utilize JO this way in order to keep him happy then the problem is JO. But I'm not convinced of that. I believe Carlisle has worn out his welcome and his overbearing wish to slow down and overly control the game has worn thin. It's not helped at all by his desire to run so much through JO, and by the Pacers' desire to make JO the leader and face of the franchise. In that regard things have failed miserably. JO is not a true leader and for this team to be successful he is going to have to relinquish that role.... or he's going to need to look in a mirror and re-evaluate and totally re-work his overall game. And he's not a young pup anymore so every day I feel less optimistic that it can happen. The game doesn't revolve around dunks and blocks. For every missed blockout, or weak fadeaway clanked off the rim it only negates those flashy dunks and blocks even more. The team needs to see their leader doing the little things. They need to see the best player on the court working harder than anyone else at all aspects of the game. They need him to be strong. They need him to make their games easier. Talk is cheap and JO is overdrawn on his account. Posing and words don't cut it.

So, between Carlisle and JO this team has a terrible leadership void. Carlisle keeps going back to his comfort zone of controlling the game from the bench and force feeding JO, and JO keeps coming up short. The other players have to see this and lose faith in both of those guys. As long as we have that kind of a void on the court other players are naturally going to be drawn into filling that space. Some players are going to try and force their way into filling that space. That's why (IMHO) we've seen so many instances of someone trying to be the hero and taking a quick momentum killing fast/bad shot. And, it doesn't help when your alleged leader is sitting injured on the bench for long stretches either. And it only gets worse when we try and then highlight a lesser player and have him play the "JO" role.

I have to wonder if this team is that fundamentally flawed all the way around or if it's simply Carlisle's insistence on overusing JO, and JO coming up short and not truly being a hard working player on the court (please don't try and tell me JO busts his butt on all aspects of the game when he is on the court), and that is causing other players to look to do too much. It certainly doesn't promote trust or confidence.

Sjax quickly comes to mind. Freddie is not far behind him in making bad decisions (that 'jump in the air and then look to pass the ball' act has worn very thin... I don't care if he can dunk or not). I wish I knew how Sjax would play in a system where there wasn't such a void in the pecking order on court. A system where players knew who to defer to and who they could count on. I think back to last year when Dale returned and Reggie went back to a main cog and the whole team picked up its play and I don't remember Sjax being a problem then. The same thing happened this year when JO went out and Peja arrived. As long as we were playing a controlled motion game everyone seemed to pick up their games and share the ball. Perhaps nobody felt they HAD to shoot the ball when it came their way for fear of never seeing it again? ...That's a byproduct of Carlisle's preferred system. Especially, when a team doesn't buy into it or has no faith in the centerpiece of it.

At this point, Sjax might so have lost the fans that even if we fixed everything else and he bought into a comfortable role, it still might not be enough for him. It's a sad situation to see a player so disrepected on our own court. But, seeing some of his decisions with the ball... I understand. It's a shame. Could another coach, not afraid to use the bench, accomplish anything... or just make it worse? We might not get the chance to find out because I don't think management will want to take the gamble. The fans have spoken.

I've railed on Tinsley because I don't like his attitude. As Jay has pointed out, Tinsley certainly could have a right to be disgruntled... I just don't like him wearing it on his sleeve. If I could know Carlisle's insistence on controlling things has so poisoned Tinsley that it has gotten to this point, and with another coach he'd be fine, then I'd be fine with giving him that chance. But, I'm having a hard time being that confident. But I think Tinsley is only a sideshow to the real problem.

I also get the feeling Carlisle is worried about his reputation coming from Detroit and that he has given the players too much rope when they've gotten off the range and that only makes it worse when he does try and lay the hammer down (however belatedly that may be).

-

If I never see the ball in Freddie Jones' or AJ's hands during the end of a quarter again I will be much happier. I have to think that was Carlisle's desire over running a play and if it wasn't then he obviously has no control over this team.

Carlisle has lost this bunch anyway you look at it. There's no way Carlisle can come back without a total revamp of the roster and I don't see that happening. And even if we did revamp the roster, is Carlisle who we want coaching a rebuidling project (or youth movement of any sort)? The next question becomes (in my mind), can JO accept a lesser role on a 'new look' coached Pacers AND is he willing to pick up his overall game? Swallowing the ball, not making quick decisions, not blocking out, weak screens, forced shots, etc is not going to cut it. And the new coach must have the power to tell the emperor he has no clothes and bench or minimize JO's role (or any other player) if they don't put forth the effort and mental focus on the court.

There may or may not be something to address at PG. There's certainly something to address at the top of our team.

Carlisle must be replaced.

Then JO's situation needs to be addressed. Whether that is a trade or whether that is a LOOOOONG talk and a meeting of the minds is a very good question. One thing I am certain about, we're doomed if we keep trying to use JO like we have been. And JO is going to have to relinquish some or all of his leadership role or else we're constantly going to be besieged with power struggles and players not trusting their teammates or the coach. As I said, there is a vacuum being created because JO is not filling that void. Other players will naturally rise and begin to fill it. Just like Artest did... just like Peja and Granger have done... And some will try and force their way into it (and it can be argued Artest did that as well).

Everything else is secondary to both of those issues. Management should know how JO would react to a reduced role simply by what they've seen of him in practice and the lockerroom these past few years so they really shouldn't gamble on this too much. Just do whatever has to be done... one way or the other. And it's clear to me Carlisle no longer can get this team to perform and so that part is simple.

I have a feeling management already know what the answers are... Whether they'll admit to them and begin seriously addressing them is the real question.

-Bball


BTW, good post.

I'm going to do a season wrapup at the end of the season, but rest assured a lot of our posts will mirror one another.

Anthem
04-10-2006, 12:40 AM
Rick deserves zero blame for J.O. bulking up. If you wanna blame anybody blame the upper ups
Oh, I do.

Bball
04-10-2006, 06:05 AM
I also think alot of your opinions are based on JO's last 9 games.


Other than seeing how the team is responding to JO currently, my comments are not just based on these last few games.


He's coming off of an injury and playing in a new offensive system.

I'm not sure what new system he's playing in. The names might've changed, but the gist of it looks the same. Whatever 'new' system was installed was temporary and mostly back in mothballs by the time he returned.



I'm not sure what you really expect of him.. But put down the trade JO banners for now..I want to see him around next season.

I expect a lot of the 'franchise' player. When you get paid 120,000,000.00 to be that player, expectations come with the territory. He's supposed to be the guy making everyone else better. He's far from doing that.

-Bball

McKeyFan
04-10-2006, 10:14 AM
That's the maddening thing for some of us... Rick did adjust and not only did it work but chemistry seemed to improve and the team played some of its best ball of the season. This was both last season and this past season... But Rick couldn't keep himself or the team from reverting back to (what seems) his preferred style and eventually things simply swirled the drain.

And I'm personally not asking for an uptempo style of play. I want to see moving, cutting, passing, screening, heart, less ego, smart play, defense, and effort. ...Not run and gun nor do I want to see the lunatics running the asylum.

-Bball

Yes, but how much of that is business decisions?

You play Tins and JO less, you hurt their value. You run constant plays at JO to keep his value up.

Or, more likely, because of Tins and JO's primadonna attitudes, you can't keep running the uptempo successful pace that won you games, because they want the ball in their hands. You can't keep control o the team by putting the primadonna's in their place, because they'll throw a fit. You can't let them throw a fit, because then you'll have to bench them. You can't bench them because their value will go down.

(Of course, this has already happened with Tins, but it's still shrouded as an "injury" of some sort or another.)

J_2_Da_IzzO
04-10-2006, 10:23 AM
I expect a lot of the 'franchise' player. When you get paid 120,000,000.00 to be that player, expectations come with the territory. He's supposed to be the guy making everyone else better. He's far from doing that.


But Im guessing you would do a KG for JO trade. Am I right?

If I am then why? KG doesnt make the people around him better, KG is not a leader, KG isnt clutch (3 airballs out of 4 game winning shots).

In your mind name me who you think are the best leaders in the NBA?

DeS
04-10-2006, 12:42 PM
IMO Conrad is also agreeing with BBall that JO isn't the leader:



Source... (http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/question.html)
The difference between good and great teams is more often talent-based. Great teams almost always have at least one transcendent player – Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal – good teams simply can't match. The exception is Detroit, which lacks a true superstar but compensates with a uniquely competitive, complementary and cohesive team.

The Pacers may have been laboring under the mistaken impression their talent level was such that they didn't need the intangibles to get things done. By now, all involved should fully realize that isn't the case. Too often, they've tripped over the fine line between good and bad teams. If they can somehow pull together in these final 10 days, there's time yet to make something of this season.

IMO management also realized that JO isn't transcendent leader.

EDIT: IMHO Bird wanted both - transcendant leader (JO & Artest) and the TEAM (complementary, cohesive etc...). JO was proclaimed as a leader which he wasn't... Saras was signed to play the TEAM game, but the keys were not give... This resulted in Artest sithuation and PG contraversy and killed the TEAM and arguebly LEADER.

DisplacedKnick
04-10-2006, 01:05 PM
I want to add one thing from an outsider's perspective.

I think management - Bird and Walsh, royally screwed this team up, far, far more than Carlisle or SJax - or even Artest (though in this case Artest was largely the catalyst).

And they did this by willfully looking the other way every time Artest screwed up and even after he'd shown himself to be completely unreliable, continuing to look at him as a centerpiece of the team.

This is on several levels but more than anything else Ron Artest destroyed any team cohesiveness. He destroyed the team's ability to function at its highest level and he severely hindered Carlisle's ability to reach the team.

We know there were players in the locker room who wanted Artest gone - well before the Mike Wells story. We also know there were players who'd been busting their humps who were pretty PO'd at how much deference Artest was given.

I also think this whole episode almost destroyed Carlisle's ability to coach the team. It was fine for a while but eventually it got to everyone. Discipline on the court has disappeared. He's not able to get through to them about the importance of executing. They don't D up. There are a ton of levels to look at this from and I'll choose this one: How could Rick Carlisle ever discipline another player in any way after management came out supporting Artest after all the damage he'd done?

Or to use an analogy: If the kid who burned down part of the school is not only sitting next to you, but has recently been named "Student of the Month" how worried are you going to be about the consequences of a few spitballs in class?

In this case I portion out the blame this way:
Players - 5%
Carlisle - 5%
Management - 90%

They've put Carlisle in an impossible situation - he was screwed over in Detroit and he's about to get screwed over in Indiana for something that's almost entirely not his fault IMO. I'm not sure the Pacers could have avoided this by just sending Artest to the highest bidder last summer, but I expect they might have.

Moses
04-10-2006, 01:14 PM
Other than seeing how the team is responding to JO currently, my comments are not just based on these last few games.
Is it JO's fault that the players just don't care? He tries hard in every game but when he sees players give up on defense on every single play and is forced to play 2 on 1's all the time, he gives up as well. The same thing is happening with KG over in Minnesota and everyone wants to trade for him. If he was on this team we would be underachieving still.


I'm not sure what new system he's playing in. The names might've changed, but the gist of it looks the same. Whatever 'new' system was installed was temporary and mostly back in mothballs by the time he returned.
Up tempo offense rather then feed it in the post and beat off on the perimeter.


I expect a lot of the 'franchise' player. When you get paid 120,000,000.00 to be that player, expectations come with the territory. He's supposed to be the guy making everyone else better. He's far from doing that.
JO is actually passing out of the post now. It's not his fault that our perimeter players can't make an open 3 to save their own lifes. I've watched him spin in the paint and toss it out to the 3 point line only to watch someone completely miss a 3 pointer. One player can only do so much..Especially when he is criticized for not passing to team-mates who can't make wide open shots.



Jermaine is far from a perfect player as is every player in the NBA...But I do think he is a player you can build around. Like I said, this team needs a veteran leader..Maybe we should go out and sign Sam Cassell this off-season..He's turned the Clips around and it's not coincedence. That guy is a leader through example. I think JO is to young at the moment to lead this team...It doesn't mean we need to trade him though. If you put a slasher on this team who isn't afraid to go into the paint alot JO would be a much better looking player. Stephen Jackson is quite possibly the worst starting shooting guard in this league.

BillS
04-10-2006, 01:28 PM
JO is actually passing out of the post now.

I wanted to point this out from Sunday's debacle but I didn't know what post to put it in. There was in-and-out movement with JO in the post, as opposed to it being swallowed when Jackson was in the post.

This makes me think that the isolations we've seen were sometimes not drawn up to be isolations, just no one knows where to go.

Hicks
04-10-2006, 02:18 PM
I'll give JO a lot of credit for that; he's made a real effort to pass out of the post since he's come back. The only time our offense looked compitent was when he was in the game.

ChicagoJ
04-10-2006, 02:37 PM
I want to add one thing from an outsider's perspective.

I think management - Bird and Walsh, royally screwed this team up, far, far more than Carlisle or SJax - or even Artest (though in this case Artest was largely the catalyst).

And they did this by willfully looking the other way every time Artest screwed up and even after he'd shown himself to be completely unreliable, continuing to look at him as a centerpiece of the team.

This is on several levels but more than anything else Ron Artest destroyed any team cohesiveness. He destroyed the team's ability to function at its highest level and he severely hindered Carlisle's ability to reach the team.

We know there were players in the locker room who wanted Artest gone - well before the Mike Wells story. We also know there were players who'd been busting their humps who were pretty PO'd at how much deference Artest was given.

I also think this whole episode almost destroyed Carlisle's ability to coach the team. It was fine for a while but eventually it got to everyone. Discipline on the court has disappeared. He's not able to get through to them about the importance of executing. They don't D up. There are a ton of levels to look at this from and I'll choose this one: How could Rick Carlisle ever discipline another player in any way after management came out supporting Artest after all the damage he'd done?

Or to use an analogy: If the kid who burned down part of the school is not only sitting next to you, but has recently been named "Student of the Month" how worried are you going to be about the consequences of a few spitballs in class?

In this case I portion out the blame this way:
Players - 5%
Carlisle - 5%
Management - 90%

They've put Carlisle in an impossible situation - he was screwed over in Detroit and he's about to get screwed over in Indiana for something that's almost entirely not his fault IMO. I'm not sure the Pacers could have avoided this by just sending Artest to the highest bidder last summer, but I expect they might have.

Excellent summary.

I do agree with your "blame" allocation.

I think its too much to ask for the Simons to step in and unload everybody. But I wouldn't object.

Hicks
04-10-2006, 02:43 PM
Great post, DK. I hadn't thought about it like that for a long time.

fwpacerfan
04-10-2006, 03:24 PM
Excellent thread. There is plenty of blame to go around that is for sure.

IMHO there is no way that JO will be able to 'save face' and relinquish his leadership role with this team. He is not a leader, which is ok except that he has been appointed one with this team and the only way to solve that problem is a change of address. He is not suited to being the main cog. He would be an excellent #2 but he is not a good #1.

Carlisle is to blame as well, though I think he has had to deal with some mistakes by Bird/Walsh, especially in regards to Artest. I could see him staying if some major personnel changes are made. I do believe Rick can change his style and he think he did last year when JO was out and this year when JO was out. He changed and the team responded but then JO came back and guess what - the team didn't play as well. They didn't move the ball as much. They didn't play as well on defensive. They didn't seem to move or cut as sharply as when JO was out. Is this because Carlisle wants JO to be more involved? Is this because JO demands the ball? Is this because the team sees it's "leader" whine and complain to the refs after every other play and they are distracted? I think it's a little of all of these. I think the Pistons and Patriots have shown what the model for championship teams is - very good, very smart players who put maximum effort every day. They have players who outsmart their opponent and they are very coachable and willing to learn. This team has very few of these people on their roster. Granger comes to mind but not too many others.

It will be an interesting off season for sure. I see some wholesale changes coming with this team.

Unclebuck
04-10-2006, 03:42 PM
DK, your post has some merit, but if Artest is the real reason behind all this, then I blame the current players. OK so the players wanted Ron gone, and he is gone, he hasn't played a game for the Pacers since December 6th, 4 months ago and 60 games ago. When does the statute of limitations run on this issue. When can we start blaming the current set of players.

I guess I consider it a cop out, a built in excuse for the current players.

Peck
04-10-2006, 03:57 PM
DK, your post has some merit, but if Artest is the real reason behind all this, then I blame the current players. OK so the players wanted Ron gone, and he is gone, he hasn't played a game for the Pacers since December 6th, 4 months ago and 60 games ago. When does the statute of limitations run on this issue. When can we start blaming the current set of players.

I guess I consider it a cop out, a built in excuse for the current players.

Your right & wrong all at the same time.

To still be blaming Ron for the day to day misery that is the Pacers would be wrong. However to not understand that the way the Pacers dealt with Ron had long lasting ramifications would be wrong as well.

Remember over the past three years how I kept saying that I did not like special treatment for any one player because it showed other players that they too could get by with bad behavior?

Rimfire's example of the kid burning down the school may be extreme but it is accurate.

Remember when Rick first got here I said that he was afraid to discipline Ron & how you had a seizure at my theory? Well, come to find out it was true. They did not lay down the same guidelines for him as they did any other Pacer & in the end it burned their @ss.

Remember early this season A.J. took his time walking off of the court & got a "T"? Why shouldn't he do that when everytime Jack is taken out of a game he has a fit & often times yells at Rick?

You have to treat every player the same. That is why Reggie Miller was so special, he never once asked to be treated any differantly. He never caused problems & he never took time off from the team to do anything other than basketball.

I think he was allowed to miss two pre-season workouts to film his part in that Billy Crystal movie, but that is all that I can remember.

Next season though you are correct. There will be no Ron to fall back on.

But for now, like it or not, the spectre of Ron looms large on this season.

DisplacedKnick
04-10-2006, 04:01 PM
DK, your post has some merit, but if Artest is the real reason behind all this, then I blame the current players. OK so the players wanted Ron gone, and he is gone, he hasn't played a game for the Pacers since December 6th, 4 months ago and 60 games ago. When does the statute of limitations run on this issue. When can we start blaming the current set of players.

I guess I consider it a cop out, a built in excuse for the current players.

Artest isn't the reason - it's Pacers management's response to his antics. Remember, we're talking about a player who completely destroyed one season, had a large role in screwing up this one, and at least contributed to being eliminated from the playoffs in '04. Just how long can a player sit idly by and watch that player be treated as a golden boy when you've behaved yourself and watch him wreck everything you've worked for? It's GOT to screw with your psyche.

For two straight season the team's had high expectations going into the season and had the rug dragged out from under them by a player who'd given everyone multiple warnings that he couldn't be depended on - yet a player who management backed in every way at every turn.

If I was a Pacers player I wouldn't have a lot of faith in either management or the coach (who toed the company line but does anyone really believe that any sane coach could have enjoyed coaching Artest?) after how they've handled things the last two years.

J_2_Da_IzzO
04-10-2006, 04:11 PM
Since JO has come back he has not rebounded like he did before he was injured and I think its about time he did b ecause he has had enough time to recover from that injury. Thats the only thing I blame him for. He has shown emotion game after game. Blocking shots, taking charges only for someone to give it back to them with a bad pass or stupid shot.

Our team is completely lost becaue of coaching. Noone knows who to go to. Noone realizes when they are in the best position to score and instead passes it on. Nobody knows. Thats our problem. We have somedays JO taking 6 shots and 5 players attempting more then him and then we have JO taking 12 shots along with Peja and Jax.

If we trade Jax and get a shooting guard that can shoot but also can make clever decisions, which Jack obviously doesnt, and get a new coach that sets out straight whos our main offensive pairing without taking them out at the sametime of every ******* game we would be a contender once again.

Since86
04-10-2006, 04:55 PM
Since JO has come back he has not rebounded like he did before he was injured and I think its about time he did b ecause he has had enough time to recover from that injury. Thats the only thing I blame him for. He has shown emotion game after game. Blocking shots, taking charges only for someone to give it back to them with a bad pass or stupid shot.

Our team is completely lost becaue of coaching. Noone knows who to go to. Noone realizes when they are in the best position to score and instead passes it on. Nobody knows. Thats our problem. We have somedays JO taking 6 shots and 5 players attempting more then him and then we have JO taking 12 shots along with Peja and Jax.

If we trade Jax and get a shooting guard that can shoot but also can make clever decisions, which Jack obviously doesnt, and get a new coach that sets out straight whos our main offensive pairing without taking them out at the sametime of every ******* game we would be a contender once again.

Statistically his rebounding numbers are very similiar. Last week I averaged it out for another thread, and he was less than a full rebound behind his pre-injury rpg numbers.

When are the current Pacer players going to step up and say "Damnit, I get played to play a freaking game, that I've played for close to 20yrs. I don't need a coach yapping in my ear on where to go on which plays, or too box out, or to stay in front of my man."?

In HS we were constantly preached too about the one thing as a player you can control, and that's hustle. There are some nights that you just can't hit a shot. The release can feel good, it can look good, but it can roll around and drop off. Some nights you can play picturesic defense, and the offense just hits shots.

Your hustle is the ONLY thing in any sport you can control, and these players have ZERO. If they can't movitate themselves to play, then no one can, and it burns my *** to hear constant "blame Rick" for them not putting in the effort.

Last years team, during the JO/Jax suspensions, were 10xs better than this year, because they busted their *** every single night. It was a decent college team playing NBA teams down to the wire every night, and everyone loved them, and Rick's approval rating was through the roof. Rick isn't mailing in his effort, nor changing his game plans every other night.

Players play, and they aren't playing. If I was management, and there was another pathetic performace tonight, I would start suspending players. I'd stagger them so you have enough shirts to play, but they'd definately be missing some paychecks.

Unclebuck
04-10-2006, 05:02 PM
Your right & wrong all at the same time.

To still be blaming Ron for the day to day misery that is the Pacers would be wrong. However to not understand that the way the Pacers dealt with Ron had long lasting ramifications would be wrong as well.

Remember over the past three years how I kept saying that I did not like special treatment for any one player because it showed other players that they too could get by with bad behavior?

Rimfire's example of the kid burning down the school may be extreme but it is accurate.

Remember when Rick first got here I said that he was afraid to discipline Ron & how you had a seizure at my theory? Well, come to find out it was true. They did not lay down the same guidelines for him as they did any other Pacer & in the end it burned their @ss.

Remember early this season A.J. took his time walking off of the court & got a "T"? Why shouldn't he do that when everytime Jack is taken out of a game he has a fit & often times yells at Rick?

You have to treat every player the same. That is why Reggie Miller was so special, he never once asked to be treated any differantly. He never caused problems & he never took time off from the team to do anything other than basketball.

I think he was allowed to miss two pre-season workouts to film his part in that Billy Crystal movie, but that is all that I can remember.

Next season though you are correct. There will be no Ron to fall back on.

But for now, like it or not, the spectre of Ron looms large on this season.


I said it has some merit and I'll grant you it has had a negative effect, I don't know, maybe more than I realize. I do want to mention that during Rick's first game as a pacers coach, very first preseason game, Artest got a technical for playing around with the ref, and Rick took him out of the game right away.

ChicagoJ
04-10-2006, 05:14 PM
Yep, that's when Ron pretended to flip the ball at the official and the official, admittedly, overreacted (based, of course, on Ron's past temper.)

And then, when Rick pulled him from the game, Ron protested and sat down in the front row of the stands, in front of Larry Bird.

The Bulls radio announcers had a heyday with this whole situation. I started a poll during the game on when Ron's next meltdown would be. I was still somewhat new; that may have been the first thread I ever started. Had some funny responses. Unfortunately, that was lost in one of PD's moves/ fires.

Bird told Ron to get back on the bench, saying, "That's not how we're going to do it around here anymore."

Ron then suggested the Pacers should trade him right after that game, but unfortunately cooler heads prevailed.


+ + + + + + + + +

You've always underestimated just how damaging Ron was to his teammates. So why should now be any different?

Ron was a poison. They are still removing the venom.