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View Full Version : Remaking Pacers rivals Bird's toughest on-court challenges



microwave_oven
05-08-2006, 04:18 PM
Didn't see this posted...
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INDIANAPOLIS Never mind what was happening on the court Thursday night. The Indiana Pacers were expiring like last month's milk, but everyone saw that coming. The man to watch sat in the second row of a corner section, quiet and stone faced, looking as if he wouldn't change expression if someone shouted "Fire!"
Which it's time to holler, by the way, about his basketball team. The Pacers are a four-alarm mess.

Larry Bird ... you're on.

We all know how he once could score. Pass. Shoot. Coach. Win. But now Bird is a front-office suit. The ball is in his hands, and he always liked that. But this is different.

The Pacers have fallen apart, and Bird along with team president Donnie Walsh has to put them back together again.

Now we'll find out how a Hall of Fame player and home-state icon is as a repairman.

Bird is finishing his third season as president of basketball operations. He was hired to be the shrewd and willful maestro. His first year, the Pacers made it to the third round. His second, they advanced to the second round. This time, they were gone in the first round.

Plot that on a graph, and it looks like President Bush's popularity numbers.

Not that Bird can be held especially culpable. The Pacers have hardly survived the Ron Artest Virus.

Artest's moment of madness in Detroit 18 months ago, when he launched a counterattack into the stands, doomed last season. His decision to jump Indiana's ship in December doomed this one. One minute he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, quoted on how much he loved the place. The next, he was taking a verbal flamethrower to it.

It is difficult to think of another sport franchise more damaged by one player's whims and moods. The Pacers have been in nearly a non-stop crisis-control mode since the night of Nov. 19, 2004.

They made it through last season with a sense of us-against-the-world purpose. This season crumbled with rotten luck, rotten chemistry, rotten health. And Reggie Miller wasn't around anymore to keep the fragments glued together.

By Thursday night, when the New Jersey Nets put them out of their misery, the Pacers were a shell. Three former starters sat idle with aches and pains, the depleted bench did not score a point, and Indiana lost with its 34th different lineup of the season.

"You get tired, you get worn down ... fighting an uphill battle over and over and over again," Jermaine O'Neal said afterward. "You don't expect to go through tough times two consecutive years."

So now Bird has more questions to answer than on an SAT test.

It is reasonable to ask if the chronically injured Pacers are just unlucky or not tough enough. If O'Neal is capable of being a team go-to leader, or must be traded. If Peja Stojakovic is worth paying to keep. If the roster should be tweaked or ransacked. If head coach Rick Carlisle lost the attention of his team.

Chemistry is fragile. There have been persistent hints the Pacers questioned one another, doubted one another, lost faith in one another. Though O'Neal said Thursday, "If they didn't like each other, they did a hell of a job acting like they did."

Apparently, the Pacers are not yet ready to allow Bird to publicly discuss reconstruction. Just as he was about to address the issue in a hallway late Thursday night, a club media relations official shooed him away, to speak another day.

"You're the man," Bird shrugged, and vanished.

But there is so much waiting to be fixed. And Bird thought beating Magic Johnson was a tough job


http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/lopresti/2006-05-05-pacers_x.htm

ChicagoJ
05-08-2006, 04:26 PM
As much as I like to see the picture of Mike (Jay's_Wife@Section204 used to babysit his kids, and I still ask why a nationally-known sportswriter chooses to live in Richmond of all places), can you please clean up the HTML code?

Thanks, Jay

microwave_oven
05-08-2006, 04:33 PM
Sorry bout that.

Lord Helmet
05-08-2006, 04:53 PM
As much as I like to see the picture of Mike (Jay's_Wife@Section204 used to babysit his kids, and I still ask why a nationally-known sportswriter chooses to live in Richmond of all places), can you please clean up the HTML code?

Thanks, Jay
I didn't know he lives in my hometown.......

Don't hate on Richmond. (Yeah, I know, it sucks.)

btowncolt
05-08-2006, 04:54 PM
HTML is still screwy.

SoupIsGood
05-08-2006, 04:59 PM
:disturbed

Mourning
05-08-2006, 05:00 PM
Interesting nonetheless.

Unclebuck
05-08-2006, 05:00 PM
What in the world

Anthem
05-08-2006, 05:00 PM
What a strange thread. Is it all weird for you guys?

Unclebuck
05-08-2006, 05:01 PM
What a strange thread. Is it all weird for you guys?


Yes it is all wierd

Mourning
05-08-2006, 05:05 PM
Come on guys, respond to the article not how it was posted, please ;).

Regards,

Mourning :cool:

btowncolt
05-08-2006, 05:07 PM
Come on guys, respond to the article not how it was posted, please ;).

Regards,

Mourning :cool:

Except that able is pretty specific about these things.

We're trying to help MO before this gets deleted.

ChicagoJ
05-08-2006, 05:13 PM
Mr. Oven, please search for any/ all html tags and delete.

DeS
05-08-2006, 05:17 PM
Not sure, but imo You have to delete the table tags at the begining of the post.

DeS
05-08-2006, 05:19 PM
x

ChicagoJ
05-08-2006, 05:23 PM
What the hell?

alright, I'm locking this one. Anyone care to start it again. I thought it was a good article.

Hicks
05-08-2006, 05:41 PM
I fixed it. :)

Two things:

1) However you copied the article, mircrowave_oven, next time paste it into notepad first, then copy & paste what you get from that into your actual post. That will stop this from happening.

DeS, I had to edit your last post because whatever code/HTML you were trying to display was messing the thread up too.

GO!!!!!
05-08-2006, 06:49 PM
great article none the less.. nice find... DISCLAIMER: being a Pacer fun can cause heart problems

rexnom
05-08-2006, 08:57 PM
Question...and I don't mean to hate on the legend but...has anything good happened to the Pacers since Larry Bird came? Administration-wise? Weren't we always known for our top-notch management?

Bball
05-08-2006, 09:34 PM
Question...and I don't mean to hate on the legend but...has anything good happened to the Pacers since Larry Bird came? Administration-wise? Weren't we always known for our top-notch management?

Altho I am frustrated with Rick Carlisle right now, getting rid of Isiah Thomas and getting a real coach with a plan was not a bad thing. This team greatly needed a system and a plan and IMHO the 61 win season showed that was true.

Carlisle's game management alone was world's farther along than Isiah's. Isiah's coaching was flawed on many levels and not helped by having a team that was in such desperate need of coaching/direction.

But, likely hastened by 11/19, Carlisle's time has come to it's end IMHO. He needs to grow and expand (at least somewhat) with his team and he doesn't do that.

But other than that.... Hmmmmm.... Welll... Granger appears to be a good draft pick and Harrison might be (and when you consider where we picked him it's hard to imagine doing much better).

If you are implying Bird alone is to blame for this mess then you must have a fly on the wall relaying messages to you because it doesn't appear Walsh has handed anyone the keys to the Pacer kingdom. Bird may not be anymore to blame than a friend sitting in the passenger seat of your car would be to blame for your speeding ticket. Even if that friend was imploring you to go faster, you are the one with your foot on the gas and hands on the wheel.

And if Bird is entirely to blame then what is Donnie even doing bothering to show up at the offices and games? Wouldn't that be saying he (DW) has no role or is just rubberstamping everything?

That name... Teflon Don... really comes to mind right here. All the credit for the good... no blame for the bad. The bad has to be someone else's fault.

-Bball

rexnom
05-08-2006, 10:13 PM
I'm more frustrated than anything...Bird is definitely not alone here but I am not about to not blame him for this mess...I still am astounded at this team. I personally don't buy the whole "bad chemistry" thing. That is an excuse to me. Sure, you can chalk off a few losses to that, but everything...no.

Unclebuck
05-08-2006, 10:32 PM
Why has no one else touched on the most interesting part of the article, at least for me it is. The last part when Bird is shooed away by the club media relations official - otherwise known as David Benner

rexnom
05-08-2006, 10:48 PM
Why has no one else touched on the most interesting part of the article, at least for me it is. The last part when Bird is shooed away by the club media relations official - otherwise known as David Benner

Wow, I really misinterpreted that. Just slipped. You're right. That is easily one of the most interesting parts. My guess is that Bird is becoming a small PR nightmare when he just unleashes his HUGE proclamations. Probably not a good idea to have him talk after a playoff loss. I think the whole Carlisle backing was a mistake...only because I don't think it's 100% true. Bird will regret it...

Bball
05-08-2006, 10:51 PM
Why has no one else touched on the most interesting part of the article, at least for me it is. The last part when Bird is shooed away by the club media relations official - otherwise known as David Benner

I admit my eyebrows went up when I read that...
But I didn't touch on it because I really have no idea what to make of it? Did it mean/tell anything to you?

-Bball

Unclebuck
05-08-2006, 10:53 PM
I admit my eyebrows went up when I read that...
But I didn't touch on it because I really have no idea what to make of it? Did it mean/tell anything to you?

-Bball



I don't know, I need to give it some more thought

pizza guy
05-08-2006, 11:07 PM
All I really have to say is that I agree 110% with everything in that article. It may well be the best-written, most all-encompassing, down-to-the-facts article we've seen about the Pacers. It's been mentioned before that because we have Bird, a Boston/New England legend, we get a lot of Boston/NE coverage, despite being a midwest team; and that's wonderful because they have some of the best writers in the country. This dude hit the nail on the head on every issue from chemistry, to coaching, to the front office.

About the topic of the article...I don't think Bird can be blamed for everything. Right now, the Al for SJax trade looks horrible, and so does letting B. Miller walk. But firing IT, hiring RC and using that transition to keep JO was brilliant. I'm sure DW had his hand in all of it, but you know that Bird was in on it as well. Maybe he needs to be more careful with what he says, but eh, I like his honesty. Maybe he messed up with Artest, but then again, most folks on here loved him for a while, too - some still do.

It can't all be blamed on RonRon either, even though we'd love to do it that way. Everyone from top to bottom has to accept some blame, and it's management's job to fix it. And around here, where basketball means so much, it better be fixed quickly.

microwave_oven
05-09-2006, 12:14 AM
I fixed it. :)

Two things:

1) However you copied the article, mircrowave_oven, next time paste it into notepad first, then copy & paste what you get from that into your actual post. That will stop this from happening.

DeS, I had to edit your last post because whatever code/HTML you were trying to display was messing the thread up too.

Thank you, and thanks for the tip!

Sorry about that everyone, my wireless network was down for about 6 hours today, so I couldn't fix the problem. I originally thought I fixed it, but apparently I did not....sorry.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p> </o:p>
Anyway the most interesting part to me was about Larry being stopped by a "media relations" official. Obviously Bird is not going to sit tight this off-season. He was about to tell us that big changes are coming. What they are, we don't know. But I, for one, am very excited that Bird knows we cannot just try and change attitudes. Sometimes you have to cut off a bad limb to save the tree.

Bball
05-09-2006, 12:28 AM
Thank you, and thanks for the tip!

Sorry about that everyone, my wireless network was down for about 6 hours today, so I couldn't fix the problem. I originally thought I fixed it, but apparently I did not....sorry.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p> </o:p>
Anyway the most interesting part to me was about Larry being stopped by a "media relations" official. Obviously Bird is not going to sit tight this off-season. He was about to tell us that big changes are coming. What they are, we don't know. But I, for one, am very excited that Bird knows we cannot just try and change attitudes. Sometimes you have to cut off a bad limb to save the tree.


ORRRRRRRRRRRRRRR he was about to tell us what we don't want to hear and what the PR deptartment wants to keep under wraps for as long as possible because they doubt it will help ticket sales: Let's call it the "We don't want to make trades just to make trades" spiel with a helping of the "I'm not going to fire Coach Carlisle" talk. Mix in a "We had a lot of injuries and the reality is that this team came together and made the playoffs and fought really hard so we don't want to ruin the continuity that we began to rebuild" speech. And let's not forget the "While we'd like to make some moves, the reality of our situation in regards to the salary cap limits us greatly" dose of reality.

Do I believe that was what Bird was really going to say? No... not necessarily... BUT I'm trying to make the point that Bird said 'nothing' and so 'nothing' (as far as info on player moves) is exactly what we can take away from it. We can try and believe what we'd like to believe because it might fit our views or hopes... But unfortunately, by not allowing Bird to say anything... Benner made sure Bird didn't say anything... That is all. In this case, the silence didn't speak volumes at all.

-Bball

microwave_oven
05-09-2006, 12:34 AM
I see your point, but respectfully disagree.

That is exactly my point. Bird always says those things, but this time he didn't. Why would Benner stop him if he were just going to say "we won't make trades just to make trades." He always says that with no officials keeping him quiet. Bird and Benner know something, and Benner doesn't want anything to leak out.

Bball
05-09-2006, 12:43 AM
I see your point, but respectfully disagree.

That is exactly my point. Bird always says those things, but this time he didn't. Why would Benner stop him if he were just going to say "we won't make trades just to make trades." He always says that with no officials keeping him quiet. Bird and Benner know something, and Benner doesn't want anything to leak out.


You must've missed my point. My point was Benner might not have been stopping him from telling us what some fans want to hear... he might've been stopping him from telling us what many fans don't want to hear. And if it is something that many do not want to hear then TPTB could fear it could have a negative impact on ticket sales and build some bad blood with the fanbase while memories of this season are still fresh in people's minds. So maybe TPTB feel it is best to not be talking about minimal changes at this point.

And that was just pointing out one alternate scenario of why Benner would hustle Bird along. It could've had nothing to do with the questioning at all... It could've been Bird was late for a meeting or a Dr appointment... or was expecting a phone call.... or Benner himself had somewhere to be.

Overall point being, there's nothing there to hang our hat on at all...

-Bball

microwave_oven
05-09-2006, 12:53 AM
I agree that it is not enough information to get really excited about, because nothing was really said. I guess my gut is just telling me that Larry really wants to make some dramatic changes.