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Putnam
05-10-2006, 09:42 AM
O'Neal was out a lot, Tinsley even more, and several other players missed games. The Pacers used more than 30 different starting line-ups during the season. We all know that.

So, the question: To what extent did injuries contribute to the Pacers poor season? To what extent can we use injuries as a justification or excuse?

Some contributors to Pacers Digest are willing to excuse the season simply because there were injuries. That view implies that the same players and coaches would have had a better season if there had simply been fewer DNPs. These folks tend to defend Carlisle for doing a great job of dealing with the ever shifting lineup. Whether they say this or not, they seem to believe that the same players and coaches could come back in 06-07 and win 50-60 games.


My view is:

A. The team was supposed to be deep enough to deal with injuries and it wasn't, which is a failure of management,
B. The "chemistry" issue did more harm than injuries,
C. Players playing out of position or not knowing how to play did more harm than injuries,
D. The best interval of the season was when JO was sitting, and the worst when almost everyone was playing,
E. Several players didn't perform well even when they were healthy, and,
F. Staying healthy is fundamental to the game, so injuries can never be accepted as an excuse for failure.

A year earlier, they had more suspensions/injuries than this year. They won more games and they went farther in the playoffs. Was this year different, or are we just getting better at making excuses?

These questions have been mentioned in other threads, but I'd like to see a discussion specifically on the topic.

D-BONE
05-10-2006, 09:53 AM
I tend to agree with your assessment. I don't like the injury explanation despite the fact that it was the 2nd consecutive year with pretty unprecedented incidence of them.

As far as team chemistry or psyche, the one thing I can accept to an extent is the severe depressing/destabilizing influence of having to deal with an Artest fiasco for a 2nd year in a row.

Even if the players and coaches could read the writing on the wall that it was inevitable and even if blame can be heaped on TPTB for holding on to Ron-Ron too long, the destruction of high expectations yet again is hard to overcome.

As others have pointed out, though, the chemistry part did not improve consistnently or all that much overall after removing that "cancer".

So I'd say I look at the big picture as excuses. Bottom line is this team does not appear to have the character, talent level, and talent fit to be a contender IMO. Some of the remaining core guys (JO, Foster, Tins) must be seriously scrutinized, not just the obvious problems (Jack).

Your point about some of the best play (including some of the most cohesive playing) happening in JO's absence is particularly relevant to an honest assessment of the team. How can this be explained?

ChicagoJ
05-10-2006, 10:08 AM
Easy - when they were shorthanded (minus JO), everybody from the coach on down really empahsized the "team" approach as the only way they could win without him.

Once he returned, everybody (from the coach on down) just expected that JO would be able to carry the team 'as a superstar should'.

Of course, JO's surrounding cast doesn't really compliment his low-post skills. He needs capable passers to get him the ball in an optimal position. He needs the other four guys to *at least* be a threat to score so that he's not constantly double-teamed. Specfically, he needs consistent (not streaky) spot-up shooters that are content to wait for the ball to come back to them to spread the defense and he needs the player on the weak side (Foster) to be competent offensively. And on the defensive end, he needs to play with a bruiser that can guard the other team's post player so he's not worn down or in foul trouble.

JO is not a perimeter-oriented superstar, with the ball in his hands making plays. He's an interior (post playing) superstar, and its foolish to think he can carry *this* team "on his own". He needs players that compliment his skills, not players that minimize his skills/ effectiveness.

Seed
05-10-2006, 10:09 AM
It is extremely hard to say what would have happened without all the injuries. IMO the chemistry issue can not be separated from them.

What's certain is that this year (added to the one before) has left its mark on the players and the coaching staff, so changes must be done.

Besides, were the hot discussions we had about nose sinuses that bad? :)

DisplacedKnick
05-10-2006, 10:14 AM
If you hadn't had the injuries you might have finished 4th or 5th in the Conf which could have drawn you Cleveland or Washington.

IOW, you might've gotten to the 2nd round before being eliminated - I'd give the Pacers the edge vs the Wizards and a tossup with Cleveland.

But you'd have been blown away by Detroit in the 2nd rd.

The team played pretty well vs NJ - but the team just was never as good as Detroit or NJ, and probably not as good as the Heat (though you did well during the season vs them).

D-BONE
05-10-2006, 10:23 AM
Easy - when they were shorthanded (minus JO), everybody from the coach on down really empahsized the "team" approach as the only way they could win without him.

Once he returned, everybody (from the coach on down) just expected that JO would be able to carry the team 'as a superstar should'.

Of course, JO's surrounding cast doesn't really compliment his low-post skills. He needs capable passers to get him the ball in an optimal position. He needs the other four guys to *at least* be a threat to score so that he's not constantly double-teamed. Specfically, he needs consistent (not streaky) spot-up shooters that are content to wait for the ball to come back to them to spread the defense and he needs the player on the weak side (Foster) to be competent offensively. And on the defensive end, he needs to play with a bruiser that can guard the other team's post player so he's not worn down or in foul trouble.

JO is not a perimeter-oriented superstar, with the ball in his hands making plays. He's an interior (post playing) superstar, and its foolish to think he can carry *this* team "on his own". He needs players that compliment his skills, not players that minimize his skills/ effectiveness.

Solid premise here. I will reiterate however my disagreement with the term superstar for JO. Or at least you are hinting at a hierarchy in which perimeter superstars are more "super" than interior ones b/c they can more easily influence/impact play.

Personally, I'd just prefer the term superstar be stricken from the lingo all together b/c it emphasizes too much indivduality as if any player could singlehandedly carry a team.

I think star would be sufficient although arguing semantics is always the proverbial slippery slope.

I will also reiterate my perspective (and surely that of others) that, in looking at the teams remaining in the post season, the bump and grind, slogging, low post, offensive presence is no longer crucial to a highly successful team.

I would even say Detroit fits that description. Yes they have good bigs that defend but none of them is an extreme case of on the box only scorers.

Duncan is similar to this, of course. Shaq I suppose, but he's really far from the dominant player on that team now IMO.

This, of course, extends to RC's philosophy, as well. For this reason, I'd be happy to see his offensive approach scrapped and/or his departure.

Next question, about JO having to guard the other team's bruiser. So add us a bruiser, who does that mean JO guards when we play Detroit? Ben or Sheed? I see issues either way.

Against SA does he go Nazr or Tim? I see issues either way. The one w/ Nazr being he's still on the team's bruiser.

NJ? Collins or Krstic? Collins, still the bruiser. Krstic, can he cover him? So I'm just not convinced this argument holds water in absolute terms.

Indyfan
05-10-2006, 10:27 AM
The schedule was extremely favorable over the Feb. time frame when JO was out, and I think it played a major role in our success at that time as well. March and April were really tough months as far as frequency of games, lack of practice time, and that may explain part of the trouble when JO returned. We didn't have the practice time to work JO back into the new offense, it was done during games to some extent.

I also agree that the mental strain of having to deal with major issues (Artest going bonkers and so many injuries to key players) for the 2nd year in a row was perhaps too much to overcome. We also lost Reggie's influence in the locker room and his leadership and clutch shooting on the court. This year is a tribute in ways to all Reggie really did mean to this franchise, seeing what happened to this team after he left.

The chemistry problems go very deep, remember the times when we were all pointing out how guys wouldn't pass to Saras for a time, there was some deep seeded issues going on which I don't think we as fans even know the tip of. I think some of those things also may have tied coach's hands in how he handled some players. Jax may have deserved a harder hand from coach, but for a good portion of the season Jax was the best player available to play. I think he is a volitale person who had to be handled very carefully. We don't know what goes on in the locker room or in the front office, we see only a very small portion of what happens with the team, the public portion.

Injuries are not an excuse, but they are a reality, and we have to factor in the part they played in our season. I find it unexplainable really, how we could have two years of such serious injuries to most of our core players. I am sure it was hard for the guys to show up and play undermanned so often, and hard for the coaching staff to show up and prepare a game plan night after night without knowing who would be out there to play. Even the fans are mentally worn out from it all.

This entire franchise needs to have some good fortune fall to its lot, in order to get back the confidence and swagger we had two years ago. Granger is a bright spot, AJ's great late season play may be a ray of hope (or fools gold, I'm not sure which), everything else is just tainted with a question about if guys can stay healthy, if guys can be mentally tough enough to play through bad calls, tough breaks, etc. JO,Tins, Jeff, Cro, Pollard, Hulk, Peja, Freddie, and Jax (even though Jax is the one guy who played through his injuries) all have had serious injuries the past two years. Saras has yet to prove he can be a difference maker in this league, I haven't given up on him, but I'm also not ready to hand him minutes either. There are so many questions and it falls on TPTB at this point to assess it all and figure out how to put this team back together again. This is no easy task.

D-BONE
05-10-2006, 10:40 AM
There are so many questions and it falls on TPTB at this point to assess it all and figure out how to put this team back together again. This is no easy task.

Precisely! It is not at all EASY. To say anything regarding the prospect of improving this team following this year is EASY is, IMO, to grossly oversimplify an extremely complex and unstable situation.

In fact, it might result in deceiving ourselves into an even more perplexing and frustrating state.

ChicagoJ
05-10-2006, 10:58 AM
Solid premise here. I will reiterate however my disagreement with the term superstar for JO. Or at least you are hinting at a hierarchy in which perimeter superstars are more "super" than interior ones b/c they can more easily influence/impact play.

Personally, I'd just prefer the term superstar be stricken from the lingo all together b/c it emphasizes too much indivduality as if any player could singlehandedly carry a team.

I think star would be sufficient although arguing semantics is always the proverbial slippery slope.

Fine counterpoints. Wilt couldn't really win on his own. Kareem needed Oscar or Magic.

The misconception is that a superstar can dominate a game on his own and win a championship by simply being the best player on the court. And really, that's just a by-product of the freakish Jordan era, where the best player in the game was a wing player and not a post player and actually *did* have the ball in his hands all the time. Just about all "superstars" still need a supporting cast. I'd still argue the low-post superstar is superior because, when used properly, he should be able to get the most high-percentage shots for his team and prevent the opponent from getting high-percentage shots. And that's exactly what Shaq could do in his prime.


I will also reiterate my perspective (and surely that of others) that, in looking at the teams remaining in the post season, the bump and grind, slogging, low post, offensive presence is no longer crucial to a highly successful team.

I would even say Detroit fits that description. Yes they have good bigs that defend but none of them is an extreme case of on the box only scorers.

Duncan is similar to this, of course. Shaq I suppose, but he's really far from the dominant player on that team now IMO.

This, of course, extends to RC's philosophy, as well. For this reason, I'd be happy to see his offensive approach scrapped and/or his departure.

Next question, about JO having to guard the other team's bruiser. So add us a bruiser, who does that mean JO guards when we play Detroit? Ben or Sheed? I see issues either way.

I generally agree, but I think it has more to do with the general lack of big man that want to play in the post. Everybody wants to be like KG and Dirk, and face the basket. I'd like to blame it on the European players like Dirk and Paul, but KG - for all his talent - has at times been one of the biggest prima donnas for avoiding post/ physical play in the league. My goodness, your 7'0" tall and strong, get down in the paint where you belong.

More specifically to your point, who does JO guard (Ben or Sheed)? Right now, he has to guard both. We were moderately successful last season when DD could help by guarding one of them. Sure, I see issues with him guarding either one of them, but fewer issues than when he has to guard both of them.


Against SA does he go Nazr or Tim? I see issues either way. The one w/ Nazr being he's still on the team's bruiser.

NJ? Collins or Krstic? Collins, still the bruiser. Krstic, can he cover him? So I'm just not convinced this argument holds water in absolute terms.

Regular season or playoffs? Because Foster is usually able to stay on the court during the regular season, and he's pretty good defensively against Krstic (although David is better). And Foster is surprisingly good against Duncan (until Duncan remembers to just take him into the paint and then he eats him alive.) Part of the problem you are describing is that Foster basically takes himself out of a playoff series with his inept offense.

beast23
05-10-2006, 11:01 AM
...JO is not a perimeter-oriented superstar, with the ball in his hands making plays. He's an interior (post playing) superstar, and its foolish to think he can carry *this* team "on his own". He needs players that compliment his skills, not players that minimize his skills/ effectiveness.
Jay, not to hijack the thread, but just a quick question.

Many of us, myself included, believe that Jermaine tends to "force" the action at times in his interior post-up position, trying to take advantage of things that just really aren't there.

Do you think that JO's impatience in forcing the action is a result of his trying to take advantage of whatever passes are made to him because he might believe that his perimeter players are not capable of making any better pass with the remaining time on the shot clock? Would you expect him to act differently, and perhaps be perceived as being "less selfish" if he had more capable players around him?

bulletproof
05-10-2006, 11:02 AM
Some contributors to Pacers Digest are willing to excuse the season simply because there were injuries.
Who has said that? Quotes please. I think most people here have a pretty realistic view of the impact of injuries on the season. You, on the other hand, seem to be minimalizing them to an unrealistic extent.


That view implies that the same players and coaches would have had a better season if there had simply been fewer DNPs.
Um, well, with Peja in the lineup, the Pacers were 2-0 against NJ and 0-4 without him. I think it's safe to assume that we would have fared better with him. So yeah, the Pacers would have arguably had a better season without all the injuries.


These folks tend to defend Carlisle for doing a great job of dealing with the ever shifting lineup.
Again, what folks?

But even the objective observer - sportswriters from other cities, on-air announcers and commentators - acknowledges Rick has done an exceptional job the past two seasons under the circumstances. To minimalize the impact Ron and suspensions and injuries and the physical and emotional toll they have taken on this team is absurd.


Whether they say this or not, they seem to believe that the same players and coaches could come back in 06-07 and win 50-60 games.
I haven't seen one person here suggest that we stand pat during the off-season and bring back the same players and personnel. Not one. Even the most sunshiney among us have expressed a desire for significant changes.

Putnam
05-10-2006, 12:31 PM
Who has said that? Quotes please.

Seed said it. See the 8th entry in the current thread about Bird to meet with media. Uncle Buck asks why didn't the team improve after Artest left, and Seed answers, and I quote, "Injuries."





To minimalize the impact Ron and suspensions and injuries and the physical and emotional toll they have taken on this team is absurd.



It would be equally absurd to overstate the effect of injuries. I don't wish to do either. I asked others to comment on how significant injuries were in their opinion.

Finally, I'd like to point out to Bulletproof that the correct word is "minimize" not "minimalize."



Hey Seed, I just picked you out as the most recent example that fit the point. I don 't suppose one single answer encompasses all you have to say. There was and is no intention to dis you, or to identify you with any position except those you take for yourself.

CableKC
05-10-2006, 12:39 PM
Easy - when they were shorthanded (minus JO), everybody from the coach on down really empahsized the "team" approach as the only way they could win without him.

Once he returned, everybody (from the coach on down) just expected that JO would be able to carry the team 'as a superstar should'.

Of course, JO's surrounding cast doesn't really compliment his low-post skills. He needs capable passers to get him the ball in an optimal position. He needs the other four guys to *at least* be a threat to score so that he's not constantly double-teamed. Specfically, he needs consistent (not streaky) spot-up shooters that are content to wait for the ball to come back to them to spread the defense and he needs the player on the weak side (Foster) to be competent offensively. And on the defensive end, he needs to play with a bruiser that can guard the other team's post player so he's not worn down or in foul trouble.

JO is not a perimeter-oriented superstar, with the ball in his hands making plays. He's an interior (post playing) superstar, and its foolish to think he can carry *this* team "on his own". He needs players that compliment his skills, not players that minimize his skills/ effectiveness.

Good analysis.....of the current roster....do you see any "spot-up" consistent shooterse that can compliment his skills?

I'm guessing that SJax isn't on the list....and Peja is?

ChicagoJ
05-10-2006, 12:42 PM
Jay, not to hijack the thread, but just a quick question.

Many of us, myself included, believe that Jermaine tends to "force" the action at times in his interior post-up position, trying to take advantage of things that just really aren't there.

Do you think that JO's impatience in forcing the action is a result of his trying to take advantage of whatever passes are made to him because he might believe that his perimeter players are not capable of making any better pass with the remaining time on the shot clock? Would you expect him to act differently, and perhaps be perceived as being "less selfish" if he had more capable players around him?

Yes. and Yes. I agree that he forces the action too much. But I don't mind his quick-hitting, back to the basket moves. I don't like his face-the-basket, hold the ball then make a move moves.

And it isn't necessarily a "better" pass - we saw in the playoffs where JO would carve out great position but nobody could get the pass in there on time. I'm trying to get at the fact that the entry pass would come too late, and JO would lose his superior interior position or would have to step too far away from the basket to catch the ball (and then, turn and face the basket.)

I think, especially in the first month of the season, we saw JO's frustration as SJax, Ron, Tinsley and Fred seemed to be in a competitive race to see which player could jack up a bad jumpshot early in the shotclock without even attempting to pass into the paint.

And that doesn't even begin to address the fact that we only had two good post-passers on the roster in the first place (one has been traded and the other is always hurt).

bulletproof
05-10-2006, 12:58 PM
It would be equally absurd to overstate the effect of injuries. I don't wish to do either. I asked others to comment on how significant injuries were in their opinion.
Someone made a good analogy recently. Our situation in the playoffs would be like Detroit playing without Billups, Prince and B. Wallace.



Finally, I'd like to point out to Bulletproof that the correct word is "minimize" not "minimalize."

tr.v. min·i·mal··ized, min·i·mal··iz·ing, min·i·mal··iz·es

To make minimal.

It's a transitive verb. A verb that requires both a subject and one or more objects. Putnam (subect) minimalizes (transitive verb) injuries, suspensions, etc. (one or more objects).

Or..

Putnam tried to minimalize my post by wrongly calling me out on grammar.

Putnam
05-10-2006, 01:33 PM
Putnam tried to minimalize my post by calling me out on grammar.

Yeah. Me and Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, which doesn't have "minimalize" in it at all. You found "minimalize" on dictionary.com, which is based on American Heritage -- a dictionary that simply tracks usage and does not distinguish between proper, slang and popular usages. (It also includes words like "irregardless") The word "minimalize" has the special meaning of reducing the size of a screen on Windows and other Microsoft applications -- it is not the correct word for the sentence you wrote.

Bulletproof, I called you out and you were wrong. Get over it. Show some charity to others if you expect it yourself.

....and now, back to Pacers basketball

bulletproof
05-10-2006, 02:13 PM
Yeah. Me and Webster's Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, which doesn't have "minimalize" in it at all. You found "minimalize" on dictionary.com, which is based on American Heritage -- a dictionary that simply tracks usage and does not distinguish between proper, slang and popular usages. (It also includes words like "irregardless") The word "minimalize" has the special meaning of reducing the size of a screen on Windows and other Microsoft applications -- it is not the correct word for the sentence you wrote.

Bulletproof, I called you out and you were wrong. Get over it. Show some charity to others if you expect it yourself.

Didn't find it on dictionary.com. Went to yourdictionary.com, which is also based on The American Heritage. You're right, it also includes irregardless, but makes the following usage note.

ir·re·gard·less

adv. Nonstandard

Regardless.

Usage Note: Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir- prefix and -less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.


I've been searching the net and haven't seen anything yet that definitively proves that it isn't a word or that I used it improperly.

Fool
05-10-2006, 02:25 PM
We use "minimalize" in my place of employment and we don't mean it as reducing the size of a window in MS nor do we use it as synonymous with minimize.

Words exist prior to being included in a dictionary which is why they annually include more words in Websters.

DisplacedKnick
05-10-2006, 02:53 PM
So have we established that it wasn't injuries - it was grammar?

Irregardless of any other discussion, I think we have minimalized its affect.

ChicagoJ
05-10-2006, 03:56 PM
IMPACT!! DAMNIT DK, you know better.

:soundoff:

:D

Putnam
05-10-2006, 04:03 PM
After listening to Larry Bird's press conference, I now understand that it was injuries after all.

Let's keep the same coach, the same players, and the same game plan. All we need is the players to "take better care of themselves over the summer."

DisplacedKnick
05-10-2006, 04:35 PM
All we need is the players to "take better care of themselves over the summer."

GOLD CLUB VISITS!!!

Robertmto
05-10-2006, 09:45 PM
O'Neal was out a lot, Tinsley even more, and several other players missed games. The Pacers used more than 30 different starting line-ups during the season. We all know that.

So, the question: To what extent did injuries contribute to the Pacers poor season? To what extent can we use injuries as a justification or excuse?

Some contributors to Pacers Digest are willing to excuse the season simply because there were injuries. That view implies that the same players and coaches would have had a better season if there had simply been fewer DNPs. These folks tend to defend Carlisle for doing a great job of dealing with the ever shifting lineup. Whether they say this or not, they seem to believe that the same players and coaches could come back in 06-07 and win 50-60 games.


My view is:

A. The team was supposed to be deep enough to deal with injuries and it wasn't, which is a failure of management,
B. The "chemistry" issue did more harm than injuries,
C. Players playing out of position or not knowing how to play did more harm than injuries,
D. The best interval of the season was when JO was sitting, and the worst when almost everyone was playing,
E. Several players didn't perform well even when they were healthy, and,
F. Staying healthy is fundamental to the game, so injuries can never be accepted as an excuse for failure.

A year earlier, they had more suspensions/injuries than this year. They won more games and they went farther in the playoffs. Was this year different, or are we just getting better at making excuses?

These questions have been mentioned in other threads, but I'd like to see a discussion specifically on the topic.

Sounds like a good enough excuse to me!

pizza guy
05-10-2006, 11:19 PM
When looking at this season, I have this to say.

Excuses are like buttholes - everyone has one, and they all stink.

Certainly, injuries cannot be ignored. JO missed a large amount of time, JTins even longer, Peja in the playoffs, Scot and Jeff were constantly on and off with a sore [insert body part here], and Cro got his head rattled twice this year. That's a lot of crap to happen to one team in one season. But why does it happen?

I believe JO's injuries are directly related to his gaining weight (despite it being muscle) and playing center. He is not a natural center, he is a natural PF. That's his best position, not only for game purposes, but for his health. He needs to go back to his natural size and position, and I think the injury problems would lessen.

Tinsley? Who knows? We're not even sure that half of his injuries are legit. We do know, however, that when he tries to come back, it's always too early and he makes it worse. Obviously, the latter can be avoided, but the initial injury? I just don't know.

Scot is just an old banger-type player, and guys can only do that for so long before it takes its toll.

Jeff is almost in the same boat, but I think he's also got the same problem as JO. I think Jeff is a natural PF, not a C. If he guarded PFs, boxed out PFs, and beat up PFs instead of Cs, he may be able to avoid some injuries.

Cros' injuries this season were just freak accidents; it's hard to devise a plan to avoid concussions.

But, like I said, excuses are lame. The fact is we didn't get the job done, for whatever reason. Injuries, chemistry, coaching, talent, Artest, the list goes on -- but if you're busy making up excuses, you can't be busy getting over the problems.

Seed
05-11-2006, 03:16 AM
Seed said it. See the 8th entry in the current thread about Bird to meet with media. Uncle Buck asks why didn't the team improve after Artest left, and Seed answers, and I quote, "Injuries."

Hey Seed, I just picked you out as the most recent example that fit the point. I don 't suppose one single answer encompasses all you have to say. There was and is no intention to dis you, or to identify you with any position except those you take for yourself.

Well, I'm OK with 'picking on me', but really - I was more relating to UB's rediculous notion as if there was no reason for the team not to flourish once Artest was gone.
I think Injuries were a key factor for the team's performance, but I don't think that the following applies to me:

Some contributors to Pacers Digest are willing to excuse the season simply because there were injuries. Whether they say this or not, they seem to believe that the same players and coaches could come back in 06-07 and win 50-60 games.

Anyway, the injuries discussion was timely, viewing LB's press conference, so it came out nice.