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microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 11:17 AM
May 11, 2006

bob kravitz
Bird deserves share of blame for this mess

A year ago at this time, Larry Bird called out his best player, Jermaine O'Neal, saying if J.O. wasn't prepared to be a leader, the Indiana Pacers president was prepared to deal him and find a new one.

Then Wednesday, during Bird's now-annual postmortem, he called out the entire roster, making a special point of spotlighting his coach, Rick Carlisle, for failing to demand accountability from this year's maddening group of underachievers.

All of which is fine; there is plenty of culpability to be shared after a miserable NBA season.

Except it begs the question: Who commits the ultimate Hoosier hoops blasphemy and calls out Larry Legend?

Uh, that would be you, Bob.

Oh.

While I would agree with virtually every word Bird uttered Wednesday -- his players weren't uniformly professional, his coaches lost the team, etc. -- I would add a notable name to the list of those who came up painfully short this season:

Larry Bird.

In the three years he has been running this team alongside CEO Donnie Walsh -- and Walsh's contract ends next season, by the way -- Bird has made one good move.

He fired Isiah Thomas. He hired Rick Carlisle. Period.

Beyond that?

Bird dealt the popular Al Harrington for the wildly inconsistent Stephen Jackson -- mistake.

He threw his support behind Ron Artest, standing beside him on the Sports Illustrated cover -- mistake.

He signed Sarunas Jasikevicius to a three-year deal -- mistake.

In retrospect, the case can be made that the decision to obtain Peja Stojakovic was a mistake; both Corey Maggette and Bonzi Wells have had far better playoff seasons.

Yet, there was Bird on Wednesday, and while he wasn't exactly throwing Carlisle under a bus the way Peyton Manning set up his offensive line, he was certainly backing over his coach and the assistants with a small van.

A Bird sampling: "There has to be more communication between the coach and the players."

"I believe at times Rick's got to be stricter. He's got to demand more out of these guys as far as being professionals and the way they played together."

"With everything that happened last year, you could say, 'Yeah, he probably did lose the team at times.' "

On Jasikevicius, a Bird signee who got buried at the end of Carlisle's bench: "Me and Rick differ. He likes playing him at the '2,' but I think he's a point guard, and if he gets his minutes and he gets out there and gets his confidence, I think he's a very good player."

If that sounds like Pat Riley setting up Stan Van Gundy to be replaced, perish the thought. Bird has no desire to return to the bench.

If you're Carlisle, though, you have to be wondering what's coming next.

In Detroit, he was charged with being too tough on players and got booted even after two 50-victory seasons. Here, he's being charged with being too lenient, especially with his top players like Jackson and O'Neal, despite seasons with 61, 44 and 41 victories.

Bird made it abundantly clear he's going to be far more involved in next season's team, something he admitted he should have done this year.
Yes, he said, the rope will be shorter for players and coaches next season.

How about the rope around Bird's neck? Or does he get a lifetime pass as a Hoosier hoops icon? The first two years of the Walsh/Bird pairing has featured Walsh in charge and Bird playing the role of apprentice. Next year, though, figures to be Walsh's last year. At which point, this will be Bird's team and Bird's alone.

One thing we've learned is that just because you're a great player doesn't mean you'll make a great NBA executive. Just check out two of Bird's old Boston teammates, Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale.

Now, just because Bird didn't promise big offseason moves doesn't mean he's going to stand pat this summer. It wouldn't make sense to advertise the fact you're interested in remaking the roster. But if next season's roster looks a lot like the one that was just eliminated, I'll be interested in attending next spring's postmortem.

By then, I suspect, he will have run out of scapegoats.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060511/COLUMNISTS01/605110460/1004/SPORTS

ChicagoJ
05-11-2006, 11:25 AM
:applaud:

Bravo, Bob.

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 11:29 AM
I thought you would like that Jay.

Bball
05-11-2006, 11:29 AM
How about the rope around Bird's neck? Or does he get a lifetime pass as a Hoosier hoops icon?

Donnie Walsh has had a lifetime pass.... Bird's already garnered a questioning media and segment of the fanbase, before he's even had complete control of the team.

-Bball

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 11:30 AM
Donnie Walsh has had a lifetime pass.... Bird's already garnered a questioning media and segment of the fanbase, before he's even had complete control of the team.

-Bball

:amen:

Shade
05-11-2006, 11:30 AM
I just KNEW Jay would be the first to respond to this. :laugh:

In retrospect, however, it's a little early to call Runi's signing a mistake. He was a rookie who showed a lot of promise before hitting the rookie wall. Remember, he played about 30 more games than he's used to. I look for him to be better next year, and will probably get more minutes at the 1 with AJ backing up the 2 more after Freddie walks.

Also, a lot of us (myself included) wanted Jack, and Al wanted to start, which wasn't going to happen with JO here.

Bonzi has attitude issues, which was the LAST thing this team needed. And I can't fault TPTB for not taking a chance on Maggs after the whole Bender thing. Though I was willing to take the risk, as I said at the time.

It must be easy to sit on a soap box all day when there is no chance of being publicly debated.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 11:36 AM
It must be easy to sit on a soap box all day when there is no chance of being publicly debated.

And I just KNEW you would be the first person to criticize the man for doing his job - and doing it well.

Where you beaten up by the high school sports columnists when you were a kid? Because the chip on your shoulder for columnists whose job it is to write an opinion is so damn big I can see it here in Ohio.

Don't get me wrong Shade - I think you are a great guy - but you have a blind spot when it comes to columnists.

Shade
05-11-2006, 11:40 AM
And I just KNEW you would be the first person to criticize the man for doing his job - and doing it well.

Where you beaten up by the high school sports columnists when you were a kid? Because the chip on your shoulder for columnists whose job it is to write an opinion is so damn big I can see it here in Ohio.

Don't get me wrong Shade - I think you are a great guy - but you have a blind spot when it comes to columnists.

I don't believe Kravitz actually has an opinion. It seems to me that he simply likes to play devil's advocate all the time. Which gets tiring and redundant. It's difficult to believe that one person is so negative about EVERY subject that comes down the pipe.

But the major problem is, he never has to address the holes in his arguments. He can make up whatever one-sided crap he wants and nobody can call him on it. It would be much better if there were a point/counterpoint type of column.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 11:44 AM
I don't believe Kravitz actually has an opinion. It seems to me that he simply likes to play devil's advocate all the time. Which gets tiring and redundant. It's difficult to believe that one person is so negative about EVERY subject that comes down the pipe.

Problem is, he never has to address the holes in his arguments.

I really could not disagree more - he puts his opinion out there... then history dictates whether he is right or wrong.

You want him to join PD so you can debate him? Send him an email.

Shade
05-11-2006, 11:47 AM
I really could not disagree more - he puts his opinion out there... then history dictates whether he is right or wrong.

You want him to join PD so you can debate him? Send him an email.

Heh, it wouldn't surprise me if he were already a PD member (or at least a lurker). He seems to lift a good deal of his content from here, anyway.

For the record, I'm not saying he's necessarily wrong, either. I reiterated to Peck that Bird in charge scares the hell out of me. But Bobbo is as predictable as the sun rising. It's like someone gave IndyToad his own column.

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 11:51 AM
Heh, it wouldn't surprise me if he were already a PD member (or at least a lurker). He seems to lift a good deal of his content from here, anyway.

For the record, I'm not saying he's necessarily wrong, either. I reiterated to Peck that Bird in charge scares the hell out of me. But Bobbo is as predictable as the sun rising. It's like someone gave IndyToad his own column.

I'm not scared of Bird as a GM. He has the eye for talent, but I really do think it is time to give him full responsibility and for Donnie to step down. The difference in opinions is what is bringing this franchise down.

Shade
05-11-2006, 11:52 AM
I'm not scared of Bird as a GM. He has the eye for talent, but I really do think it is time to give him full responsibility and for Donnie to step down. The difference in opinions is what is bringing this franchise down.

What harm is it going to do to let Walsh ride out his contract for one more season? I'm sure the last thing Donnie wants to do is leave this franchise where he picked it up.

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 11:55 AM
I'm not saying just get rid of him, I just think that in the case of a GM, the decisions should ultimately come down to one person, not a committee. I think that Donnie will take a step down this next season and become nothing more than an adviser, which should be good for the direction of this franchise.

grace
05-11-2006, 11:56 AM
You want him to join PD so you can debate him? Send him an email.

Oh goodie, someone else to add to my ignore list!

grace
05-11-2006, 11:58 AM
Heh, it wouldn't surprise me if he were already a PD member (or at least a lurker).

He's a master of disguise. I swear he was the mysterious guy with the lap top that showed up at Perkins during the last forum party.

Shade
05-11-2006, 11:59 AM
He's a master of disguise. I swear he was the mysterious guy with the lap top that showed up at Perkins during the last forum party.

:laugh:

bulletproof
05-11-2006, 12:01 PM
Donnie Walsh has had a lifetime pass....

That's based on performance. On the court, in the stands and on the books. He elevated this franchise to one of the most respected in the league. He kept fans in the stands by keeping the team competitive, and lastly, he took a franchise that was ready to leave this city and was "purchased" by assuming $8 million in debt and turned it into an elite sports franchise worth well over $200 million (at least). You may not like the man, but the Simons (and majority of fans) sure do. And they won't be glad to see him go when he retires next year.

Arcadian
05-11-2006, 12:04 PM
I'm not scared of Bird as a GM. He has the eye for talent, but I really do think it is time to give him full responsibility and for Donnie to step down. The difference in opinions is what is bringing this franchise down.

Why do you think Bird has an eye for talent?

bulletproof
05-11-2006, 12:07 PM
I'm not scared of Bird as a GM. He has the eye for talent, but I really do think it is time to give him full responsibility and for Donnie to step down. The difference in opinions is what is bringing this franchise down.

What difference in opinions?

Shade
05-11-2006, 12:08 PM
Why do you think Bird has an eye for talent?

Bird has only been even semi-responsible for the acquisition of three players:

Runi - jury's still out

Hulk - jury's still out, though he was a low risk at his spot in the draft

Granger - a no-brainer at his spot in the draft

blanket
05-11-2006, 12:39 PM
Bird has only been even semi-responsible for the acquisition of three players:

Runi - jury's still out

Hulk - jury's still out, though he was a low risk at his spot in the draft

Granger - a no-brainer at his spot in the draft

plus Peja for Ron

Erazem Lorbek

and a future 2nd rounder for JJ :grumble:

arenn
05-11-2006, 01:29 PM
Kravitz devotes column after column after column to the Colts and only really pays attention to the Pacers after the boys in blue have done their annual playoff choke. Expect him to pretty much forget about the team as soon as NFL camp starts back up.

RWB
05-11-2006, 01:42 PM
Kravitz devotes column after column after column to the Colts and only really pays attention to the Pacers after the boys in blue have done their annual playoff choke. Expect him to pretty much forget about the team as soon as NFL camp starts back up.

The problem with that arenn is, Kravitz made it to only ONE camp practice last year and still liked to report he knew what was going on. The guy is a fake.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 01:44 PM
Reality check guys - the regular season in the NFL is much more important and interesting than the NBA

And I am an NBA butt boy

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 02:29 PM
Why do you think Bird has an eye for talent?

He wanted Ben Gordon, look how that panned out. He got Hulk, Runi, Granger. People say Granger was a no-brainer, but Bird wanted him from the beginning of the draft. Not to mention some Pacer fans and media personalities wanted us to take Gerald Green. Bird knows basketball and based on his picks and who he wants, I believe that he knows talent when he sees it.


What difference in opinions?

I'm not sure there are any, however, when you have two people making your decisions, chances are they do not agree 100% of the time. If one man was running the show, we may have Maggs instead of Peja. I'm not saying that it is having a strong negative influence, but it is having an influence. Ultimately I believe that one person should have the final say.

Also the difference in opinions can also be players/coach and coach/gm or gm/players. That is what is bringing the franchise down.

bulletproof
05-11-2006, 02:59 PM
I'm not sure there are any, however, when you have two people making your decisions, chances are they do not agree 100% of the time.
That's not always a bad thing. That could be a very complimentary situation.


If one man was running the show, we may have Maggs instead of Peja.
Or neither.


Ultimately I believe that one person should have the final say.
Someone does.


Also the difference in opinions can also be players/coach and coach/gm or gm/players. That is what is bringing the franchise down.
What hurt this franchise was holding onto an incredibly unstable person for too long when there was a history of destructive behavior that gave every indication that he had the potential to wreak havoc on this team.

microwave_oven
05-11-2006, 10:36 PM
What hurt this franchise was holding onto an incredibly unstable person for too long when there was a history of destructive behavior that gave every indication that he had the potential to wreak havoc on this team.

How do you explain the rest of the season AFTER we traded this person you speak of?

pizza guy
05-11-2006, 11:16 PM
On Kravitz:

The guy knows how to get readers. But, if you read it all the time, you realize that he really doesn't care what he writes, as long as he gets readers. He's not a bad writer, just a bad reporter. You want to see a good writer and reporter, go read some Bill Simmons. That dude knows what he's talking about, and knows how to talk about it. Also, wait a few years and you can read MY column in the Star (or maybe somewhere bigger) since I'm going to be America's next great sports writer.

On Bird:

It's hard to tell just how good he's going to be. We know he knows the game - first as a player, then a coach, and we've seen some good signs as a GM. Obviously, it's too early to decide on Sarunas and Hulk. We already know that Granger will be a stud. Of course, the entire Artest fiasco was stupid, but he addressed that in the press conference saying he "fell in love with the talent," and you can't say that you never did. Al for SJax was a good deal at the time, but things haven't worked out right for that - whether is was injuries, Artest, suspensions, or just his attitude, things didn't work out. So, he's had ups and downs, but what GM hasn't?

brichard
05-11-2006, 11:21 PM
And I just KNEW you would be the first person to criticize the man for doing his job - and doing it well.

Where you beaten up by the high school sports columnists when you were a kid? Because the chip on your shoulder for columnists whose job it is to write an opinion is so damn big I can see it here in Ohio.

Don't get me wrong Shade - I think you are a great guy - but you have a blind spot when it comes to columnists.

And Doug, you and Peck will routinely defend any criticism of the Pacers by Kravitz with the regularity of my watch. The next sentence is always followed by "He's just a bomb thrower," or "He's supposed to write an opinion."

You have to face the fact that just because he is a columnist, he doesn't get a free license to suck by those who think he is terrible. Once in a great while I enjoy reading his column, be it positive or negative, but overall I just don't like him. He isn't very witty. And for the same reason I don't really care for Limbaugh or Stern on the radio, I don't like Kravitz. He is often argument for the sake of argument and I find that resoning faulty and uninteresting.

I don't read columns for the sensationalism they have. I seek good solid analysis, a sense of humor, original thought, and a good defense of those thoughts. In my opinion he just is very average to below average at his job, regardless of his pro or negative stance with Indy teams.

And although I think it is fine that you like him, it just drives me nuts that everytime somebody criticizes the guy you try to write it off as some kind of a flawed definition of a columnist. You either enjoy his column or you don't. Most of the time, I'm in the category of people who dislike it.

But hey, :cheers: anyway.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 11:27 PM
Maybe Robin Miller and Bill Benner make the older members here feel like Kravitz is way better than he is

I spent 10 years in the NYC market - so I tend to like it when the media holds the local sports teams feet to the fire

brichard
05-11-2006, 11:32 PM
Maybe Robin Miller and Bill Benner make the older members here feel like Kravitz is way better than he is

I spent 10 years in the NYC market - so I tend to like it when the media holds the local sports teams feet to the fire

But like I've said before, when is the lastime a NY team won an NBA Championship? And they spend how much money on their team? I never cared much for Miller or Benner either.

Wasn't Bob Collins pretty good? It has been awhile and I was a little younger when I read him.

pizza guy
05-11-2006, 11:34 PM
I don't think we have any problem with a critical columnist, I know I don't. It's nice some times to read the Sunshine Brigade's Weekly Newsletter, but that doesn't cut it for real fans. We want to know what really happened, is going to happen, and why it happened.

The major problem with Kravitz is that today he's doom and gloom, but tomorrow he's back on the drugs to make himself happy and he shows it in his writing. Most of what he writes is meant to get people to read it and yell and scream - without a lot of his own beliefs or good, solid facts. That's why people don't like Kravitz, because Kravitz doesn't know what he likes.

P.S. I think Bill Simmons is the best sports writer in the nation right now. He always tells you how he feels, he uses good humor, and his stuff actually has meaning. Once he picks a side, he lets you know it, and doesn't back down; and that's the difference between him and Kravitz...decisiveness.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 11:37 PM
But like I've said before, when is the lastime a NY team won an NBA Championship? And they spend how much money on their team? I never cared much for Miller or Benner either.

Wasn't Bob Collins pretty good? It has been awhile and I was a little younger when I read him.

I am not even old enough to remember Collins

New York cares about baseball like we care about basketball, football second, and the Knicks are a distant third.

New York media - right or wrong - influence moves that both the Mets and Yankees make. Because they are voicing the fans opinion and NYC teams are extremely sensitive to that.

Let's see if 5,000 empty seats is compelling to the Pacers - because let's be honest, Kravitz is writing for himself and a few of us who like someone calling out the teams in a conservative market.

brichard
05-11-2006, 11:46 PM
Let's see if 5,000 empty seats is compelling to the Pacers - because let's be honest, Kravitz is writing for himself and a few of us who like someone calling out the teams in a conservative market.

But see, I'm not knocking Bob for his criticism of Bird or Walsh. I just don't think some of his stuff passes your basic scratch and sniff test.

Knocking Bird for Saras and Jackson for example, that is something we can all agree with. Taking him on for Artest is another justified cause. And since Kravitz has been calling for it for a long time, he's justified in even crowing about it a bit.

But when he is beating up Bird for not trading for another loose cannon in Wells or a questionable healthy Maggette is just... well it is just stupid. In one paragraph he lost total credibility with me as a reader and it happens when I read him all the time. If Bird would have traded for Bonzi Wells I very well may have went PFFL myself. Talent alone will not win you a championship and all we needed was one more person with toys in the attic. Or hey, why not get another guy wearing a suit on the sideline.

I'm not asking you to agree with me on my stance, but rather I'm trying to impart to you on this particular column why I think Kravitz is a moron.

Doug in CO
05-11-2006, 11:48 PM
But see, I'm not knocking Bob for his criticism of Bird or Walsh. I just don't think some of his stuff passes your basic scratch and sniff test.

Knocking Bird for Saras and Jackson for example, that is something we can all agree with. Taking him on for Artest is another justified cause. And since Kravitz has been calling for it for a long time, he's justified in even crowing about it a bit.

But when he is beating up Bird for not trading for another loose cannon in Wells or a questionable healthy Maggette is just... well it is just stupid. In one paragraph he lost total credibility with me as a reader and it happens when I read him all the time. If Bird would have traded for Bonzi Wells I very well may have went PFFL myself. Talent alone will not win you a championship and all we needed was one more person with toys in the attic. Or hey, why not get another guy wearing a suit on the sideline.

I'm not asking you to agree with me on my stance, but rather I'm trying to impart to you on this particular column why I think Kravitz is a moron.

I think Wells was a dumb reference

Maggette should have been the deal in my opinion - that is another thread

brichard
05-12-2006, 01:04 AM
I think Wells was a dumb reference

Maggette should have been the deal in my opinion - that is another thread


Well, I guarantee that he would have been all over Bird for bringing in another injury prone player. Even though I tend to lean towards the conservative side of politics, I don't like Limbaugh. He often argues just for the sake of arguing. He defends every move Republicans make and he drills Democrats for every move they make.

It isn't logical to think that each party doesn't have strengths/limitations, even if you tend to reside in one camp or the other. Kravitz can still issue his opinion and have a more balanced view. I don't agree in discussion just for the sake of discussion.

bulletproof
05-12-2006, 01:44 AM
How do you explain the rest of the season AFTER we traded this person you speak of?

So you think that after the suspensions were served and Ron was traded, everything was hunky-dory; that the past two seasons didn't take an emotional and physical toll on this team?