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Hicks
10-17-2006, 10:32 PM
No, this has nothing to do with Stephen Jackson.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/ask_the_pacers.html



http://www.nba.com/media/pacers/donnie_walsh.jpg Question for Donnie Walsh | Oct. 17, 2006
<hr> Q. When putting a team together, the press focuses on the starting five and we don't hear much about the supporting cast. It seems the second five, when playing with focus and energy, can make or break your season. How much thought is put into the makeup of the second team? Will they be a mirror of the first five or will they have a different style and pace? (From Steve in Greenfield, Ind.)

A. I never look at the team from the standpoint of first-team, second-team. I really don't think the starting lineup means anything in the NBA and I'm more concerned with having a team that is flexible both against other teams and flexible as to the style it can play. It is true you want players to be positioned at certain spots you have to have covered – one, two, three, four, five. Up until this year, I would've said you need five players who can defend the post at the four and five, and you need three point guards. The two and three positions are almost mirrors of each other and you want four athletes that are complete players, that can fill those positions. The league has changed so this year we're looking at players that can defend the post but aren't necessarily prototype fours or fives. That keeps us flexible. What you're really looking for now are guys that can come off the bench and play different positions. On this team, it hasn't shaken out yet who's going to start but it's clear you've got a number of guys that can play at least two positions.



Does this not strike anyone else as a red flag as to why we have problems at PG and C? In both cases until now with JO as the C, we had a lot of decent backups, no one who can consistently hold down the starting spot for a top team. This suggests to me that Walsh may not value true starting-quality players highly enough. I know that may sound silly, but if he truly doesn't think starting positions are important, then how can I not feel at least some concern about reading this?

Call me crazy, but I'd feel a lot better if my GM spelled out exactly what he wants in a team, and that includes what the starting 5 should look like. Not "I really don't think the starting lineup means anything". That definitely concerns me. I'm just not sure if it concerns me a little or if it concerns me a lot.

Unclebuck
10-17-2006, 10:35 PM
I agree with DW except on the starting team stuff.

Hicks
10-17-2006, 10:37 PM
I agree with DW except on the starting team stuff.

The "starting team stuff" is the reason I made this thread to begin with. What are your thoughts/feelings/concerns on that?

Unclebuck
10-17-2006, 10:50 PM
The "starting team stuff" is the reason I made this thread to begin with. What are your thoughts/feelings/concerns on that?

I like having a set starting lineup and I like having what I call an "obvious starting lineup" I like having a starting lineup that is obviously the best lineup. The best example of what I'm talking about is the Pistons, the last few years, there was never any doubt who was going to start and there was never any doubt what their best lineup was.

I'm a firm believer that at winning time you need the same lineup on the court every game.

Of course that is not always possible to have such an obvious best lineup, but that is what should be worked toward.

Will Galen
10-17-2006, 11:07 PM
It's not who starts, it's who finishes that's important. Your starters just need to get you off to a good start. Too much is made of who starts.

Destined4Greatness
10-17-2006, 11:12 PM
OK JO was complaining for the last 2 years about playing C, so now you are going to say we don't have starting caliber players at C. NO.

Whats been our problem the last 2 years is we have lacked scoring, particularly in the post. Whether thats a sympton of less perimeter scoring. Or vice versa who knows. And also effort.

But from what I have seen our problems stem from A) we let a team get off to a quick start and then expend so much energy trying to get back into the game they walk all over us. B) We get a lead and then quit trying and allow the team to catch up and surpass us and then A takes place.

We need effort on D(Thats like 90% of what D is ) and more scoring. Personally to do that I would take the defensive liability that is Harrison. We need scoring and his D should improve relatively quickly.

Bball
10-17-2006, 11:41 PM
Can you take what DW says at face value? Hicks, I'm inclined to agree with you on your point but I'm totally unsure whether DW means what he says or if he's just spinning our current situation a little.

-Bball

waxman
10-18-2006, 12:59 AM
Maybe DW is being a little vague, so as to not step on Birds and RC's toes...depending on who has last say on personnel decisions.

The starting lineup does matter... its what sets the tone of the game. But ideally you would have the personnel where you could adjust your lineup depending on matchups... while still dictating your style of play. Although that is idealistic because most players can't seperate a defined consistant roll, the skills they bring, and the timeframe in which its required. Not to mention the ego -stroking factor that is involved in todays game.

RWB
10-18-2006, 06:38 AM
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I think Hicks has the concern that once we reach the playoffs and the rotation shortens it's better to have defined roles and the best starting caliber players rather than this amazing bench that will not get any playing time.

Hicks
10-18-2006, 06:51 AM
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I think Hicks has the concern that once we reach the playoffs and the rotation shortens it's better to have defined roles and the best starting caliber players rather than this amazing bench that will not get any playing time.

Basically. I'm convinced you need a ton of consistency to win anything important, and a "it doesn't matter who starts" mindset will never achieve that. Look at the Pacers that went to the ECF or the Finals, you knew who would start every night. The same was true for Detroit in 2004. The closest exception I can think of was Miami last year with switching between Posey and Walker, so I'll grant the other side that but I do consider them to be weak champions so I don't take as much from that personally. Dallas would have broken the mold if they'd not choked the Finals away I suppose. So maybe the lesson there would be it depends on the style you play.

I think the style it already looks like we're regressing back to (holding the ball too long with JO and Jackson) needs consistency to execute, or else it's crap. If you don't play uptempo or quick, you need a ton of consistency to get the timings down to where even when the defense knows exactly what you're doing, they can't stop it anyway. This team hasn't had that in years, and with this bunch it still might not get it.

ChicagoJ
10-18-2006, 08:25 AM
I read Hicks' concern as Donnie Walsh still believes the key is the quality of players 4-9 in the rotation, not the top 1-3 players.

I'm not sure that's what Donnie is saying though.

Donnie continues to overvalue "depth" vs. elite players.

I think the 1998 ECFs and 2000 NBA Finals should go a long way toward discrediting that approach. We were "deeper" than the Bulls and Lakers, but had no answer for their top two players. And we lost. It was competitive. But we lost.

Putnam
10-18-2006, 10:05 AM
I think the 1998 ECFs and 2000 NBA Finals should go a long way toward discrediting that approach. We were "deeper" than the Bulls and Lakers, but had no answer for their top two players. And we lost. It was competitive. But we lost.

This is a really good point if it is not a case of "fighting the last war." Donnie Walsh seems to have a strong sense of significant changes in the NBA, and his statements need to be viewed as preparing for something we've not seen yet.


Up until this year, I would've said you need five players . . .

. . . .The league has changed so this year we're looking . . . .


. . . What you're really looking for now are . . . .


But, other than disallowing several kinds of contact that used to be routine, prohibiting back-talk to the refs, and giving Dwayne Wade all the foul shots he needs, I don't know what those changes are.

Does anyone have a better sense than me of why Donnie thinks depth and interchangeability matter more in the new NBA?

Skaut_Ech
10-18-2006, 10:12 AM
First of all, nice thread and thoughts.

For some of us who've had a problem with Donnie over the years, this kinda encapsulates the problems I've had with him. Now, granted, we're interpreting his words eher, but Donnie has always had the mentality of fielding a really good team, then taking the attitude of "Let's see what happens. It's the playoffs, anything can happen. Let's just get there."

He eschews the blockbuster/gamble trade in leiu of staying the course. He's made some moves that have surprised and pleased me the past few years that show some balls, but overall, for me, he strives for "good" and not "great" :sorry:

I'm not trying to make this a Donnie bashing session and I know some of you will rush to his defense, but this kind of points out the problem I've had with him. I like what Jay said:


I read Hicks' concern as Donnie Walsh still believes the key is the quality of players 4-9 in the rotation, not the top 1-3 players.

I'm not sure that's what Donnie is saying though.

Donnie continues to overvalue "depth" vs. elite players.

I think the 1998 ECFs and 2000 NBA Finals should go a long way toward discrediting that approach. We were "deeper" than the Bulls and Lakers, but had no answer for their top two players. And we lost. It was competitive. But we lo

I also agree with Hicks and I think RWB's interpretation..


Hicks has the concern that once we reach the playoffs and the rotation shortens it's better to have defined roles and the best starting caliber players rather than this amazing bench that will not get any playing time.

..seems on the mark.

Will G, I'm gonna disagree with you. I personally think who starts is EXTREMELY important, because more than likely, whomever starts....finishes, with rare exceptions. Look at the title teams from the past decade. Most of those team's starters were there at the finish.

Here's the quote that sums it up for me about Donnie:


I never look at the team from the standpoint of first-team, second-team. I really don't think the starting lineup means anything in the NBA and I'm more concerned with having a team that is flexible both against other teams and flexible as to the style it can play. It is true you want players to be positioned at certain spots you have to have covered one, two, three, four, five.

What's been my arguement for years? Donnie build teams for the regular season, but not for titles. A true chamionship team doesn't adapt, so much as force the other team to play THEIR style of basketball.

Now, this is just some stream of consciousness on my part with no filtering of what I'm saying. Right now we have a team with the stregth of personality and impact of the Grizzlies. We have for years, now.

I'll stop myself before talk about how I think this points even more glaringly to the impact that Larry Brown had on this franchise. Old discussion and we've hashed ti to death, but it comes to mind.

I'll shut up now. :uhoh2::stirthepo

Speed
10-18-2006, 10:16 AM
I think Phoenix is making the entire league rethink things, but the entire league doesn't have Steve Nash.

I keep going back to Isiah being right (begrudgingly) when he was here, philosophically. You want basketball players, interchangeable parts, I'm not saying I agree in a pure sense of 10 average ability 6'9" guys, but it is interesting to see that the Suns are the style du jour, and the NBA rules support that now.

Phoenix doesn't allow you to play a true big lumbering old school prototypical Center, they would run them off the court.

I do think Granger is the player of the future though, can play 2/3/4, rebound, shoot, defend. The Pacers are trying to go there with Shawne, White, and Marquis, too.

ChicagoJ
10-18-2006, 10:29 AM
I'll stop myself before talk about how I think this points even more glaringly to the impact that Larry Brown had on this franchise. Old discussion and we've hashed ti to death, but it comes to mind.

Yeah, I read that part and I wanted to puke.

Fool
10-18-2006, 10:41 AM
I would say that what DW says of the past seems consistent to the team he was putting together (up untill this year).

Hicks
10-18-2006, 11:48 AM
I read Hicks' concern as Donnie Walsh still believes the key is the quality of players 4-9 in the rotation, not the top 1-3 players.

I'm not sure that's what Donnie is saying though.

Donnie continues to overvalue "depth" vs. elite players.

I think the 1998 ECFs and 2000 NBA Finals should go a long way toward discrediting that approach. We were "deeper" than the Bulls and Lakers, but had no answer for their top two players. And we lost. It was competitive. But we lost.


I personally think who starts is EXTREMELY important, because more than likely, whomever starts....finishes, with rare exceptions. Look at the title teams from the past decade. Most of those team's starters were there at the finish.

What's been my arguement for years? Donnie build teams for the regular season, but not for titles. A true chamionship team doesn't adapt, so much as force the other team to play THEIR style of basketball.


You've both nailed my big gripes with Walsh and how his teams are made. I want a team that has 1 or 2 elite players (JO is not, he's just below them), and works and focuses on enforcing their will and their style of play onto every team they compete with.

Until that happens, I'm not expecting any titles.

Bball
10-18-2006, 11:50 AM
I think Phoenix is making the entire league rethink things, but the entire league doesn't have Steve Nash.

I keep going back to Isiah being right (begrudgingly) when he was here, philosophically. You want basketball players, interchangeable parts, I'm not saying I agree in a pure sense of 10 average ability 6'9" guys, but it is interesting to see that the Suns are the style du jour, and the NBA rules support that now.



Was it Isiah who wanted that or was it Isiah echoing the party line and saying what Walsh wanted to hear?

-Bball

ChicagoJ
10-18-2006, 11:53 AM
I'm not convinced that JO can't be that player.

But he needs the "right" compliment.

Duncan needed David and then Manu/Tony.

JO needs the right perimeter compliment (can Danny turn into that player? I think so, but it will take time) and the right PG.

We've got a frontcourt that, right now, I think fits the bill (Danny - Al - JO), but our backcourt needs significant upgrades.

I don't think, however, that if you did a Duncan for JO trade straight-up, that the Pacers would be any closer to a championship. Would JO-Manu-Tony be enough to win? I don't know.

BillS
10-18-2006, 12:01 PM
Teams with elite players like Garnett and Iverson haven't won championships yet, so just having an elite player isn't a guarantee.

Artest arguably had the potential to be an elite player and we got well and truly burned.

I understand what you all are saying, and I'd also prefer a little more focus on at least a starting five that are playing at an obvious and best position.

However, focusing on getting someone hyped to be an elite player is buying into the media. Sometimes, I think an elite player is the one who leads the team that gets the championship and may not be recognized as such until then.

ChicagoJ
10-18-2006, 12:31 PM
However, focusing on getting someone hyped to be an elite player is buying into the media. Sometimes, I think an elite player is the one who leads the team that gets the championship and may not be recognized as such until then.

That's why I don't (yet) buy into the criticism JO receives. He's had a team that was un-leadable, that's not a fair criteria for him.

If we're still floundering around 0.500 two seasons from now (remember, many of us believe this is a two-year process in the first place), then I'll be happy to listen to those criticisms.

No human being on this planet was going to be able to lead a team with Ron AND SJax (and Tinsley and ...).

Speed
10-18-2006, 12:34 PM
Who is a team other than Detroit, both in 89-90 and the last time in 2004 that the team that has won the championship didn't ARGUABLY have the best player in the league?

imawhat
10-18-2006, 01:16 PM
A true chamionship team doesn't adapt, so much as force the other team to play THEIR style of basketball.


I don't think that's necessarily true. I understand the point you're trying to make though.


I think it's important to have a team that can adapt when needed, but maybe it shouldn't be the main focus. What I mean is that you have a great team if they can beat you at your game or theirs.

For instance, the 2005 San Antonio Spurs were a team that fit that description. They had a very distinct style of playing, and could enforce their will upon any team, but looked what happened in the 2005 WCF and the NBA Finals that year. During the regular season, the Spurs averaged 96 points per game.


Western Conference Finals

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=298 border=0><TBODY><TR class=seriesGrey><TD>Game 1: SAS 121, PHO 114 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050522/SASPHO/recap.html)</TD></TR><TR><TD class=seriesEven>http://www.nba.com/images/blank.gif</TD></TR><TR class=seriesGrey><TD>Game 2: SAS 111, PHO 108 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050524/SASPHO/recap.html)</TD></TR><TR><TD class=seriesEven>http://www.nba.com/images/blank.gif</TD></TR><TR class=seriesGrey><TD>Game 3: SAS 102, PHO 92 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050528/PHOSAS/recap.html) </TD></TR><TR><TD class=seriesEven>http://www.nba.com/images/blank.gif</TD></TR><TR class=seriesGrey><TD>Game 4: PHO 111, SAS 106 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050530/PHOSAS/recap.html)</TD></TR><TR><TD class=seriesEven>http://www.nba.com/images/blank.gif</TD></TR><TR class=seriesGrey><TD>Game 5: SAS 101, PHO 95 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050601/SASPHO/recap.html)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

NBA Finals

Game 1: SAS 84, DET 69 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050609/DETSAS/recap.html)
Game 2: SAS 97, DET 76 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050612/DETSAS/recap.html)
Game 3: DET 96, SAS 79 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050614/SASDET/recap.html)
Game 4: DET 102, SAS 71 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050616/SASDET/recap.html)
Game 5: SAS 96, DET 95(OT) (http://www.nba.com/games/20050619/SASDET/recap.html)
Game 6: DET 95, SAS 86 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050621/DETSAS/recap.html)
Game 7: SAS 81, DET 74 (http://www.nba.com/games/20050623/DETSAS/recap.html)


When matched up against the high-powered Suns, the Spurs raised their scoring average to 108 points per game. After beating them in five games, they faced the defensive-minded (at that time) Pistons. They were able to beat the Pistons by scoring an average of 84 points per game.

The Spurs were able to raise and lower their scoring average by 10+ points per game for both series, and they were able to play two completely different styles, both of which you'd think would favor the other team.

The ability to adapt as well as having a distinct style of play are probably equally important, but I don't think one should be ignored in favor of the other.

I'm sure Rick understands that, and Donnie probably does too, but I don't know why he wouldn't point it out in his answer. Either way, this philosophy concerns me a little, because I think you need to have some definition in roles, like Hicks pointed out.

Will Galen
10-18-2006, 01:19 PM
Was it Isiah who wanted that or was it Isiah echoing the party line and saying what Walsh wanted to hear?

-Bball

That's what Walsh wanted way before Isiah got here. So Isiah either bought into it or toed the party line.

imawhat
10-18-2006, 01:21 PM
Isiah had a very distinct idea which is being carried out 3 years after he was fired. I assumed it was his brainchild, but maybe it was Walsh's.

BillS
10-18-2006, 01:21 PM
Other than Jordan, how many times do you think that the argument would have gotten a different answer if the other team had won?

I don't argue with the idea that you need a top player. I do argue with the idea that <i>the</i> top player guarantees a championship.

Speed
10-18-2006, 01:35 PM
Other than Jordan, how many times do you think that the argument would have gotten a different answer if the other team had won?

I don't argue with the idea that you need a top player. I do argue with the idea that the top player guarantees a championship.

Right, I agree thats why I posed it that you could make the argument. You are right, if Dallas would have won it last year would I be saying Dirk was the best player in the league last year, I don't know, but

Dwade
Duncan
Shaq
Duncan
MJ
Olajawan (sp?)
MJ

All had to be real close to the top player in that year.

JayRedd
10-18-2006, 02:58 PM
I think you're all right that we should be concerned about our lack of "elite" guys. I think Donnie knows this too and, while he puts on his sunshine face, he doesn't really value depth over having talent up front. He just has to say that right now, since we do have depth but we don't have elite talent (aside from Jermaine).

Al, Danny and Tinsley can all be starters on a championship team, IMO. But what we need is that 2nd guy that will give us two of the Top 20 (or so) players in the league like most other NBA Title teams over the past 20 years have had. Or we need Danny and/or Al to emerge so we have three of the Top 40 or four of the Top 50.

That happens and we have a legit shot, and I think at this point (especially given his past success with Reggie/JO), that's why you see us taking a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" approach with all these athletic young guys. If one of our "projects" ever turns into something or we can find another guy through trade/free agency, we have a shot to put a contender together before JO gets too old.

All it would take is one "semi-elite" guy to change everything. Seriously, how much better would we look with something like this in two years:

Tinsley/Manu/Danny/Al/JO
+
Marquis, Harrison, Shawne, Flight, Orien, Sarunas

ChicagoJ
10-18-2006, 03:04 PM
Tinsley/Manu/Danny/Al/JO

Do NOT ever tease me that way again. There's no way I'm going to get my work done now, just thinking about the possibilities of *that* team.

:drool:

JayRedd
10-18-2006, 03:19 PM
Do NOT ever tease me that way again. There's no way I'm going to get my work done now, just thinking about the possibilities of *that* team.

:drool:

Obviously, San Antonio aint letting GINOBLI!!!!!! get away...but all I'm saying is we're really only one major (and obviously hard to attain) piece away with the squad we have. That's a big step, but any of Manu, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Richard Jefferson or that type of guy could get us there.

The only question is "how the hell do we get someone like that?" Unfortunately, it would probably take another Dale Davis for JO situation.

Or maybe we buy low on one of the Knicks perimeter guys. Harrison, Jack and Foster for Crawford and Jerome James anyone?

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 03:24 PM
OK - I've let this thread go on without sounding off on the topic for a couple of reasons:

1) Because I largely agree with the assessment that championships are won by elite players. Without Jordan and Pippen, what would the Bull become?

2) Because I don't know if anyone has offered an alternative course of action other than "trade our dreck for an elite player."

Our "semi-elite" players of the 90s were drafted.

In the draft, elite players, I'm talking the best of the best, do not grow on trees. We're not going to get the next Lebron James drafting at 17. And even having the worst record does not guarantee that you'll draft #1. So there's the draft.

Then there's trades and FA signings.

Please, if there was a genuine missed opportunity out there (leave Artest and Jack out of it please) I'd love to hear it. The closest thing I can come up with is Vince Carter. Seriously, he went to the Nets for nothing. Nash to phoenix and Shaq to Miami were also big deals.

When have we ever been in a position to compete for these guys?

I want to hear how and where we're going to get even one elite player - and no, I don't want ridiculous realGM trades posted, I want back-to-basics big picture ideas.

Speed
10-18-2006, 03:47 PM
I think you're right, you have to be smart and get lucky, hence the JO trade.

I think something like this has been mentioned, they are hoping for Daniels to maybe fit this same bill on a lesser level. Granger could fit this bill, we don't know.

I don't think you can go out and buy an elite guy thats why teams do get perpetually stuck in the middle until they stink enough to draft higher. I think they drafted Williams based on potential as he's a 20 year old.

You are right though elite players don't fall in your lap. Arenas is another, other than the 3 you mentioned, I think, btw. Ben Wallace when he went to detroit as an after thought for Grant Hill, but you mean elite top what 15-20 all around players?

The thing about aggresively going after these so called elite players too, is the Steve Francis' of the world, when he came to Orlando.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 03:58 PM
I think you're right, you have to be smart and get lucky, hence the JO trade.

I think something like this has been mentioned, they are hoping for Daniels to maybe fit this same bill on a lesser level. Granger could fit this bill, we don't know.

I don't think you can go out and buy an elite guy thats why teams do get perpetually stuck in the middle until they stink enough to draft higher. I think they drafted Williams based on potential as he's a 20 year old.

You are right though elite players don't fall in your lap. Arenas is another, other than the 3 you mentioned, I think, btw. Ben Wallace when he went to detroit as an after thought for Grant Hill, but you mean elite top what 15-20 all around players?

The thing about aggresively going after these so called elite players too, is the Steve Francis' of the world, when he came to Orlando.

To clarify: What I mean is a minimum of 2 "top-30" players. Right now we have one.

Speed
10-18-2006, 04:01 PM
To clarify: What I mean is a minimum of 2 "top-30" players. Right now we have one.


How close is Al? Can a combination of 2 guys equal a 2nd elite player?

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 04:08 PM
How close is Al? Can a combination of 2 guys equal a 2nd elite player?

Al isn't a top-30 player in my eyes. And according to the complaints in this thread, "combining" lesser talent into a competitive team is a failed strategy.

I'm countering that by saying that sometimes it is the only strategy - simply because usually you don't have any choice in the matter.

Bball
10-18-2006, 04:28 PM
We had a chance to get Barkley back in the day and went out of our way to not get him... I believe Walsh even had some charts to show how we couldn't afford him... Then we signed someone (Smits reupping IIRC) for as much or more than it would've taken to get Barkley. And he wanted to come here, it wasn't just hoping we could snag him.

-Bball

fwpacerfan
10-18-2006, 04:35 PM
Dallas was viewed as having "flex" type players and had success and now the whole league wants to go that way, including the Pacers.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 05:04 PM
We had a chance to get Barkley back in the day and went out of our way to not get him... I believe Walsh even had some charts to show how we couldn't afford him... Then we signed someone (Smits reupping IIRC) for as much or more than it would've taken to get Barkley. And he wanted to come here, it wasn't just hoping we could snag him.

-Bball

Good example.

I suppose that could have been considered a "Barkley for Smits" trade-off of sorts. With all the benefits of hindsight, I can't blame them for not doing it. Did we have Dale at the time too?

Hicks
10-18-2006, 05:20 PM
Who is a team other than Detroit, both in 89-90 and the last time in 2004 that the team that has won the championship didn't ARGUABLY have the best player in the league?

That's what I'm trying to say when I say elite. I don't mean Allen Iverson, though 6 years ago he was probably in their league, I mean we should set our sights on (or at least be in SOME kind of position to even hope for) a guy like Duncan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade. Dirk is almost in this category, but not quite (personal opinion; I know people disagree). I know you can't just "go get" one of those guys, but when your goal is to always be good, you're doing too well to have a shot at those kinds of players in the draft because your pick is between 11-20 most years. I'd rather swing for the home run. That way if you knock it out of the park, you win the title, if you strike out, you're in the lottery and have a chance to grab the next stud who comes along.

It's not perfect, but I think in the situation we're in now, we'll always be somewhere between .500 to pretty darn good, which is nice in some ways, but it almost guarantees that we won't win a title because we'll never be in a position to grab one of the top 5 players in the league through the draft or trade or whatever. We are in a good position, but not a championship position.

I'd rather cycle through a few championship level years (either winning them or being one of the top 3 teams that could easily have won), and then have a few where we rack up fresh talent from the lottery, then just be stuck in "neutral good" with 41-55 win seasons that never put us up with the true elite. When we have a great year, we're a notch below the best. When we don't, we're a .500 team and only get a mid-teen draft pick.

Bball
10-18-2006, 05:21 PM
Good example.

I suppose that could have been considered a "Barkley for Smits" trade-off of sorts. With all the benefits of hindsight, I can't blame them for not doing it. Did we have Dale at the time too?


I'm sure Peck can educate both of us on the timeframe, and I certainly recall it well (just not the date), but would be pretty sure it was after '94 so we would've had AD and DD both.

-Bball

JayRedd
10-18-2006, 05:38 PM
I agree with you Hicks in that it's very difficult to get a True Great type player when you're always picking in the mid-teens in the draft.

But, even though I think we're a very average team right now, we really aren't that far from being that contender that you hope for. Plus we are fortunate to be in the East where it's not all that tremendously difficult to get to the ECF (could be changing, but as of today).

I mean, we're middle of the pack, but we're not in the situation of the Bucks or Memphis or Philly or Sacto. We do have Jermaine, who, to me anyway, gives us one "horse". Whatever you think of the guy, he's one of the very few talented, athletic, both-ends, bigs in this league. He's also entering his athletic prime at 28 years old.

That right there, a quality big, is half the equation solved.

And to me, we have most of the role players we'd need in Al, Danny, Harrison, Quis and (hopefully) Tinsley. We just need to get him a real #1B player. I know the road to the Championship has usually gone to a team with a undisputed Top 10 player, but you gotta think a team with two guys that are between 10 and 20 has a shot.

There are lots of #1Bs in the league I think. Again, I don't know how we could possibly get any of the one's currently regarded as such, e.g., Pierce, Vince, Manu, Chauncey, Chris Paul. Fact is we can't.

But Pierce was a #10 pick, JO was #17, Manu and Gilbert were second rounders. And my guess is that there is another Gilbert in the League somewhere, who will emerge after one or two seasons of obscurity.

So, for the next 2-4 years, when I expect JO to start a significant decline, I think it's wiser to search for that #1B than hit the reset button. Maybe it's Danny, maybe it's a possibly-attainable diamond in the rough like Trevor Ariza or Leandro Barbosa. Maybe it's be a fool's chase for a Holy Grail we never find.

But while we have JO and a set of complimentary guys that are young, talented, athletic and signed for the next 2-4 years, I think you gotta keep trying and maybe keep finishing with 45 wins each year, rather than blowing it up and hoping for the next Greg Oden, who may or may not ever even be a good NBA player.

SycamoreKen
10-18-2006, 05:40 PM
Dallas was viewed as having "flex" type players and had success and now the whole league wants to go that way, including the Pacers.

The only reason Dallas went as far as they did was because of Dirk.

I find it interesting in the discussion of past champions that two franchises have won titles, LA and Miami, because management of Shaq's former team could not get a deal done with him or chose to dump him. Luck does play a part.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 05:53 PM
The only reason Dallas went as far as they did was because of Dirk.

I find it interesting in the discussion of past champions that two franchises have won titles, LA and Miami, because management of Shaq's former team could not get a deal done with him or chose to dump him. Luck does play a part.

The Shaq example is proof positive that this is a star power league. The luck in this example was that Wade exceeded even the greatest expectations. But there you are, two top 30 guys are a necessary element to a championship.

We would have to have a long thread arguing whether or not Detroit had two top 30 players - but the argument could surely be made.

And they stand as the only exception in the modern era, even IF they are an exception.

Destined4Greatness
10-18-2006, 05:57 PM
Look you do not need a top 30 player to win a championship let alone, 2. The Pistons in 04 elminated, 2 teams with 2 top 30 players.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 06:01 PM
D4G, please read my post directly above yours.

Naptown_Seth
10-18-2006, 07:03 PM
I read Hicks' concern as Donnie Walsh still believes the key is the quality of players 4-9 in the rotation, not the top 1-3 players.

I'm not sure that's what Donnie is saying though.

Donnie continues to overvalue "depth" vs. elite players.

I think the 1998 ECFs and 2000 NBA Finals should go a long way toward discrediting that approach. We were "deeper" than the Bulls and Lakers, but had no answer for their top two players. And we lost. It was competitive. But we lost.
Jay, I think you are undervaluing just how effective the 98 and 2000 teams were, as well as how they lost. It wasn't Jordan and Pippen that ultimately did in the Pacers in 98, it was KUKOC. So depth even played a part for the Bulls. Guys like Kerr and Paxson also come to mind as well.

And simply dismissing those teams as competitive overlooks the Pacers leading in Chicago midway in the 4th quarter of a game 7, something NO JORDAN TEAM EVER FACED. Mike never faced a final game of a playoff series except vs the Pacers.

So that was as close as you can get without winning, and again Kukoc was the answer, not the big 2.

Then the Pacers outscored the Lakers for the 2000 series and led in game 6 in LA, and lost game 5 in OT with Shaq out, which means they didn't have an answer for 1 guy, not 2.

Plus, it wasn't Reggie or Rik that was key factor, but Croshere and his matchup with Horry. And think back to McKey defending Jordan when he tripped going to the lane to ensure a Pacers win in 98.

So I disagree that having 2 greats gets it done over depth. The Pacers depth did lose those games, but no more than teams with 2 greats would have lost to them. When 2 top teams meet, an elite team will lose, there is no way around it. Doesn't matter how the teams are designed.


The key you hit upon is that a team must have a MATCHUP it can exploit consistantly. Typically that is a star because that's how a player becomes a star, he wins most matchups. But winning ANY matchup can be effective unless the other coach can find a way to counter it.

Having guys so generic and bland off the bench that they never really have a specific matchup advantage is a problem, but I don't think Donnie is talking about depth at that level of non-ability.

If you are a 2 star team and one of those guys has a bad night or the other team schemes well to stop them, then you can get in trouble in a hurry. Teams with depth aren't as exposed to those kinds of concerns.

Naptown_Seth
10-18-2006, 07:24 PM
LA, what about the first Rockets championship, before Drexler joined the team?

Mad Max and The Jet were at 5.1 and 4.2 APG respectively, only Dream went for more than 14 ppg and while Thorpe did average a double double (the 14 ppg and 10.6 rpg) he wasn't a shot blocker (about .25 per) or steals player. Thorpe only made ONE all-star team and it was 2 years prior (17.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg), and this was the last season he went beyond even 8.5 rpg for a season (ie, he was 31 and topped out).

The teams that Houston beat out all had stronger 1-2 combos, including Stockton-Malone, Drexler-Cliff Robinson, Kevin Johnson-Barkley-Majerle-Ceballos (case for any of them as better than Thorpe that season), Payton-Kemp, and Sprewell-Webber-Mullin.

And note that in all of these other cases you have a primary inside man AND a player that can work with the ball and initiate his own shot. Also, this is only the Western teams, Pippen-Grant, Price-Daughtery, Wilkins-Willis-Blaylock, Ewing-Oakley-Starks, Anderson-Coleman, and maybe even the team Houston beat Shaq-Penny all had more impressive pairs of stars.

Dream was amazing, but after that it was strength by depth, not 2 stars. It was Horry, Elie, Max, Smith, Thorpe and Cassell all giving something here and there.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 07:30 PM
I stand corrected, there was one other team that didn't have the one-two punch. So that's the Rockets and (maybe) Detroit in that column. Next to that column imagine the list of teams that DID have top 30 talent at two positions.

See what I mean?

Naptown_Seth
10-18-2006, 07:42 PM
BTW, while we are debating over how many teams one without having at least one player as arguably the best in the NBA, let's look at the flip side of it - how many teams with at least one player that is arguably the best in the NBA don't win titles every year?

Kobe comes to mind. 2 time MVP Nash rings a bell. Duncan. James last year. KEVIN GARNETT. JO in the year before his 3rd place MVP vote (when most of us realize he was better). Karl Malone. Barkley. Robinson winning the MVP in Houston's 2nd title year.

Teams go get elite players and still lose. Teams go get MVPs and still lose.

Forget having top players, how about the more impressive stat. How many championship teams in the last 20 years weren't coached by Phil Jackon, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich, Chuck Daly or Rudy Tomjanovich. I count 1 - Larry Brown. 5 coaches, 19 of the last 20 titles

So it's more important to have one of the 3-4 greatest coaches in the game than it is to have the best player, at least going by relationship of coaches to titles compared to the relationship of the MVP winners to titles.

Spend the money and hire Pop, Riley or Phil. Apparently there is no chance otherwise. I guess my hope is that with Rick already winning a COY and finishing top 5 in the COY voting his first 4 seasons, that perhaps the Pacers already have the next Pop or Phil. I know most don't believe it, but he's already had spectacular results compared to expectations.



And LA, on this topic go re-read the Houston post and consider all those other 1-2 punch teams just in that season that didn't win. 1-2 punch gets you in the mix only, and the Pacers have already been there (if healthy). You need MORE than just a 1-2 punch, and in 2 cases teams did even need the 1-2 punch despite other teams having it.

Los Angeles
10-18-2006, 08:24 PM
I read your post. Now try to win a championship without top-tier talent. The fact that you can only come up with 2 teams proves my point completely. End of discussion as far as I'm concerned.

I see your point that it takes more than just that, but we were talking about wether or not this aspect is important, which it clearly is. In fact, it's pretty much an essential ingredient - like tomatoes in pizza sauce.

If you want to talk about what else is important, then it's a new topic altogether.

JayRedd
10-18-2006, 09:16 PM
Excellent posts Nap-Seth....

I agree that while it seems that you always need a 1-2 punch to win, the fact of exactly why a team won is often revisionist history to prioritize the impact that the "Big Two" actually had. Of course, your two best players are going to be the ones that get you there, and of course, we give most of the credit for championships to "Magic/Kareem" "Bird/McHale," "Dr. J/Moses," "MJ/Pippen," "Shaq/Kobe" and "DWade/Shaq" but just having this doesn't guarentee you the rings.

You need Big Shot Rob to hit that miracle three against the Kings. You need the Blazers to choke away a 20-point lead in the 4th Quarter. You need to get 7493 offensive boards against the Pacers in game 7 of the ECF. You need Paxson and Kerr to hit those open jumpers.

In some of these cases, it's easy to say "You need luck", which is true, but moreso this "luck" comes in the form of having a very high-quality "3 through 6 punch."

I mean the Knicks made two Finals with their 1-2 combos being "Ewing/Starks" and "Spreewell/Houston." Detroit won back-to-back titles with "Isiah/Dumars" and then again with "Wallace/Chauncey". How did they do it? Simple: "Oakley/Mason/Anthony/Harper," "LJ/Ewing/Camby," "Laimbeer/Rodman/Aguirre/Microwave/Sally" and "Rip/Sheed/Tayshaun."

You need to be very solid at 3-6. That's a big reason why the Rockets aren't doing that much this year even if TMac is healthy and that's why the biggest challenge MJ ever faced post-1990 was "Miller/Smits/Jackson/Rose/Davis/Davis/Mullin/McKey".

As Pacer fans, we should know how important depth is. But it only matters if it's high quality depth.

So it is rare, but it can be done without a real 1-2 punch. It's just a lot easier the with one.

With JO involved, we'll never have a historically elite 1-2. But we can put something very good out there with say the equivalent of JO/Pierce or JO/Vince. By themselves those guys would have no chance to do nearly as much as the "failed" 1-2s of Stockton/Malone, Shaq/Penny, Barkley/KJ, or Payton/Kemp.

But you add Al/Danny/Tinsley/Quisy/and one of Harrison/Shawne to that mix, and you have a team that can at least be a Top 3-4 team in this league and maybe get into the Finals.

Would they win? Who knows with all these historic greats like Duncan, Kobe and Lebron ruling the league....But I'd rather give that squad a chance than blow the whole thing up and hope for Greg Oden. And then hope Greg Oden actually does become a historic great.

With JO/Al/Danny and the hope that Danny can really become something, we really do have a good base fort the next four years. We just need that one key-stone piece that gives us another near-elite player, and a couple of "Derrick McKey" or "Dale Davis" types that we know we can count on.

RWB
10-19-2006, 12:03 PM
You need to be very solid at 3-6. That's a big reason why the Rockets aren't doing that much this year even if TMac is healthy and that's why the biggest challenge MJ ever faced post-1990 was "Miller/Smits/Jackson/Rose/Davis/Davis/Mullin/McKey".

As Pacer fans, we should know how important depth is. But it only matters if it's high quality depth.

So it is rare, but it can be done without a real 1-2 punch. It's just a lot easier the with one.


Very well thought out points JayRedd, but I think some of us have a differnce of opinion on depth. Simply after your five starters how many people off the bench have to be the high quality you're looking for? For some here they would rather spend the extra cash on proven impact players who will get meaningful minutes rather than laying out the cash at the end of the bench for those who don't play.

indyman37
10-19-2006, 12:20 PM
Can anyone think of an elite player we can aquire using maybe without trading JO, Al, or Danny that would actually work?

Bball
10-19-2006, 03:01 PM
Can anyone think of an elite player we can aquire using maybe without trading JO, Al, or Danny that would actually work?

If we are getting an elite player back then I am not sure why we wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't trade any of those players.... Maybe not all 3 but even 2 of them could be in the mix.

-Bball

indyman37
10-19-2006, 09:32 PM
If we are getting an elite player back then I am not sure why we wouldn't/couldn't/shouldn't trade any of those players.... Maybe not all 3 but even 2 of them could be in the mix.

-Bball
I'm just thinking an elite guard with Danny, Al, and JO would one, solve a lot of problems at that position, and two, give us an excellent chance of a title.