View Full Version : Tbird's long term thoughts....the Pacers long term interests

11-26-2006, 02:48 PM
Hello all. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday.

It's in my nature, from a coach's point of view that I come from, to always look at things from a short term perspective. How can I make my business function better TODAY? Or, in the basketball sense, how can we best win the game TONIGHT? What do we have to do to win the VERY NEXT GAME? Since thats how I think Carlisle and most other coaches in the professional level look at it too, usually most decisions they make are based on that way of thinking. Today, I want to hit on a couple of random topics and discuss whether our short term goals of being a better team in the immediate future is getting in the way of what we need to be doing long term, and hopefully spark an intelligent discussion.

Topic number one on my mind is Marquis Daniels, and our backcourt players in general. While it defies my own coaching common sense, its apparent to me and most of us watching with an objective eye that Darrell Armstrong is providing us with a spark, defensive intensity, and even shooting that none of us expected. Even more surprising to me, while inconsistent on an every night basis, clearly the pairing of DA and Sarunas off our bench has been a very good combination for us. For whatever reason, we've played better and had more success when those 2 players have been on the court together than when they've been in apart from one another. Our plays and design of what we are running seems to function better, especially on the nights Sarunas is making shots. RC has clearly discovered this, and DA has become his security blanket in the rotation, and with his play justifiably so. My question is, is this really a good thing for us long term?

I think my answer as a long time Pacer fan craving a championship is no. Most likely, when we are truly a championship level contender again, Armstrong will be gone, and probably Sarunas too. I don't know about the rest of you, but I simultaneously cringe and cheer when I see either of these 2 guys play well, because I know the natural tendency of the coaches will be to play Armstrong and Sarunas more minutes, at the expense of Marquis and Rawle Marshall. On the other hand, those 2 guys when playing well have really helped us win the 7 games we've won this year, and we really have had big time minutes from both of them. It's hard for me to decide what I think is best to do, but I think Im realistic enough to know that in a lot of ways winning games with them now might be counterproductive to our long term goals of being a true elite contender.

I still think, as I said last week, that I believe Id play and even start Daniels at the point, to improve our defense at the point of attack, and to see if he can be a player who can fill that role for us. I think in my own mind Ive decided that Tinsley is a nice player, but is not a championship level point guard with the team currently configured this way. I think we need a starter at that spot as a long term answer, and I want to see if Daniels is it.

I feel this way about David Harrison too. My gut tells me, instead of all evidence, that David would be a better starter than backup. I certainly cant defend a decision to start him based on the merits of how he has played, but I think its important this season to once and for all decide for ourselves if he is going to be part of the next truly great team here. I already know Foster is what he is, starting him doesnt tell me anything I dont already know, although I can see where it makes some short term sense. Can David be a legitimate starting center on a really good team? I dont know, but Id like to play him and find out this season. My original thought in the preseason was to play him at the start of the second quarter every night, play him all 12 minutes, and then play him the second half based on how the game was being played and what we needed to do to win. Obviously, RC isnt that comfortable in doing that, and honestly Harrison hasnt been able to stay on the floor anyway....and now he is semi-hurt and inactive. I think its smarter to play the kid bigger minutes and see what we've got for next year and beyond.

That moves me on to players to really look at hard to acquire in the offseason of 2007. I think most of us would say we need help in the backcourt in some form (depending on how Daniels would do in my proposed idea to start him at PG), we need shooting in the backcourt, and we need an upgrade inside to help JO and Harrington. I challenge all of you to watch not just our own team play but to watch the opponents too, to see who they may have that might become available for us next summer.

As for me, Ill mention 2 players off the top of my head who interest me alot, and would be at least somewhat realistic for us to acquire, and then throw this whole topic open to discussion:

1. Darko Milicec.....the potential exact type big man to ideally pair with JO's skill set in my opinion. Orlando opted to not renew him at the start of the year I think, and unless Im mistaken he will be on the open market.

2. Mo Peterson.....being pushed out of Toronto in a youth movement, I project him to be available around the MLE next summer. I really like his game and ability to shoot from the perimeter, and depending on how we manuever our wing positions might be a good addition. I'd prefer a younger player of course, but Im hoping some of you may have some thoughts on who might be a good fit as a SHOOTER.( Yes, I know Ive had a Mo Pete fetish for us since last summer.)

Ok, now the big question for some of you to answer. Would you rather play DA and Sarunas as much or more than we are playing them now, assuming that they play well enought to squeeze us out another 5 to 7 extra victories for this one season, or would you rather experiment and risk making the playoffs this season to find out more about our young guys?

Its hard to do and admit, but I think Id like to experiment still, just to find out where we stand with Daniels, Harrison, Marshall, and the rest. I dont think with the current cast playing big minutes we are much better than average, and I have higher goals and aspirations than that for our Pacers.

As always, JMO.

11-26-2006, 03:26 PM
The one question I have is, has David Harrison & Jermaine O'Neal ever shared the floor together for extended time in multiple games?

I honestly can't remember if they have, I don't think so but my memory could be failing.

It seems that David comes in & J.O. is out or if they ever are together it's for a very brief (usually due to some dumb@ss foul that Harrison has picked up) time.

I'll be honest with you I'm really about done with Harrison, I've seen him actually regress the last two seasons & that is a d@mn shame really. I would almost rather see all of his min. not that he gets any, go to Powell.

However I know it is really hard to give up on a guy his size & who has shown some talent in the past. I just wish he would improve instead of going backwards.

11-26-2006, 03:41 PM
I understand what you mean Peck, but we also know just how slow big guys tend to develop in this league. I just dont think ive seen enough of him yet to make an informed judgment. For some unknown reason, I just LIKE Harrison, and I dont even really know why.

I'd really like to see him play in a regular role and in regular minutes for a long stretch of the season, so we know more about what type of player he will be. Big guys develop so slowly I think its too early to write him off, but the day is coming soon financially where we are going to have to be able to make the right judgment about him.

My guess is that he will be in the Dampier level of player, which is to say about average, with good nights and bad nights.....a role player on a good team, but I want to see him play to find out, and make sure he isnt better than that.


11-26-2006, 05:07 PM
When TPTB drafted Harrison, were there any reports that they anticipated him being our eventual starting 5?

Jose Slaughter
11-26-2006, 05:38 PM
I like the idea of playing the young guys to see what we have.

I would like to see Daniels start at the 2 with Green at point. Thats not much scoring from our backcourt but we would be improved at the defensive end.

I've been in favor of throwing Harrison out there with the starters for more than a year now. That would give us a starting lineup of Harrison, O'Neal, Granger, Daniels & Green.

Harrington would still get starters minutes off the bench.

11-26-2006, 05:47 PM
T-Bird you make a number of excellent points as usual.

I admit I really torn. In the moment I want the Pacers to win the game - if that means Jax, Saras, DA Tinsley play heavy minutes - then I say, OK, I want to win. But then I think about the long-term big picture and think I want Greene, Marshal and Daniels to get the big minutes. But that really isn't fair to JO and the fans who pay big money to see wins - or to Carlisle who needs to win games to save his job.

The bottom line is this is a two year rebuilding project that started with the Artest trade and won't end until at least next summer. In a lot of ways this team reminds me of the 2001 Pacers - Isiah's first season -

Having said this, I like the team spirit this season and it seems like they are truly rooting for each other.

I don't think a Pacers team has ever confused me as much as this team does. I honetly cannot figure them out

11-26-2006, 06:34 PM
I don't really believe in "playing for the future". Too many variables. You develop Rawle and nothing comes of it, or he gets hurt, or JO and AL get hurt next year and despite his improved play the team goes nowhere.

You gotta win while the winning's good is my view. I agree that young players do learn to play better, don't get me wrong. I just don't believe in tossing the kids out there in mass to struggle now so they will be great later.

The Baby Bulls didn't really improve and in the end they did some serious trading and FA work to adjust that squad. If anything they were at their peak right off the bat.

Wade, James, Melo - these guys got better but at the same time they started pretty hot in the first place. You don't turn a mid-level guy into a superstar just with PT. Some guys make that jump but I think it has more to do with them than just PT or coaching.

Look at what happened with the brawl. Did the extra playing time change Gill, Edwards or even James Jones? JJ got noticed of course, but has he really become better than that Boston game just a few nights after the brawl when he outplayed Pierce?

Rawle and Powell are seeing some PT already, even Greene gets to sneak in. I think they see enough to make progress already, and meanwhile Granger is the main project and obviously still has a way to go.

Ultimately the "long term" Pacers plans feature either JO, Jack, Tins and AL putting it together now or being traded, period. That could very well mean that the playing time you hand out now ends up wasted. For example, the Pacers trade JT and Foster for a new PG and JO for a star SG. Suddenly Rawle or Daniels are less important simply due to the team structure (see how it went for the Mavs this summer for example).

I'm with UB basically - this team still needs to figure the CURRENT situation out. We aren't at the point yet of saying "okay, we see what this is all about, let's move on to something new".

No serious changes should come down till at least after the AS break. Even though we will have a good idea at 20 games I think we can already see a pattern of road struggles and home comebacks, along with inconsistant but sometimes impressive play. That could pan out to 45-46 wins which isn't that far off what was expected anyway, so why would the plan be abandoned?

11-26-2006, 07:58 PM
the long-term solution to the pacers problems is to just start over. the players we have now will never get it done, but i think bird and carlisle fear that if they go the starting over path, that the fan support won't be there. i think indiana just wants a pacers team that competes hard every night, plays solid fundamental basketball, and are class citizens. the team out there now is none of those on a consistent basis. i would absolutely love to work a deal with the bulls involving jo and a couple of the bulls young players with that nyk #1 draft pick. next year's draft should be loaded so i definitely think we can get our next 'franchise' player through this draft. don't know what else we can do to improve our team other than firing the coach or trading jo. these guys just aren't going to cut it now, or in the future.

Jon Theodore
11-26-2006, 08:04 PM
Carlisle is the coach of the pacers, his next job and how much he is worth depends on how many wins he gets. Move along

11-26-2006, 08:51 PM
I'm all for MoPete. I'd like to see Harrison play, but there's got to be something to these DNPs. Oh, to be a fly in practice and see what really's going on. I swear though, if we let him go and he goes Primoz on us, I'm gonna hurt somebody.

11-26-2006, 09:30 PM
My big concern with Harrison is that he doesn't have a great attitude, or at least he doesn't seem to have a great attitude. Lord knows he has had his share of poor role models when it comes to mouthing off to the officials, but he just hasn't seemed to me like he has his head screwed on straight.

I don't think he is a lost cause, because obviously he is young, but I think he needs a mentor aka a Dale Davis to keep him in check, and to show him how a big man plays in the NBA. I am not sure who fills that role on this team. He particularly needs to avoid being such a magnet for fouls He is beginning to make Rik Smits look good in that regard, and that takes some doing. Like you said, he needs minutes, but until he figures this out, and maybe some more play will help, he will continue to stagnate.

Finally, I would like to see him start excelling at some of the dirty work. He has flashes, but he just isn't that consistent. With his size, you would think that averaging a double-double would be pretty attainable by putting back garbage shots and cleaning the glass.

On the other topic, I would definitely lean towards playing the young guys. I agree, that sadly, this is just not a championship caliber team. We have key voids that are unlikely to be met this season, so this is the perfect year to experiment with our youngsters.

Ultimately I think we still need to do some more house cleaning, although TPTB did not stand pat this summer and did make a number of changes. I have nothing new to add to our shortcomings with Jax and Tinsley, but I also think Jermaine is overrated. I think Jermaine is an excellent player, and the most talented player we have on the team, but I just don't think he dominates enough at his position to carry this team to the promised land.

We are new to this offensive system, and we will get better, but right now I see us as a mediocre team, and at best a pretty good team. Let the cream rise to the top this year, and then get busy in the off-season to tweak the roster to shore up our deficiencies.

11-27-2006, 01:50 AM
the long-term solution to the pacers problems is to just start over. the players we have now will never get it done, but i think bird and carlisle fear that if they go the starting over path, that the fan support won't be there.

co-sign. If they don't commit to the rebuild, the team will continue to be mediocre and never rise. I think "long term" went out the window with the James White cut. It's obvious they were thinking short term (with the phantom man, Maceo Baston). A rebuild with this team would not take as long as it might with most teams because there are already some keepers. I don't know that trading O'Neal is the answer (unless the P's get a younger player of similair ability in return, which won't happen), but the team could definately use a high draft pick. The past few drafts have provided some excellent point guard prospects (Chris Paul, Deron and Marcus Williams immediately come to mind). That said, Tinsley is not the problem here.

I personally feel the team could most use a franchise 2-guard, but it would have to be a guy who can distribute as well as shoot (like Wade). Daniels and Marshall look solid to me. But starting material? Probably not. Stephen Jackson is about as far from my ideal SG as you can get (doesn't rebound, doesn't get assists, poor shooter, slow, etc), and I personally kind of like Jack. But he seems best as the first guy off the bench, not as a go to guy.

As for who I've got in mind, I'm not sure, but I'm convinced the Pacers would be making the perfect move in trading for Gerald Green.

Dr. Goldfoot
11-27-2006, 02:09 AM
When TPTB drafted Harrison, were there any reports that they anticipated him being our eventual starting 5?

I don't think so.

Here's what NBADraft.net had to say

"The team drafted David Harrison, a 7', 280+ pound C from Colorado, in the first round to provide a true pivot. Harrison is talented, but his consistent lack of effort in college make it doubtful he'll be able to give them much this winter".

HoopsWorld.com had this to say

"2. David Harrison, Colorado
With the exception of some amazingly mediocre rebounding, Harrison's numbers are great. I'll take 53.9% shooting with some blocked shots any day. Pendergraft has raved about Harrison's work ethic. So why did so many people mention Harrison a probable bust in the unscientific study (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/179083_locke23.html) conducted by David Locke of the Seattle P-I? Work ethic and character, my friends. It seems to me there are a lot of big guys like that, with Loren Woods, Brendan Haywood, and Brian Cook fitting the mold in recent years. On Woods, the doubters were right; on Haywood, they were wrong. The jury is still out on Cook, though he looked pretty good when he did get a chance this season, and I'm expecting to eat some crow on him. So maybe that concern is overblown. In the first round, Harrison is a bit of a gamble. In the second-round, with little to no risk, he's a no-brainer.

SportsNutz.com predicted the Blazers would draft him and had these comments.

"David Harrison- Harrison isn’t supposed to have such a great attitude…are some guys tailor-made for the Blazers or what? Harrison has size, which will be important once Theo Ratliff becomes a free agent.

SI.com in a Pacers season preview

"David Harrison (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/players/3846) -- Made it to the first round, but he's a project that needs a lot of work.

Andy Katz's take:

Harrison decided to stay in the draft, which means he's got to dedicate himself to get into the first round or it will be a waste. Harrison has first-round talent but has been inconsistent at times at Colorado. He's got the body to demand a high pick. Now he's got to prove it in workouts for NBA teams.

It's one thing when a renegade reporter says something negative about a player but when every reporter says it.....I don't think anyone has ever said David Harrison without ending the thought with one of the highlighted remarks from above.

Dr. Goldfoot
11-27-2006, 02:15 AM
On the long term vs short term , I want to beat the Blazers on Tuesday.

11-27-2006, 02:04 PM
I love the idea of looking at things from a long term perspective. What we all essentially mean by this is looking for a way the team can be good enough to win a championship, not just some regular season games and a playoff series every now and then.

There are two issues that I see on the Pacers in regards to winning a championship/long term planning.

#1 - The top 4 players/prospects on this team all play the same two positions. By this I mean JO, Al, Granger, and Shawne Williams. Even if Williams takes a couple of years to develop, there's no possible way to have these 4 on the court together. Granger is not a 2 guard. He can play the position defensively, but he is a liability as a secondary ball-handler. What this amounts to is a logjam where one or two players must eventually be removed from the equation. If the Pacers are committed to the up-tempo style they give lip service to, JO is the worst fit of these players followed by Harrington. They're both essential to this team right now, but if Williams develops into the player Bird thinks he can be, one of them will have to go.

#2 - You cannot win an NBA championship without excellent guard play.
Look at the last few championship teams: Miami (Dwayne Wade), Spurs (Parker & Manu), Pistons (Billups & Hamilton), Lakers (Kobe), Bulls (Jordan), Rockets (Drexler). The only exception in the past 20 years is the 1999 Spurs who had Duncan and Robinson. The NBA was a different league then, but they still had Avery Johnson who was a solid PG.

Now look at the Pacers roster. I don't see any guard on the roster with the potential to even be as good as Avery Johnson, much less all the other guards I mentioned. I agree with T-bird in that Daniels comes the closest, but he's got to learn how to shoot and run the point. Every great team has to have a dominant guard who can both handle and shoot.

Tinsley is a nice player. He can handle the ball and is a decent, if inconsistent shooter, but he has never shown the ability to take over the game a la Wade in the finals last year.

Jackson is also a decent player, but he cannot handle the ball well enough to be anything more than an average 2 guard.

Daniels has the size and the athleticism to dominate, but he needs to demonstrate some more passion, a better handle, and a better shot.

Orien Greene and Rawle Marshall are intriguing, but still far away from being what the Pacers need.

If the Pacers ever want to contend, they'll need to address these two issues.

Here's an idea that most people will hate, that could address both the short and long term issues with the Pacers. Trade O'Neal to Philly for Iverson and work a swap of 1st round picks into the deal. Since the Pacers don't have a firstI guarantee the Pacers will make the playoffs for the next two years, while PHilly will wind up with a lottery pick that comes our way. The Pacers have enough talent to help Iverson out that it would be the best team he's been on since the NBA finals team.

Just a thought.

11-27-2006, 02:19 PM
I'm all for MoPete. I'd like to see Harrison play, but there's got to be something to these DNPs. Oh, to be a fly in practice and see what really's going on. I swear though, if we let him go and he goes Primoz on us, I'm gonna hurt somebody.
It would be his own fault. I've yet to see him come in a game where they didn't move the ball to him ASAP. The problem is that he doesn't fight for post position effectively, and then on the way back up court he runs into the PG or grabs someone for no apparent reason. He has been burned with low respect calls certainly, but unlike Primoz he's been called upon to show his stuff countless times.

Primoz was just logjammed. The Pacers would freaking start David if he could bring his best stuff most of the time without the extra junk.

As a longtime defender of Tinsley I have to admit that this season he's really hurting the team most nights. He's as careless as ever with the ball, not producing the assists to match that level of TO risk, and on most nights has not shot the ball well. He's been much better in previous seasons which is why the injury issues hurt the team. Now it's his actual play that's down.

Sarunas is obviously not a serious PG answer and DA has limited time left (at this point I would expect them to beg him to return next year). JO has been great but with all his carping about shots and coaching I'm actually starting to listen to things like JO for AI as a solution (along with moving a PG or 2).

One thing about Jack in all of this is that at least in public he's been a model player (since Rio I mean). His shot stinks most nights, but he has backed down the attempts a little. More importantly he's improved his output in other areas in an effort to make some type of impact. I can take that kind of slump, one where a player at least is humble about it and tries to do something about it.

The PG situation is much worse because the Pacers haven't really been getting a lot impact in the intangibles from the PGs when they struggle (well, Tins and Saras), and that has been most nights. Tinsley has improved his rebounding effort, but otherwise...frustrating.

11-27-2006, 08:43 PM
T-Bird, I agree with almost everything you propose. IMO, this is a rebuilding year. We will not truly contend for anything other than the 7th or 8th playoff seed. The problem in executing on a development-for-the-future strategy is simple: Walsh is retiring at the end of this season and wants to go out a winner. So, each game will be played to generate the best record possible.