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View Full Version : Forget what you do when you're a winner or loser, what if you're mediocre?



Hicks
08-02-2007, 12:47 AM
That's where I believe the Pacers are, and that's why I am here to ask this question.

If you have a team that's not bad enough to be in the lottery, but not good enough to be a serious title contender, and you decide they can't do much better than they already have, what do you do next?

Do you rebuild? How do you rebuild?

Do you retool? How might you retool?

How do you get out of this middle ground? Do you tear it down by giving people away for cheap young talents and picks, or do you try to turn a few of your guys into one better player and hope for the best? Something else, maybe?

How does a GM deal with mediocrity? How SHOULD he deal with mediocrity?

Most importantly to me: What does history say an NBA GM should do to get out of mediocrity? What usually works? What usually doesn't work? What are the variations? ARE THERE examples of it working at all?

grace
08-02-2007, 12:49 AM
Getting a new management team might be a good place to start.

Bynum Brigade
08-02-2007, 12:56 AM
I know some of you don't like me but my opinion here is unbiased.

Trade Granger plus whatever for an all star

Trader Joe
08-02-2007, 12:57 AM
Cry.

Hicks
08-02-2007, 01:00 AM
Getting a new management team might be a good place to start.

That's just it, I'm not asking what Donnie and Larry will do or what have you. I'm speaking in general; hypothetically.

Kstat
08-02-2007, 01:08 AM
hypothetically, if you can't make your team better than mediocre without making them worse, you should be fired. That's McHale-level incompetence.

A good GM will take a team from .500 to elite status if he has a few years and enough freedom to work with.

Young
08-02-2007, 02:04 AM
It really depends on the team situation.

Right now we upgraded the coaching staff. I like Rick Carlise, he is a good coach, however we needed a fresh approach and not only that some good assistants. We got both of those things. We will see how it impacts the wins and losses column.

You look at the Jermaine situation and sure we can trade him, but you have to get the right deal. Just trading him for Lamar Odom is stupid, Odom isn't the better player. So unless you get a guy like Andrew Bynum or an Al Jefferson then you keep Jermaine.

We have some good players if we do anything else or not.

Tinsley, yeah I don't like him to much but I hold the hope that OB can have a positive impact on his playing level, is a solid point guard. He will have freedom this year under OB so it's all on him to play well.

You look at Jermaine, he is a 20-10 guy. It's simple. He will bring it as long as he is healthy. And there is Danny Granger, hopefully he can improve and have a good 3rd year. Jeff should be Jeff, energy, rebounds, and defense.

There are some unknowns, actually a lot of them. Start with Troy Murphy. Could be a double double guy and OB would love his shooting or he could suck once again.

Marquis Daniels, if healthy, could be a nice player. Travis Diener will get a shot to show what he can do but he could suck.

Then there is Kareem Rush has proven that he can play in the NBA however he played overseas last year so he has to show that he should have been in the NBA. Mike Dunleavy showed what a great team player he is last year and it will be very interesting to see how OB uses him.

And then you have Shawne Williams and Ike Diogu. Young and talented but unknown how good they will be this year. And then there is Harrison too who will be awful once again but that's JMO.

You look at the team and they could be good it's just there are a lot of unknowns with a new coach and with guys like Diener and Rush.

Right now we don't need to do much. We changed the coaching staff for the better IMO and we got a couple players to improve our shooting from the guards spot which will be very important under OB. If we get the right offer for Jermaine then fine take it otherwise keep him. I'd really like to move Dunleavy but I don't see that happening so just see what OB and his staff can do with the current squad and go from there.

BoomBaby31
08-02-2007, 04:14 AM
We have a lot of players to work with, we are mediocre but we do have the pieces to become elite again the problem is there isn't a market. All of the stars are locked up, or demand so much money it's near impossible to get them. Our biggest mistake, was last year when we took back Harrington (which I was firmly against) and we lost our Draft pick. Some of you guys are to hard on the management, you act like we haven't been contenders for years and years. Our main man Reggie retired, our core young players all were thugs and couldn't keep it undercontrol, and we had to trade them, our Superstar seems to be continuously hurt. It isn't like our management isn't putting together good squads with what they have to work with. In a 1-3 years we will be right in the elite of the east again, it's only a matter of time.

JB's Breakout Year
08-02-2007, 07:57 AM
rommie provides an accurate assessment.

I think in our case, our mediocrity means that we are one or two pieces away from being a good team.

Our biggest weakness is shooting guard. Because there don't appear to be any legitimate starting 2 guards on the trading block around the NBA, we aren't likely to bring one in. Neither the LA nor the NJ trades would bring us one, though RJ could probably pass for one and would be a definite upgrade. We may just have to wait until next year's draft.

Otherwise, like rommie said, we have a lot of good pieces in place, especially with Danny, Shawne, and Ike. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the team (and especially JO and Tinsley) respond to O'Brien.

It's not a finished product, but I feel optimistic about the future.

Unclebuck
08-02-2007, 08:13 AM
What I love (yes I'm being sarcastic) is the notion that if a team is really bad for a couple of seasons, no one ever doubts that that team will rise out of the ashes to become I guess a very good team soon. On the other hand everyone just assumes that if you are just an average team, you will stay that way for years on end. There is nothing to prove either case to be try or false.

My point is I truly believe it is easier to go from being an average team and become a very good team, than it is to go from being an awful team to a very good team.

if you are an average team if you make one good trade, get lucky on a draft pick and get the right coach, you can become very good right away. If you are a lousy team, you might do all those things and become an average team.

Also no one wants to play for an awful team - but a player will want to play for an average team because they are more likely to believe they can move to the team to great much easier.

This is somthing I have always believed. (And I use 1993 - to 1994 transformation as an example). I rarely post this thoery because I would have to post it about every week. Mal, your theory is much more prevelant - but I just think it is wrong.

Where is the evidence that average teams stay there, while bad teams easily skip over average teams to become very good.

Unclebuck
08-02-2007, 08:23 AM
Most importantly to me: What does history say an NBA GM should do to get out of mediocrity? What usually works? What usually doesn't work? What are the variations? ARE THERE examples of it working at all?


OK, my last post was mainly theory. The way a GM changes an average team into a good team, is get new coach (that is usually the most important thing) make a good trade, sign a new player or two.

When the Pacers made the Rose for Brad Miller trade - that one trade changed the pacers from a very average team into one of the better teams in the NBA (yes I know it was temporary and we all know why, but the point is that one very good trade changed things in a big way.) The next season we were on our way to winning 58 games or so until things fell apart. We then changed coaches that summer and won 61 games and got to the 6th game of the ECF.

My point is this, if we make the "right JO trade" and get the "right point guard" the pacers can be very good next season. (of course if they trade JO for young players draft pics, then they won't be).

indygeezer
08-02-2007, 08:26 AM
The Pistons of years ago are an example of a team that was going nowhere. The Lanier years were filled with teams that had nothing but mediocre results. Not until Zeke came along did they begin to see daylight. It took a lucky break and a special player to pull them out of the duldrums IMO.

(fingernails on chaulkboard for Kstat I'm certain)

Kegboy
08-02-2007, 09:27 AM
There are a lot of variables.

IMO, first you you can look at your roster, and see if there's some moves to be made there to make the team better. Then change the coaching staff, and see if there's talent there the previous staff couldn't bring out (Brown in '94).

But then, if coaching doesn't fix it, and the roster can't be upgraded (probably because nobody wants your players), then the GM has failed. You fire him, bring in somebody completely new with a new vision that's not tarnished by previous successes or loyalties to certain players. And that person will most probably tear it down and start over, maybe keeping some young pieces, but they're not beholden to them.

The more I think about it hypothetically, I think it's crucial that, if you are going to rebuild, you need to bring in a new GM, for the reasons above. Look at Jerry Krause. Now, some of you youngin's probably think he sucked as a GM. Not true. He built a dynasty. Sure, it was on Michael's back, but they weren't doing squat before Jerry got there and started filling in the pieces.

However, when it came time to rebuild, he couldn't handle it. He completely wiped the slate clean, which probably wasn't necessary, and when he did acquire good, young players (Brand, Artest, Miller) he wasn't patient enough. Maybe that was because he was used to winning, or he felt pressure from a fan base that was, but he started the process all over again. New coach, new players, same result.

So, when Paxson came in, he kept Curry and Chandler, but he didn't overvalue them because they weren't "his" players. Now, you could certainly make the argument he undervalued them, but that's another story.

To wrap this back to the Pacers, yes, I want to rebuild, because I think we're not even mediocre anymore. But looking at this from another angle, I think we better get rid of TPTB before that happens. They've shown a propensity to overvalue their roster. And, as I'm sure Peck and Bball would say, they've shown that they believe mediocrity is success. That might have worked in the curtain days, but in today's environment, where they not only have to compete with the Colts, but with a pletora of entertainment choices that weren't available 20 years ago, that's not going to cut it.

owl
08-02-2007, 09:34 AM
The recurring theme is that you want your management to be smart enough
to not make stupid moves and take the franchise backwards, be patient, and keep the ship afloat(mediocre) until you run into a lucky draft pick or trade. Then you can become a contender. That sounds like the method that DW has perfected over the years. He just did not get lucky enough to get the superstar to bring home the championship. Reggie was the lucky pick that almost accomplished the goal.

Knucklehead Warrior
08-02-2007, 10:23 AM
You can whittle at it. You pick up a Dale Davis and a Rik Smits in the draft, just as a young Reggie Miller is becoming a star. You trade for Mark Jackson or Jalen Rose. Remember when we were always a good SF away from being a contender? You switch coaches and get Larry Brown and then switch again. You get lucky, you find some pieces and make 'em work.

This is the "watching paint dry" method and appears to be what we've been in for a long time and where we are now. This is the method which has kept us roughly competitive for a couple of decades now. As I tell myself, patience is a virtue.

Haggard
08-02-2007, 10:24 AM
I think the key is what a team can get from their bench. I know there are some exceptions like the Suns & Pistons. From the Pacers pov I truly believe that they didn't get enough from their bench at times.

Slick Pinkham
08-02-2007, 10:55 AM
We need to make a great deal of improvement to be considered mediocre.

ChicagoJ
08-02-2007, 11:00 AM
Winning has less to with talent than mental toughness.

Signing an aging, but tough-as-nails Byron Scott did much more for the Pacers than hiring Larry Brown or trading stat-monster Det for whatever-it-takes McKey.

The combination of all three was pretty good, though.

Kicking Pooh Richardson to the curb a year later was a swift move as well.

This was not a talent upgrade, it was a winner/ mental toughness upgrade.

And that is why the Bulls have moved up rapidly - Paxson is focused on "winners that can play", not "star players".

Naptown_Seth
08-02-2007, 11:26 AM
What I love (yes I'm being sarcastic) is the notion that if a team is really bad for a couple of seasons, no one ever doubts that that team will rise out of the ashes to become I guess a very good team soon. On the other hand everyone just assumes that if you are just an average team, you will stay that way for years on end. There is nothing to prove either case to be try or false.
I completely agree.

Rommie is right about holding on while we see what a MAJOR change like hiring a new coach does first.

The reason I hated the GS trade so much was that it was an overall talent hit and put the payroll/roster into a tougher position to deal from, primary because it was a RUSH to solve a minor problem. Fans were mad about Jackson since NOV so who cares if they are still mad JAN, it's not like the case took a turn for the worse or he was involved in anything new. So why did that deal need to get done ASAP???

To me TPTB sort of forced that deal along, just as they (at fans wishes somewhat) pushed for the Al deal to get done. Neither are disaster deals but both are in the wrong direction due to the wrong mentality. It's that "OMG, this team is ONLY a 6th seed, abort, abort, we need a fix stat".

The fact is that unless you get lucky with a FA that's been cut loose for financial reasons or trade with a moron, your 500 team isn't going to jump to 55 wins instantly. You have to be willing to have your efforts not work instantly, you have to be willing to take some 500 season lumps.

To me going down to the lottery, the total rebuild, is a "quick fix" attitude too. The only time it makes sense is if you've put yourself into such a financial/payroll bind that there is no way out, and if you've done that then go ahead and step down as GM and let the next go trash it and start over...slowly.


I think the best place to start for this discussion would be to compile a list of mediocre teams that became CF caliber OR 50 win caliber within 2-3 years. Then look at how each of them did it.

Hicks
08-02-2007, 11:29 AM
hypothetically, if you can't make your team better than mediocre without making them worse, you should be fired. That's McHale-level incompetence.

A good GM will take a team from .500 to elite status if he has a few years and enough freedom to work with.

How? "How" is the whole point to my thread.

Hicks
08-02-2007, 11:44 AM
I think the best place to start for this discussion would be to compile a list of mediocre teams that became CF caliber OR 50 win caliber within 2-3 years. Then look at how each of them did it.

That sounds like a good idea.

Bball
08-02-2007, 12:49 PM
The reason I hated the GS trade so much was that it was an overall talent hit and put the payroll/roster into a tougher position to deal from, primary because it was a RUSH to solve a minor problem. .

Here's a point I disagree with. It wasn't a 'rush' at all. At least not in the classic sense of the word. Maybe it became a 'rush' (I'll concede that point) BUT it only became a 'rush' once they wasted all summer with the knowledge that Sjax needed to go and didn't act on it when time was on their side.

It's a classic Pacer problem... We don't act until we are forced to. We are continually in a reactive mode.

This thread should be interesting. Maybe it'll shake me out of my shell to participate properly instead of just a few lines here and there.

-Bball

grace
08-02-2007, 01:41 PM
That's just it, I'm not asking what Donnie and Larry will do or what have you. I'm speaking in general; hypothetically.

Off the top of my head I'd say draft players who have played for good programs with no nonsense coaches. If your team already has a coach you believe in get rid of the players that don't fit his system.

Naptown_Seth
08-02-2007, 02:07 PM
That sounds like a good idea.
Here's what I've got so far, I made an XL of every team and their wins per year from last season (06-07) to the 95-96 season. I prorated the strike year to an 82 game season.

"Mediocre" is 37-45 wins, a 4 win swing around .500

Contender is 52+ wins, winning a title (no non 52 win team did this in this period, the Rockets in 94-95 are the only team to pull it off in the last 30 years at least I think), or making it to the conference finals. One note here, the only West team to make the conference finals without 52 wins from 99 till now is Utah last year (51). OTOH the East has a ton of them (including the finals Knicks with "44" wins). If you drop that to 49 wins then all but the 99 Knicks fall off the list. ie, regular season winning is a big factor in playoff success.


I haven't checked into how the good teams from 96-98 got that way because I'd have some more copy/paste to get some run-up years to analyze those. Then I'd need to check how those good teams from 93-95 got that way, and so on and so on...:)

Those teams in this "starter" window are - Bulls, Lakers (IIRC they did a modest retooling after Magic left but weren't "down" very long), Heat (good candidate for blah to contender, 1997), Phoenix (another team that jumped up, 1998), Spurs (Robinson, Elliot did that trick), Seattle, Utah.



Anyway for our list of strong teams from 2007 to 1999 (98-99) let's start with teams that have hit the wins/CF benchmark 2-3 times in this window:

Dallas
Detroit
Pacers (ending the Bird era)
Lakers
Heat (to start it and to end it)
Nets (the 2 Finals teams)
Knicks, on the ECF/Finals aspect only though
Phoenix
Portland (to start it)
Sacto
Spurs
Utah (to start it)

Let's look how they each did it (bold teams actually were stuck at mediocre first, not awful):

Dallas (bad previously) - they only had 1 average year, prior to this they flat-out sucked. It all changed in 2000-01 and they haven't looked back since. Note that in those bad years they squandered several high picks. Of course then they salvaged it all by trading their pick of Parks for Dirk and Garrity, as well as then dealing Garrity, Bubba Wells, Muresap, and the 99 first round pick (Marion) for Nash. They still sucked the next season.

Same coach, same key players (Dirk, Nash, Finley) just flat-out raised their games each year and went from 31 wins to 40 wins to 53 wins to 57 and 60. No other great picks or monster additions to the team, no coaching change.

Detroit - they never really were stuck at average, they were slightly above, then fell to bad in 2 years, Rick joined and they went back to slightly above again and then the ECF. Obviously built on deals for Rip, Billups and Ben. VERY DIFFICULT model to repeat, nothing suggested those 3 would lead a team to a title.

One key though is that they really didn't draft/FA their way out of their issues, they traded and coached their way out.

Pacers - Rik high pick, some good mid-round drafting, coaching change (twice), some smart trading (Herb for Det) and some tweek FA signings. Similar pattern had the brawl version back on top.

Lakers (good previously) - came in riding high, have yet to escape mediocrity recently

Heat (2 of 3 years bad) - came in as winner due to jump prior to this window, turned bad for 2 years, then average, then traded for Shaq. Pick of Wade plus Shaq deal did it all it seems, though Riley as coach had an impact now and originally.

Nets (previously bad) - almost here on a technicality of the poor East, their 2 good years were really just above average seasons and didn't come after medium years but rather 3 horrible seasons. There were 2 keys - traded Marbury for Kidd, already had Byron Scott as coach. Had Martin from a high pick also but he and Scott were there when the team stlll sucked.

BTW, they bailed on Scott, Frank "turned it around" and they never saw the Finals again. Of course many people think Kidd forced that coaching change.

Knicks (above average, also didn't really get "good") - they did have a retool where they picked up Spreewell on the cheap due to his circumstances, brought in Larry Johnson as well. Still I don't see the late-90s version as an improvement on where they'd been, more like the last gasps before total failure.

Phoenix (first time, 2nd time around was more awful to great instead) - were bland mid-90s, post Barkley run. Jumped up in 98, dipped a bit in 99 then back on it for a few more years. Then they turned to mostly bad for 3 years. For the Barkley/Johnson/Majerle transition they did all sorts of dealing, bringing in Kidd, Cliff Robinson, Dice for 1 year, Rex Chapman as their leading scorer in 98 (what???). Marion was drafted during this period but he wasn't a main guy yet. Nash was an afterthought still. This is a weird "fix", a hoge-poge of guys that makes the Pistons moves look obvious. It worked for awhile but they kept adjusting.

Then they moved Kidd and hit the skids. Despite having D'Antoni, Marion and Amare the Suns were still floundering until Mr. MVP was returned via FA.

Portland - they did have to adjust to the post-Drexler years, and had 5 years that were mostly blah, with slight improvement in the middle. The big jump came in 98-99. Their true window only lasted 2-3 years though and fell apart for reasons not unlike the Pacers. They got Sheed (was that for Strickland?) from WSH. Finally got Sabonis (who was drafted a couple of times before coming over from Europe). I think they lost Cliff Robinson to FA in the middle of this (when he went to PHX). Kenny Anderson came on board, Stoudamire, and eventually vets Steve Smith, Detlef and Pippen, which to me was a bit desperate, oh and a deal to get Dale Davis of course. Even Kemp joined them.

Isiah Rider also was the key guy in these big years, maybe not unlike Ron Artest and Indy (wins but at what cost). Bonzi as well.

IMO, Portland hit the end of their window, where all the vets were done, and despite getting guys like Zach and Derek Anderson they lost too much without the vet presence. So they also bought out Sheed and went into rebuild mode. It's been 3 years of some of the worst ball in the NBA, but they did get Oden out of it eventually. If they get good in the next few years it will be an example of tank to win, not escaping mediocrity. But to start the decade they did pull of that average to contender transition.


Sacto - they went from a few awful years to a few average years to elite, a pretty good example of a build. Drafted Peja but had to wait on him to come over. Lost enough to draft Jason Williams, at the same time went and got Webber and Divac, had Peja join that year too, and got much better in a hurry. Did they deal Mitch to get Webber? I can't recall which deals were which.

The other big move was hiring Aldeman to go along with those acquisitions.

Then to take it to the next level they added Bibby, Bobby Jackson, Christie, and drafted Hedo.

I need to research the details of all these deals since I can't remember which was which now, who was truly an FA, who was traded, what draft rights might have been dealt. But bottom line, this is a classic example of what this discussion is about.


Spurs (always good) - they sucked for several years, enough to get Robinson and Sean Elliot, partly thanks to David's time in the navy that let them suck enough to get the high Elliot pick. They rolled with those 2, then tanked one year without David, got Duncan, end of story. Credit for some saavy drafting of Parker and Ginobili, but this team never floundered at average. Mostly they got 2 of the 4 best bigs in the last 20 years by being one of the worst teams at just the right time.

Utah - originally they were ending a long run of success, not coming out of mediocrity. Last season showed a ton of promise and does follow a ton of blah seasons (and 1 horrible one). They kept the proven coach in place, rode out 5 straight years of unimpressive results, drafted smart where they could, brought in Boozer and Okur, got the high pick for Deron in their one bad year. Somewhat of an FA/draft team build.



Coaching change can help, but Nelson and Sloan went from bad to good over a period of years so sticking with a proven winner isn't a bad idea. Signing a PG that appears to be just above average, getting plenty of minutes and is actually ready to break out in the right situation (Kidd, Nash) is big. A vet presence also seems to help, especially bigs like Webber, Divac, Sheed and Sabonis.

But to be honest, not a lot of teams have really gone from spinning their wheels to great, at least recently.


There is one truth I saw for sure - Marbury ruins teams. :D

NapTonius Monk
08-02-2007, 02:12 PM
It's probably not likely that you can go from zero to contender in 60 seconds. That's why I like the Laker deal if it goes through (the Bynum/Crittendon/Brown/1st rounder version). That sets the foundation for an up and coming roster that can still compete today, only with much more upside. In short, be willing to take a risk today for a big time payoff tomorrow. It puzzles me how some act like we're a cellar dwelling team. We were playing well until Daniels got hurt.

Naptown_Seth
08-02-2007, 02:15 PM
Here's a point I disagree with. It wasn't a 'rush' at all. At least not in the classic sense of the word. Maybe it became a 'rush' (I'll concede that point) BUT it only became a 'rush' once they wasted all summer with the knowledge that Sjax needed to go and didn't act on it when time was on their side.

It's a classic Pacer problem... We don't act until we are forced to. We are continually in a reactive mode.

This thread should be interesting. Maybe it'll shake me out of my shell to participate properly instead of just a few lines here and there.

-Bball
But the thing is they weren't forced to, that's what made it a terrible move. They already dug in and rode it out, they didn't react in NOV or even DEC. They committed to dealing with it, then lost their convictions and/or vision and bailed out in a rush, well before the actual trade deadline. That deal was right in no-man's land, too late to curb fan outrage, too soon to make the most of the positives (like Jack's lower contract, teams sweating the trade deadline, the upcoming draft, or the general summer marketplace).

Jack gets past his court thing, that's now a known quantity. Al's just shot 40+ from 3, the team wouldn't have been worse it would appear based on prior results, and the contract situation would have been a little better.

If Dun and Troy are SOLUTIONS, then okay, but clearly they weren't. They weren't what the team needed to get better, so why go after them? Why then of all times? I think the Pacers would have had first round playoff games, given the Hawks a lesser pick, and would be in a better position to deal at this point. Jackson/JO for the Bynum/Odom/#19 package, probably more likely than putting Dun in there. Harrington for L Head, maybe the 26 pick too? Possible.

Those guys had more trade value than the parts they were traded for. Great, Ike, but if you move Jack/JO you get Bynum instead, and Kwame's contract perhaps.

IMO they didn't think big picture, long-term picture, they suddenly, unexplainably started feeling the heat of the boos, despite the fact that those boos weren't new to the situation and didn't really go away when the team kept losing (just ask Tinsley). It's not like that ended the bar fight stories is it?

Naptown_Seth
08-02-2007, 02:36 PM
Now a follow-up to the previous analysis since no one wants to hear more about the botched GS deal.


How about teams that have been at average for a few years out of a window of 5-6, here's the list...

Boston, though really they have been more awful than anything, there one good year being 49 wins and the ECF in a weak East.

Denver - only the horrible seasons break up their run of blah.

Golden State - at least they don't suck completely like they did from 95 (at least) to 01-02. But they've been bad a lot more than average.

Hornets - 5 of 9 blah, 3 above average, 1 horrible year that got them Chris Paul (and back to blah)

Houston - though getting Yao from a bad season may yet pull them totally out of this. They do have 2 50 win seasons in the last 3, on the cusp of contender now.

Pacers - of course, with the Ron/JO years in the middle of it all that could have been 3 straight Finals appearances if not for...Ron. One of the few teams to truly escape regular mediocrity.

Clippers - when they don't suck they're average :)

Millwaukee - the poster child for meh, 5 of the last 8 seasons

Orlando - if you throw in 2 36 win seasons you have 6 of the last 7 as Joe Six Pack, they did lose enough to get Dwight though.

Philly - after the Finals run it was 3 of 5 bland years and 2 more bad ones. Good news Denver, AI's there to help do what he did in Philly the last 5 years...

Seattle - actually ran off 6 straight bland years before jumping to contender for 1 year, then Coach Nate left to join Portland and both teams ended up sucking. :) Of course in the end it's given both teams a stud draft pick, but it took several years of horrible, horrible ball to get there.

Toronto - had a run of 3 of 4 average years, then tanked. After 4 straight brutal seasons they showed signs of life this year. Still sub-contender at this point

Utah - like Indy, one of the few to escape an extended period of average, but only if they can make good on this season next year.

Washington - I may have given out the poster child award too soon, the Wiz have 5 of the last 6 as also-rans. And of the last 12 seasons 8 were around the .500 mark.



So from the perspective of what have the truly average teams done to escape it the answer mostly is "they haven't". Not the news you or I wanted to hear Mal. I'm going to have to forget the numbers I've looked at much like I'm trying to pretend FEB-APR didn't happen. My sunshine is taking a beating from all this.

Hicks
08-02-2007, 04:46 PM
Dallas (bad previously) - they only had 1 average year, prior to this they flat-out sucked. It all changed in 2000-01 and they haven't looked back since. Note that in those bad years they squandered several high picks. Of course then they salvaged it all by trading their pick of Parks for Dirk and Garrity, as well as then dealing Garrity, Bubba Wells, Muresap, and the 99 first round pick (Marion) for Nash. They still sucked the next season.

Same coach, same key players (Dirk, Nash, Finley) just flat-out raised their games each year and went from 31 wins to 40 wins to 53 wins to 57 and 60. No other great picks or monster additions to the team, no coaching change.

Hold on, I don't buy that it was that simple as "the big 3 raised their games along with Nellie". Who were the roleplayers each of those years? Those guys matter.



Detroit - they never really were stuck at average, they were slightly above, then fell to bad in 2 years, Rick joined and they went back to slightly above again and then the ECF. Obviously built on deals for Rip, Billups and Ben. VERY DIFFICULT model to repeat, nothing suggested those 3 would lead a team to a title.

One key though is that they really didn't draft/FA their way out of their issues, they traded and coached their way out.

Well one thing to remember is that Billups + Hamilton + Ben DIDN'T lead them to the title. Only adding Rasheed ON TOP of all that did it, and even then they didn't repeat with the same group. Not saying it to knock them, just to point out that it took a lot of "stars aligning", if you will, to get to that result. Good for them; I'm just saying it's even more difficult to emulate that formula than even you already stated. Incredibly difficult.

Unfortunately, what I'm seeing here is teams that WERE bad before getting up the ladder again. In other words, where are teams that went Good, Mediocre, then Good again? Has that happened? It seems with all of these examples (nice work, btw) they all were bad at least one year, before getting back to mediocre and then good, or straight from bad to good.

It's all making me feel like the Pacers' front office is fooling themselves into continuously patching this team... not unlike the New York Knicks. And we all know how that's worked for them. :puke: That was with an "unlimited" bank account to spend on players, too.

I need a drink.

Naptown_Seth
08-02-2007, 05:09 PM
Hold on, I don't buy that it was that simple as "the big 3 raised their games along with Nellie". Who were the roleplayers each of those years? Those guys matter.Go take a look for yourself. I didn't see any specific changes that I thought "oh, that's probably it". I'm not trying to win something here, I'm sure I left out plenty of keys because I'm using stats to see who was on what roster and pairing it with some memory. Just like I don't recall details of many roster moves (trade vs FA).

If you go look at those Dallas rosters from year to year and say "see, this year they added Player X and he made all the difference" then by all means do so. Nothing stood out to me, it really looked like those 4 (Nellie/players) just improved and came together as a team.


Mal, with Detroit you must credit them as a 50 win ECF team first, and that was prior to Larry and prior to Sheed. You win 50 and go to the ECF you are a contender, period. It's not a jump to win a couple more games and then progress to the Finals. Naturally I do agree that Sheed made the differnece, but then I mentioned him as a key figure in my summary. :D

If the Pacers could get Sheed and somehow get the Pistons to take Marbury I think it could all come together for them. :)


Maybe you responded before seeing my 2nd post, the version where I pulled the teams that were mediocre the most. At the end of that I admitted it didn't look good.

Honestly the tanks didn't fare much better. If you tanked at just the right time and got just the right player then sure, but plenty of teams have wasted elite picks year after year. Someone mentioned the Bulls. And they have 52+ wins and/or an ECF when exactly? They aren't "rebuilt", not to true contender status, not yet.



Coaching changes and smart trades were most common, followed by an FA signing, and then the draft. At least IMO.

But notice also that the Pacers are one of the few teams that really didnt' have to suck to get back above 52 wins or into the CF. People have flipped out post-brawl and totally discounted what that team was, which is honestly unfair. That team may have imploded a lot like Portland did, but it did get there. And unlike Portland they didn't really fall apart right away.


For me the baseline is .500 with Indy, with the ECF the standard high water area. VERY FEW teams play on those terms. Most see the CF as a big breakthrough and few 30 wins as a possible reality if things go wrong (injury to your star, massive suspensions, etc).

So yes the bad news is that it's tough to get out of medium, but the good news that if any team can do it it's the Pacers (or Utah). Plane Jane smart moves is the key, don't flip out, don't force the situation.

speakout4
08-02-2007, 06:57 PM
Unfortunately, what I'm seeing here is teams that WERE bad before getting up the ladder again. In other words, where are teams that went Good, Mediocre, then Good again? Has that happened? It seems with all of these examples (nice work, btw) they all were bad at least one year, before getting back to mediocre and then good, or straight from bad to good.
.
I don't know how you get players like Oden or Durant unless you really stink for at least one season. Of course it takes a number of years to build a good team but if portland doesn't become the next really great team it will probably be the fault of the TPTB and not the players. Ingredients: good players, PTB that understand how to shape a team and chemistry. I believe that Larry Brown always understood that he couldn't bring a team further without better players so he took off. Good mangement can only bring a team so far. Players want to go to high profile big market teams where until very recently they would get bigger paychecks (before luxury tax). Is it coincindental that LA, Chicago, and Boston have the largest number of championships?

SamBear
08-02-2007, 10:11 PM
Getting a new management team might be a good place to start.

That's exactly what the Pacer's need to do... or they need to call Pop and RC and find out why they are so successful in scouting for players, foreign and domestic. :cool:

The front office never turns anyone down when they ask them for advice...

beast23
08-02-2007, 10:26 PM
If you look at the 1998-1999 team, the Pacers probably had more valuable trading assets on their roster than any other team in the league. Following that season, we traded Antonio for a pick that became Bender.

After the 1999-2000 season, we lost Jackson and Smits, and traded Dale for Jermaine. Afterwards, Reggie began to defer to other players on the team.

Once we traded Jalen to the Bulls, we once again had a signficant number of tradeable assets on our roster. All we had to do was find the trades that were best for us and get them done.

Unfortunately, things imploded with the brawl. Artest became difficult to trade for equal value, Miller was traded for much less value and Mercer was gone.

Once Artest was traded, once again we found ourselves with a shortage of tradeable assets. There seemed to be no more interest in trading Tinsley and Jackson and there probably were very few inquiries from other teams in obtaining them.

And, that's where we are today. We have very few assets that will return us anything of value in return. It seems as though we either part with Jermaine to get the players we need, or we package our best young prospect, Danny, to get a really good player to go along with Jermaine.

Moving forward, I think our best hope for the immediate future is to either get lucky in the draft, or to grow tradeable assets within our own team. And that means the continued development of Danny, Ike and Shawn.

If these guys don't pan out, then we are looking at a longer term project that will most certainly include the trading of Jermaine.