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View Full Version : A re-examination of the past, and a looming conflict in the future in our Pacer organization



thunderbird1245
07-04-2008, 12:37 PM
Good afternoon, and Happy 4th of July to you all!

Today I want to write about our Pacers new direction, and some potential problems and conflicts that are looming on the horizon I believe between our Pacers front office and our current head coach. Looking closely, I can see storm clouds starting to gather.....particularly when you look at the specifics of the draft moves we made on June 26th.

The debate will rage on forever in the minds of Pacer fans whether trading Jerryd Bayless for the package including Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack was a wise course of action or not. Some say it was a bad idea to pass on a player with the potential all star abilities of Bayless to instead take the "safer" pick of Brandon Rush, a player who is likely more mature and ready to play from "day one", as a certain ex Presidential candidate was fond of saying. Others believe that the Pacers made the right choice, taking a player that more closely resembles a more traditional player to fit a specific role....a player easier to "fit" into an entire team structure of play. In effect taking a player very sure to be "good" over a player with a 50/50 chance of being great or a bust. Arguments can be made either way, and in reality there is no right or wrong answer......it simply depends on too many other factors yet to be determined.

In selecting Rush, the Pacers selected a player who I projected in my draft profile of him to be a likely all first team NBA rookie team player next year. Rush has excellent specific skills, appropriate size for his position, and seems like a man very ready emotionally and maturity wise for his leap into the NBA. Most people agree with that analysis, as Rush was a popular player before the draft among many NBA analysts as a draftee likely to help his team immediately next season.

In Rush, the Pacers took a player to pair along with Roy Hibbert whom they drafted at #17. Hibbert and Rush were in many ways made to play with each other. Hibbert, and excellent passer and very good screener, playing with Rush, a fine player coming off screens who can catch and shoot as well as any player available. Defensively, Hibbert can hold his own inside with his great size and strength, and Rush's awesome lateral quickness and defensive skill one on one will somewhat eliminate the need for Hibbert to be asked to help as much on the perimeter. These 2 players GO TOGETHER well, and it is clear that Larry Bird recognized that, and orchestrated his draft night and overall offseason plan to find players who both "fit" and "compliment" the long term vision and roster plan he has for our franchise. Rightly or wrongly, the Pacers front office can no longer be accused of not having a clear plan or direction. By selecting these 2 specific players to fill the roles they seemed destined to fill, the Pacers seem to clearly be building a more defensive oriented, half court playing, "set position" roster. Players who are "athletic" hybrids who can play multiple positions and do a variety of things seem to be now a thing of the past, having been taking out of Conseco Fieldhouse with the moving vans that escorted Donnie Walsh out of the building.

However, I also wrote in my draft thread about Brandon Rush that, as high on him as I was and as potentially good as I thought he might become, that he was a bad fit for our team because I didnt think he was a good fir for the offensive system that Jim O'Brien runs. Because of that, I was fairly certain that the Pacers should and would pass on Rush on draft night. I was wrong about the Pacers not selecting Rush, but I don't think I was wrong about him not really having the type of skill set that Jim O'Brien could use in the most efficient way. I am positive that Larry Bird knows that a "catch and shoot", fine individual defender in Rush, and a slower center who isn't a great offensive post up threat to score in Hibbert, isnt exactly the prototype Jim O'Brien has in mind for those positions in his system, yet he chose them anyway. What does that tell us?

I think the moves we are making since Larry Bird officially took over can tell us many things, some obvious and some not, about where this franchise has been in the past, and where it is going in the future. Trying to be a fortune teller for the next few years, and trying to recreate past events with a lack of information are both difficult tasks, but I think if we read between the lines we can logically come up with a list of conclusions:

1. I no longer believe SHAWNE WILLIAMS was truly Larry Bird's guy in the draft a few years ago.....that move has Donnie Walsh written all over it. Bird seems to value guys who are mature, established in their positions, who can help right away. Williams was the exact opposite of that prototype. However, he fits the Walsh type of player, (especially as Donnie grew older) a player who can play multiple spots with a large amount of "upside". Bird was forced to explain that pick on national TV, and to our fanbase, but my thought is looking back he did as he was told to do and nothing else.

2. We were told that Larry Bird hand picked Jim O'Brien as our coach last year after only discussing it on the TELEPHONE. Everyone one of us bought that story hook, line, and sinker.....but does it really make sense now that it happened that way? Larry Bird has a vision of building an old fashioned team in a conventional way, and yet hires a very unconventional coach with some radical ideas of how to play offense? In his first draft, Bird selects 2 players who seem to be fine prospects and ready made to help immediately, except he takes guys who really don't fit the way this coach plays the game from a strategic standpoint? That doesnt make sense to me either.

I think it might be more likely that Walsh wanted Jim O'Brien, and either forced Larry to hire him or talked him into it gently. Perhaps the phone call between Bird and O'Brien that led to his hiring was more of Bird just getting to know him a little, before throwing his hands up and telling Donnie that he'd go along with his wishes one more time. Remember, Walsh is the same guy who made unconventional coaching hires in the past quite often.....Dick Versace, George Irvine, Bob Hill, an older Jack Ramsey, the risky Larry Brown, Isiah Thomas.....even Larry Bird himself at one time.

3. Bringing back Al Harrington. We were told at the time that Bird wanted Harrington back to pair with Jermaine O'Neal. Does it sound like a Lary Bird move to you in retrospect? Bringing back an undersized "hybrid" forward with a questionable attitude but lots of skill.......doesn't that sound more like Donnie Walsh, especially when you look back at it through the lens of history?



Ok, so now here we are, in the summer of 2008. The Pacers have a vision, and a clear idea and plan moving forward. The Pacer franchise all seems to be singing from the same songsheet in their public pronouncements.....but does it make sense in reality, espcially when it comes to Jim O'Brien? What does this mean for the future?

Look at it logically:

1. Rush is a superior shooter coming off screens along the baseline, and Hibbert was one of the best screen setters in the draft. But, our head coach prefers spacing and one on one play off the dribble instead of setting multiple screens for shooters.

2. Our head coach likes a 4 out 1 in system for offense, which requires players who can play multiple positions and also requires a true low post scorer. Yet, the Pacers pass on a multiple position "hybrid" guard in Bayless. The Pacers pick a slower "true center" in Hibbert whose strength as a player is not being a legitimate post scorer, and pass on picking a kid like Darrell Arthur, who could be a perfect "3/4" combination forward in the O'Brien scheme.

3. Our head coach has a defensive scheme that requires his "bigs" to be mobile in hedging screen/roll situations and to rotate more than most teams demand, requiring quickness and flexibility. Instead, we draft Roy Hibbert, who will be a fine NBA center but certainly doesn't have those particular skills.

In summary, Bird has acquired players who compliment each other perfectly (Ford/Jack and Rush/Hibbert), but who do not fit in with the coaching strengths of Jim O'Brien, at least as I see it now. All this talk about everybody being on the same page left out one ingredient: the actual head coach!

So far, Jim O'Brien has by all counts played the good soldier, and I assume that he will continue to do so. But his bosses have made it clear that these players are all expected to help immediately this season, in spite of the fact that they don't "fit in" as well as everyone has been led to believe. Combine that with the fact that Jerryd Bayless fell into an IDEAL spot for his talents in Portland, and the pressure on Jim O'Brien to succeed immediately will be ramped up to almost impossible levels come December 2008.

The problem for us is that Jim O'Brien has never shown any ability to adapt his style at all. He is a "true believer" in what he is teaching, and would likely play the same way regardless of the personnel he has. That stubbornness and dogged confidence to teach the game as he sees it purely is both his strength and weakness as an NBA coach.

Like every rebuilding job, there is often some snags along the way. I think it is obvious that our head coach and our front office do not see the game and building a team the same way, regardless of any public pronouncements to the contrary. A big question mark in all of this is will the Simons allow Bird to fire O'Brien, considering he is owed quite a bit of cash, if we get off to a slow start? If not, there will likely be a lot of drama still going on in downtown Indianapolis this winter, and the summertime optimism we all feel right now will be down the drain, lost to competing and contradicting visions of the game by 2 head strong men.

I see no way this ends well for Jim O'Brien's tenure as head coach.....the only question is how it all plays out leading up to his ouster, which is sure to happen now I believe. The question only is : "What will the lack of cohesion between our coaching staff and front office cost us as fans and as a franchise?"

It is this disconnect I see that has the storm clouds looming this season, and has me worried that next few months arent going to be as positive and productive as we all hope.


As always, the above is just my opinion.

Tbird

Noodle
07-04-2008, 01:12 PM
I'll try to keep this short and sweet. Job plays the pick and roll a ton for players to get shots. Don't know what you are talking about. JOb's offense is what I call structured freelance, it involves many styles. The players we had last year dictated the way we played. Last year this team was so bad defensively that we wouldn't be caught dead playing half court basketball. At times last year we tried slowing it down a bit and got smoked every time. I've said many times since the draft, we are trying to become a versatile team. We will be able slow it down at times with perimeter defenders in Rush and Jack. Post defenders in Foster and Hibbert. When I watch Pacer's games I see much knowledge in the way JOb coaches the game, he will adjust. Many seem to think this guy doesn't have a clue, I guess that is why he's coaching and were posting.

Infinite MAN_force
07-04-2008, 01:19 PM
It seems like Hibbert could fill the Post Presence role quite well for JOB. With his size and offensive skills, he should be able to draw a double team in most situations, and his passing is superb.

I don't know really I guess. Have to see how it all plays out.

To really examine this, I think you have to look at how he coached his former teams. Was the offensive system he ran in Boston identical to the one he ran last year? We all know he likes the three pointer, but as far as pick and roll offense, or whether to play up-tempo or halfcourt? How did Boston run things.

I know JOB loved paul pierce, and I have heard that Rush has a similar game, so I am not sure how he will be a bad fit.

Taterhead
07-04-2008, 01:28 PM
I don't know if I buy this idea that Donnie was still making all the decisions. I think the O'brien hiring was an attempt to bring fans back with a more up tempo run and gun style of play.

As far as Rush, he can play 2 positions. I think they view a Granger-Dunleavy-Rush trio on the wing provides them with 3 players who are interchangable on the wing. He can also shoot the three which we all know O'brien loves. So I think he actually fits that mold. Hibbert is, IMO, a desperate attempt to give them a half court defensive presence since we dealt our only one away . I mean of all the big guys available at the time of our pick, none had much defensive potential, except maybe Hibbert. Sure Hibbert has other skills, however, Bird spoke of his defensive ability before the draft. And I think they hope Hibbert can develop into a good rebounder and use his passing ability to ignite the break ala Kevin Love, plus give them a descent low post option in half court and a big defender to protect the basket. So in a lot of ways, I think they think, Hibbert could develop into the perfect center for the system. They don't need a center to run as much as provide them with a focal point to run offense through when the game gets slowed down to a crawl in the playoffs.

Jose Slaughter
07-04-2008, 01:40 PM
So T-bird, in short I think you're saying that Bird might be looking to replace the coach after 3 years.

Bird did mention that O'Brien was the right coach for "this team" when he was hired. Bird is now in a position to change the team to his liking, more than likely that would require a coach to change his system or a new coach.

My guess is we get a new coach. These things tend to happen from time to time in the NBA. I don't view it as a major problem, just the team evolving into a contender again.

ChicagoPacer
07-04-2008, 01:53 PM
TBird,
Good post. As always.

A few things to consider w/ the Bird/O'Brien/Player dynamic.

-Consider what Bird said he wanted to do when he was coaching the team. He said he wanted to increase the tempo and get out in transition. He wanted play a style of ball that was more prevalent in the 80s. He didn't do it around 98 as much as he said he would, but I think that's because of the age of our roster then and that he was hesitant to tinker too much considering we were one of the top 4 teams in the league. O'Brien certainly coaches an unconventional offensive style for today, but when you look at the tempo we played at last year, it definitely had the markings of a 1980s-style transition/shoot the open mid-range/perimter shot ballclub.

-Consider the needs of the system vs. the patience and maturity required to play for O'Brien. JOB doesn't take crap from players. He's a no nonsense kind of guy. Bayless fits his system better as a player, but I'm not so sure that isn't overshadowed by the fact that Rush fits the system better from an attitude standpoint. If the Pacers determined that Bayless didn't have the maturity to buy into the system, what was the use of having him on the roster?

-Consider what Bird said about the tenure of coaches and how players tend to tune guys out after 3 years or so. I don't think O'Brien will be around in 4 years, because I think Bird will replace him after 3 to 4 full seasons. O'Brien seems like a guy who would understand this. From his standpoint, if he knew Bayless wouldn't have the maturity to fit the system until JOB was on his way out, would O'Brien want him or need him?

-Hibbert isn't the ideal fit at a big man, and I 100% agree that he doesn't fit the system to a T. I think the pick here was made more with a general need in mind rather than a system need. Keep in mind however that the first thing out of Bird's mouth was that they ran him through pick and roll tests and were satisfied with his ability to defend the play adequately. It was pretty clear we needed some bodies inside, and I can't remember the last time a guy of his size, experience, and skill set fell to 17. Consider the mid-80s Celtics as Bird's idea of a model. It's pretty clear that we aren't even approaching their talent level, but they got out in transition with certain players playing certain roles. Neither Parish nor McHale were the most mobile guys by this time, but they were better than average passers with soft hands and post moves. Hibbert is by no means even a poor man's McHale when it comes to post moves, but he fits the bill as well as anyone available at 17 in this draft. If we could pull a trade for a better fit using a combination of picks and players, I think we would have. We just have the necessary trade bait at this point.

The end result of all of this is some compromise between O'Brien's style and the team on the court, but from a career standpoint, I think O'Brien is on board. Last year O'Brien's hands were tied. This year, we will improve, but still get another good pick in the draft while continuing to weed out the bad apples. By O'Brien's fourth (and probably final) season, I can see us being a pretty solid 4 to 6 seed in the East, O'Brien and the Pacers parting ways, and O'Brien parlaying his improved coaching stock into another gig.

PR07
07-04-2008, 02:12 PM
I don't see O'Brien as the coach to take us to the next level anyways. He's more of a transition coach that Bird hired because he's a veteran and has the schemes to win more games than he should with a young roster. An uptempo system can exploit the average young team's strength's: speed, athleticism, while it can sometimes hide their weaknesses, like lack of defensive saavy. Also, in the regular season, you can get a lot of teams to play to your style when you go uptempo, which can help win more games. In the playoffs, this typically doesn't happen.

Bird said he doesn't like a coach to stay past like 4 years anyways, so I don't see O'Brien sticking around when this thing starts getting really good.

CapnBruisin
07-04-2008, 02:17 PM
I never thought O'Brien was going to be a long term solution as our head coach.

I don't know if I quite buy into the theories your laying out but I do beleive Bird is not going to let his current coaches system dictate how he builds the team.

PaceBalls
07-04-2008, 02:24 PM
You are correct with our draft picks not neccesarily being optimal for J'Obs offense. They seem like they would do very well under Rick, especially the late 90s offense that he had.

But, let's not forget TJ Ford, who is absolutely perfect for J'OBs offense.

I think it is smart not to pick players based on the coach or even based on building around another player (JO). It is good to leave your team the ability to play multiple styles.

CableKC
07-04-2008, 02:43 PM
Wow...interesting read if not speculation. I will have to digest this for awhile.

indyman37
07-04-2008, 02:50 PM
I say Bird pulls double duty. He should remain president of basketball operations and become our head coach. :D

Gamble1
07-04-2008, 03:15 PM
Good afternoon, and Happy 4th of July to you all!

Today I want to write about our Pacers new direction, and some potential problems and conflicts that are looming on the horizon I believe between our Pacers front office and our current head coach. Looking closely, I can see storm clouds starting to gather.....particularly when you look at the specifics of the draft moves we made on June 26th.


Tbird

I disagree and here is why.

1. I believe the hiring of JOB was not only to entice fans back but a Bird type of coach. What I mean by that is that JOB is not a Rick Charisle who took crap from players. Bird in my eyes wanted a discplinarian.

2. I am not even going to try to agrue with you on bball formations but I will say that JOB has taken nonathletic and not very diverse players to new heights. The player I have in mind is M. Dun who in my opinion is not ideal for JOBS system. Rush's limitations are similar to M. Dunleavys in my eyes. He can't create and he is a limited ballhandler. JOB has shown that he can work with less than ideal players and be successful.

3. You might be right that JOB time is limited but I doubt it will be a nasty storm between the two. The Pacers basically resurrected JOB's career and he in turn gave the pacers some much needed accountability. My question is this. Who is availiable that would do a better job in your opinion.

Finally JOB won't be let go if we make the playoffs next year and atleast show promise. Given what happened this season I believe he can take T.Ford, M. Dun. Granger, Nesto,
Murphy and our bench to the playoffs.

ABADays
07-04-2008, 04:40 PM
Consider the mid-80s Celtics as Bird's idea of a model. It's pretty clear that we aren't even approaching their talent level, but they got out in transition with certain players playing certain roles. Neither Parish nor McHale were the most mobile guys by this time, but they were better than average passers with soft hands and post moves. Hibbert is by no means even a poor man's McHale when it comes to post moves, but he fits the bill as well as anyone available at 17 in this draft. If we could pull a trade for a better fit using a combination of picks and players, I think we would have. We just have the necessary trade bait at this point.

This exactly what I was talking about on another thread. Bird has the "Boston puzzle or Boston equation" on his mind. There is no doubt in my mind this is the formula he is going to utilize in building HIS team. Of course he's not going to get McHale or Parrish type pieces right off the bat but I think he is lokking at the attributes of each position when he was playing and taking the best available player to fill those spots. It will take some time and some fine tuning but he knows what he wants. If the coach wants to go along with it - fine. But I truly think he knows how to build a championship team and has been handcuffed.

As far as JOB. I wasn't crazy about the hire. I think we settled on a lower tier candidate who was willing to take the job. We weren't going to get anyone more high profile.

I'm looking forward to this playing out because I think I understand the vision and that vision will take a little patience. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong but I don't think I am.

LoneGranger33
07-04-2008, 04:58 PM
Never liked JO'B as a coach, won't be upset to see him leave.

Anthem
07-04-2008, 06:53 PM
Hmm... only breezed through this; will come back in a bit and do a more thorough reading.

But part of what you said, if I'm remembering correctly, was that Rush wouldn't be a good fit next to Tinsley. You said he'd be best next to a quick slashing PG. That sounds a lot like TJ Ford.

Am I wrong about this?

count55
07-04-2008, 07:25 PM
Like many others here, I have always believed that there was some planned obsolescence in Obie's career here. In the transition period, he would put a more entertaining product on the floor and bring some discipline to the locker room. However, the system itself had limitations that we've all discussed ad nauseum.

For those reasons, I agree with your position that we are starting to see the moves that will eventually (next summer or the summer after) lead to us parting ways with Jim O'Brien. I'm not entirely convinced it will be a stormy divorce, but I do think Jim's shelf life will not exceed two more seasons here.

I also disagree to varying degrees about the decisions you attribute to Walsh vs. Bird. I think Walsh may have carried a heavy influence, but I still think it's possible, if not likely, that Williams and O'Brien were Bird's decisions. The results with Williams (and, by extension, James White) may have left Bird with a sour taste in his mouth, moving him back to a more traditional model for franchise building. (Plus, I think the moves over the last couple of weeks have caused me for the first time to believe that Bird may have had a significant hand in the Golden State deal, as well.)

Disagreements or no, this, as with all of your stuff, has been a fantastic, informative, and thought provoking read. Love to see you put up new stuff. Thanks for putting in the time and care.

Kegboy
07-04-2008, 09:26 PM
Tbird, not you too?

I'm waiting for someone to say that Larry Bird didn't really smoke weed with John Mellencamp, it was Donnie Walsh all along.

Seriously, Larry Bird couldn't have possibly looked at Al, JB, JO, Jamaal, Ron, David, Jack, Quis, and Shawne and thought maybe possibly the organization would be better served drafting more mature players. It makes much more sense that Donnie had his hand up Larry's puppet *** for five years controlling his every move and telling him exactly what to say. Because Mr. "No-nonsense call it like I see it" certainly wouldn't have a problem with that. No sir.

:rollout:
:suicide4:

Kegboy
07-04-2008, 10:00 PM
This exactly what I was talking about on another thread. Bird has the "Boston puzzle or Boston equation" on his mind. There is no doubt this is the formula he is going to utilize in building HIS team.

Larry Bird would be the first to tell you that TJ Ford is no Dennis Johnson.

I think he would also be the first to say that you can't replicate that Celtics team. That team was built on incredible talent, 1-12, and structure was secondary.

Even if that were possible, I'd like to think there's more to Larry than that. While Phil Jackson learned lessons about team chemistry from Red Holtzman, he certainly has not gravitated to balanced teams like the 70's Knicks. John Paxson went the other way, trying to build balanced teams in Chicago, in direct opposition to the Jordan teams he played on. Pat Riley was with the Lakers organization for 20 years, didn't prevent him from coaching and putting together a number of vastly different teams.

The point I'm trying to make is even the intractable Larry Bird may just have the ability to lick his finger, stick it up in the air, judge which direction the wind is blowing, and attempt to change course accordingly.

ABADays
07-04-2008, 10:32 PM
Larry Bird would be the first to tell you that TJ Ford is no Dennis Johnson.

I think he would also be the first to say that you can't replicate that Celtics team. That team was built on incredible talent, 1-12, and structure was secondary.

Even if that were possible, I'd like to think there's more to Larry than that. While Phil Jackson learned lessons about team chemistry from Red Holtzman, he certainly has not gravitated to balanced teams like the 70's Knicks. John Paxson went the other way, trying to build balanced teams in Chicago, in direct opposition to the Jordan teams he played on. Pat Riley was with the Lakers organization for 20 years, didn't prevent him from coaching and putting together a number of vastly different teams.

The point I'm trying to make is even the intractable Larry Bird may just have the ability to lick his finger, stick it up in the air, judge which direction the wind is blowing, and attempt to change course accordingly.

I noticed an error in my post. It should have read there is no doubt in my mind - not there is no doubt.

And as tbird would say . . . just my opinion.

YoSoyIndy
07-04-2008, 11:08 PM
JOB was definitely all Bird.

TJ Ford, Jarrett Jack and Brandon Rush fit nicely into JOB's team.

Ford runs a great offense. Jack is a solid defender. Rush knows how to sneak into spots on the floor without being seen during fast breaks.

BlueNGold
07-04-2008, 11:14 PM
Whether JOb is a short term (1 or 2 more years or longer term (3-5 more years), Bird is not picking players to fit JOb's style necessarily. I think that much is clear. He is also not really focusing on a true rebuild from the foundation up. What he IS doing is attempting to return to the playoffs ASAP by plugging holes with safe, solid picks and conservative trades...all with the goal of cleaning up the team's image. IMO, cleaning up the image is a second priority only to a return to the playoffs.

So, bottom line is, I think Mickey Mouse could be coaching this team and the same picks would have been made...

ABADays
07-04-2008, 11:19 PM
I think cleaning up the image is the MAIN priority. He could have a couple of years to build the team. He's got NO TIME to clean up the image.

BlueNGold
07-04-2008, 11:25 PM
I think cleaning up the image is the MAIN priority. He could have a couple of years to build the team. He's got NO TIME to clean up the image.

This is a grey area. Now, I'm sure that keeping Jamaal Tinsley off the floor is more important to him than making the playoffs, but I don't think keeping Shawne Williams or Quis off the floor is more important. That is, some cleaning I will admit is more important than making the playoffs, but a full overhaul is not.

That's where the thin ice comes in. Williams is barely acceptable. Tinsley is not.

Ramitt
07-04-2008, 11:27 PM
JOB was definitely all Bird.



Oh really? who told you that Donnie or Larry? :rolleyes:

aceace
07-04-2008, 11:31 PM
I'm happy with the changes.. just to keep it simple. I would like to see a couple more, mainly no Tinsley, Quis or Williams.

Kegboy
07-04-2008, 11:34 PM
Oh really? who told you that Donnie or Larry? :rolleyes:

Larry.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/obrien_hired_070531.html


I got the right man for the right job.



"The direction I want to go," Bird said, "he's the guy that's going to get us there."

Big Smooth
07-04-2008, 11:35 PM
These posts are far too long tbird. I appreciate the fact that most folks enjoy your posts but at the same time, you seemingly cannot make a post that is not 15+ paragraphs. There is something to be said for the ability to summarize and post your thoughts in a succinct manner.

count55
07-04-2008, 11:50 PM
These posts are far too long tbird. I appreciate the fact that most folks enjoy your posts but at the same time, you seemingly cannot make a post that is not 15+ paragraphs. There is something to be said for the ability to summarize and post your thoughts in a succinct manner.


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BlueNGold
07-04-2008, 11:50 PM
Larry.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/obrien_hired_070531.html

This is pretty scary after what I consider to be a good set of personnel moves...that are not at all geared to JOb ball. Just another example of a flip-flop like going from no milk drinkers needed, to Sarunas all-world, to James White long, lean and athletic players, to dump punks for fat contracts, to only milk drinkers need apply. My head is just spinning...

If the moves (draft picks and JO trade) had been bad, it would have been consistent with most everything else that has been coming out of the brain trust. But this time, the moves were actually very good. Significant improvements in the team as well as the salary situation. Not gonna say genius, but pretty darn good.

I guess my main question is, is the brain trust learning how it should be done...or were they just lucky this time?

Kegboy
07-05-2008, 12:00 AM
Back to the idea that Larry didn't really want Shawne:

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/williams_white_060629.html


Larry Bird: (Opening statement) I can honestly say I'm very pleased and have a good feeling today.


Rick Carlisle: (Opening statement) I would like to echo that and say our scouting people did a great job not only of finding these guys, and Larry of coordinating the draft so we'd have a chance to get both of them.

I wish I could quote the first words out of Donnie's mouth, too, but he wasn't at the PC. :shrug:

And here's the first line from Conrad's draft night article.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/draft_060628.html


Larry Bird isn't really the excitable type, but he made little attempt to conceal his delight over what the Pacers were able to accomplish in the NBA Draft.

:eyebrow2:

BlueNGold
07-05-2008, 12:08 AM
Back to the idea that Larry didn't really want Shawne:

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/williams_white_060629.html





I wish I could quote the first words out of Donnie's mouth, too, but he wasn't at the PC. :shrug:

And here's the first line from Conrad's draft night article.

http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/draft_060628.html



:eyebrow2:

The draft that year was during the "long and lean" phase when we didn't consider character in our plans. The result was players like James White, Rawle Marshall and Shawne Williams. There's no question Larry was signed up for that plan IMHO.

Anthem
07-05-2008, 12:46 AM
Oh man, that brings back some bad memories.


"When you get down here and you talk to the press about your players you always say how great they are," Bird said. "But we're really excited about this, we really are. … We just can't believe what we did tonight. We're really proud of it."

...

"I'm really pleased with both our picks," Bird said. "James White, we had him very high on our board. We could've taken him at 17 just as easy. We're very happy we got both of them. I think you can see we're going more athletic now, longer guys. I can envision them guys being out there playing this year. As time goes on you'll see what I see in these players because they're very athletic and have a lot of talent. … To come away with these two guys, we've got to be very happy."

...

To obtain White, the Pacers traded their No. 45 pick, Florida State power forward Alexander Johnson, and two future second-round picks to Portland. The Blazers will receive Indiana's second-round pick in 2007 and the worst of two second-round picks in 2008; the Pacers own Phoenix's second-rounder that year from the James Jones trade.

"It's a bargain, believe me," Bird said. "You'll see that in the next few weeks."

Argh.


Bird shrugged off criticism of the Williams selection by ESPN analysts Jay Bilas and Greg Anthony, who both questioned his focus and commitment.

:whistle:

Anthem
07-05-2008, 12:49 AM
So, Tbird, while I respect you tons, I'm thinking retraction here.


1. I no longer believe SHAWNE WILLIAMS was truly Larry Bird's guy in the draft a few years ago.....that move has Donnie Walsh written all over it. Bird seems to value guys who are mature, established in their positions, who can help right away. Williams was the exact opposite of that prototype. However, he fits the Walsh type of player, (especially as Donnie grew older) a player who can play multiple spots with a large amount of "upside". Bird was forced to explain that pick on national TV, and to our fanbase, but my thought is looking back he did as he was told to do and nothing else.

thunderbird1245
07-05-2008, 08:03 AM
So, Tbird, while I respect you tons, I'm thinking retraction here.

No, there will be no retraction.

There is simply no way to tell what is actually the truth with these public statements, and what was simply positive propoganda Bird was feeding us, perhaps because he really believed it, or perhaps because he was simply told to do so by Donnie Walsh.

In writing this article, I reviewed some of the comments you guys are quoting too. I understand where you are coming from, and perhaps you are right and I am wrong...we will just never know for sure. One thing I think might be valuable for some of you to do is to actually watch the video of Bird saying all of this, and see if it really looks to you as if he believes what he is saying. I really dont think he did....I think he was just being a company man, trying to make his boss look good by supporting decisions that he himself wouldnt have made.

The interview on television after Bird selected Williams is one example of what I am talking about, and I watched it again before writing this. While I realize Larry is uncomfortable on television anyway, when watching that tape my conclusion at the time (and many other media people thought so too) was that the Pacers had missed who they truly wanted in that draft and were forced to settle on a player that they had rated lower. Bird's statements may read happy about that draft, but actually watch him delivering those quotes and you'll see where my thinking comes from. It appears as though Bird has just lost his dog in that interview.....he looks sad, and his enthusiasm looks completely false to me.

Of course, we will never know if I'm right or wrong, it is just interesting speculation at this time. Clearly, the elimination of the two headed monster is the most positive happening in our franchise in quite a while, as now there is no doubt who is in charge. Having one clear leader is always the best way to lead a big organization.....committees don't work.

It is also possible Larry just made mistakes back then, and has learned from them and adjusted accordingly. That was suggested earlier by a poster in this thread, and if that version is true it certainly wouldnt be the worst thing. That would show a lot about Larry's capacity to successfully do this job.

Kegboy
07-05-2008, 09:05 AM
Maybe we should get one of those people from Bill O'Reilly to read Larry's body language and tell us what he's really thinking. Silly me, I thought Larry Bird was above blatantly and repeatedly taking credit for what other's do. Here's a thought, if Donnie was pulling his strings, maybe he would use "we" instead of "I" time after time after time.

But enough about the past. Tbird, do you really think the two-headed monster is gone? With Simon, Morris, and Morway all with executive level responsibility, one could make the argument a hyrda has come up in it's place.

I can see it now, the next time Larry screws up:

- If it's misjudging talent, that's Morways fault, Larry should have gone with his gut, instead of listening to him and the scouts (even though Larry restaffed the scouting department long ago.)
- If we spend too much or too little, it's Simon's fault, because he's micro-managing the finances and won't let Larry do the right thing.
- If we reach on a milk drinker and get burned, it's Morris. PR shouldn't get in the way of constructing a basketball team.
- Almost forgot. If a player gets in trouble, that's Sam Perkins' fault. His only job is to keep these guys' noses clean, and he can't even do that.

Pacersfan46
07-05-2008, 09:16 AM
I completely understand Hibbert ... but how does Rush not fit what O'Brien does? He shoots the 3 well, and plays defense .... that's one hell of a start compared to the players we have had here. :)

-- Steve --

avoidingtheclowns
07-05-2008, 09:56 AM
to echo what some others have said...

SHAWNE WILLIAMS

if larry hasn't been working on the draft and just let donnie make that type of decision, what the hell has larry been doing (seeing as his main responsibility was the draft)?

i think more than body language, more than playing a good soldier -- the drafting of shawne williams has more to do with "different time, different state" for the pacers. yes the brawl had occured and artest had been shipped out. but
the sjax shooting
the quis/tinsley bar fight
the shawne traffic stop
tinsley being shot at
the sexual assault at quis' home
the murderer at shawne's housenone of that had happened yet and the seats weren't nearly as empty. when we drafted shawne we weren't making character the priority it is today. on top of that, at the time shawne was drafted we still had a fairly veteran team, we could take a chance on a guy that would take a few years to develop. i believe the same guy can draft different ways two years apart - i don't feel it is remotely obvious that donnie was responsible.

JIM O'BRIEN

i'm of the opinion that o'brien was a bird hire.

i also believe that he was the choice more for financial reasons than the ability to lead the pacers to a championship.

larry has never wanted to bottom-out, he wanted a culture change after carlisle -- stan van gundy fit that bill but clearly the money the pacers wanted to pay wasn't enough for him. jim o'brien fits that bill too at a much cheaper cost (which was important as the pacers were paying carlisle to be an analyst for ESPN.) bird wanted to get back into the playoffs and you don't do that by gambling on an unknown (like jim boylan or chuck person) you do that by going with a guy that has been to the playoffs (and in this case the ECF.)

i look at o'brien as a transition guy: someone that changes the culture of the team, before we bring a 'closer' coach in.

THE DRAFT / TRADES

you also make mention of o'brien wanting a legitimate post scorer and i think that is silly. when has he ever had or used a legitimate post offensive option? tony battie? mark blount? JO was the closest thing to a low-post option and he hasn't spent any significant time there for years. i think roy, while not as agile, is at least as competent a post-scorer as battie.

i also think that (while true bayless could have fit the o'brien offense better given his one-on-one skills) the fact that we didn't have a problem scoring as much as we had a problem not stopping the other team from scoring played more into the bayless/rush,jack trade. they're not ideal fits for o'brien's offense but they fit enough. jack and rush clearly improve our perimeter defense and rush is able to knock down a three pointer (obviously something valued by o'brien), jack can occasionally do the same. but i think the key was getting players that can fit into o'brien's defensive system.




as always, just my opinions about your opinions :D

Will Galen
07-05-2008, 12:44 PM
These posts are far too long tbird. I appreciate the fact that most folks enjoy your posts but at the same time, you seemingly cannot make a post that is not 15+ paragraphs. There is something to be said for the ability to summarize and post your thoughts in a succinct manner.

I really, really, really, disagree with you!!!!

The more a good poster like T-Bird writes the more I like it!

ABADays
07-05-2008, 12:51 PM
I really, really, really, disagree with you!!!!

The more a good poster like T-Bird writes the more I like it!

As do I.

Rajah Brown
07-05-2008, 01:22 PM
I'm too lazy to go back and re-read T-Bird's original post so he
may have already mentioned this. But with respect to Rush and
Jack, one way they'll presumably 'fit' what O'B wants to do is
be helping generate some offense via their perimeter defense.
Between those two and Ford out front, we should see more
(any might be more !) deflections and steals leading directly
to transition offense than we saw last year.

As for Hibbert, who knows. If nothing else, we can run a high
pick and pop with him and actually have a big capable of both
setting the pick and then hitting the shot. I've seen more than
enough of Foster out there setting that screen and then his
defender simply ignoring the shot option.

Putnam
07-05-2008, 01:24 PM
There is something to be said for the ability to summarize and post your thoughts in a succinct manner.

Big Smooth is right. Let's not ridicule him for saying this. But it's no knock on Thunderbird, either. Not everybody on this forum is a professional writer, and posts that are a little too long or even incoherent are part of the fun.

Thunderbird is not as succinct as he could be, but that's because he's a coach rather than a writer. He's got a lot to say. A few lengthy paragraphs is not too high a price to pay for his insights.


-----

Nevertheless, I think he's over-analyzed this issue.


.

Arcadian
07-05-2008, 02:07 PM
While I might be willing to give Larry a cleaner slate, I can't say he had nothing to do with the decisions made. I'm waiting to hear that Donnie was wearing a Bird mask when he posed with Ron on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

McKeyFan
07-05-2008, 02:27 PM
Generally I don't like a guy who talks all the time.

Unless he's very entertaining.

TBird's pretty darn interesting. We'll give him a pass.

YoSoyIndy
07-05-2008, 02:51 PM
Oh really? who told you that Donnie or Larry? :rolleyes:

Donnie said it back then and meant it.

Put it this way -- there have been two main decisions made that were Larry's when DW was still around: (1) Trade with GSW and (2) the hiring of JOB.

When Larry makes a move, he makes it quietly. Only he and Mullin knew about the GSW/IND trade until the last possible moment (aka approvals). It was the same with the JOB hiring.

Go back to both of these moments -- no one heard rumblings about the GSW trade until it went to the league for approval. No one heard rumblings about JOB until it was officially announced. In regards to JOB, everyone but JOB was rumored to be the next guy.

Naptown_Seth
07-05-2008, 03:12 PM
JOB had stop-gap written all over him from day one. I'm certain he will get his chance, but there are those coaches who ride out the rough years just in time to be dumped as the team comes together and the star coach is brought in. No doubt JOB came cheaper than Stan Van Gundy and would be less painful to dump after 2-3 years of rough rebuilding.


1. I no longer believe SHAWNE WILLIAMS was truly Larry Bird's guy in the draft a few years ago.....that move has Donnie Walsh written all over it. Bird seems to value guys who are mature, established in their positions, who can help right away. Williams was the exact opposite of that prototype. However, he fits the Walsh type of player, (especially as Donnie grew older) a player who can play multiple spots with a large amount of "upside". Bird was forced to explain that pick on national TV, and to our fanbase, but my thought is looking back he did as he was told to do and nothing else.I don't agree with this. It was apparently Bird who traveled to Memphis and saw them play early in the season, hooking into him right from the start. Shawne happened to have a hotter first half than second half that year anyway, which helps fuel this view as possible.

Bird as coach was when DW made moves for both Harrington and Bender. JO was not a multiple position kid, Tinsley wasn't either. I don't think Donnie was showing some signs of chasing young kids, that's happened mostly when both Bird and DW were together.

I think that NOW Bird has a new outlook on age. I think Shawne burned Larry with his immaturity and paired with Al/Bender and the overall team situation that Larry decided that he had to take a NEW approach and focus on mature players of high personal character.

Plus Larry had a team with 3 major flaws. No quality size with JO moved and David not signed (and even prior to this it's questionable), no true SG and no quality SG defense, horrible PG defense and no PG of quality starting ability on offense either.

Those were complaints during the season, and from JOB. I think Ford/Jack/Rush help deny those drive and kicks to the corner that punish the system he and Harter are trying to run, and then I think Hibbert is meant to keep the team from getting destroyed by inside size as well.


I think your fault here Tbird is seeing JOB as an offensive coach and considering his offensive system. He doesn't have one, so I don't think he has a problem with a team running sets and screens as long as they get up court to start them quickly.

JOB is NOT a "fastbreak" coach, he's a "get it into the front court and start something before the defense can setup" coach. That doesn't mean you don't run plays, it just means you don't p*** around getting to the starting point for them.

Certainly Roy can trail that and work the high post early in the play. And then they'll post him up from time to time. All this "JO gave in to JOB's system" was total bunk. When JO returned he got low posted 5 of 8 or 9 plays by my estimate. In other words more than half of the offense was still going through JO and the low block. Starting that sooner doesn't make it fastbreaking, but it does make it uptempo.


OTOH I think JOB is extremely concerned with the defense and in that way all the moves are 100% geared toward his coaching. Bayless is NOT a defender. Rush is, big time. Rush is a tip-your-man's-dribble guy, he's a back door rebound guy, block your man out guy and gets out on the break.

If starting the offense with the defense is your goal then Ford/Jack and Rush as the backcourt is a major improvement. If Hibbert can clear the ball fairly well then he fits that mold well too.



In the end I don't think it's 100% about JOB anyway. I think Bird is looking for true balance as well as restructured finances. The moves this year are step 1 and I'm expecting more to come next summer (Dun or Troy).

Putnam
07-05-2008, 04:02 PM
Excellent rebuttal, Seth.

count55
07-05-2008, 04:07 PM
As I think back now, I'm actually of the opinion that Bird has played a large role in all of the decisions made during his tenure. That is not to say that Donnie Walsh didn't wield significant power and influence over the Pacer front office in the last five years. Quite the contrary, I believe he held the ultimate decision making authority. A veto, so to speak, over all moves made by the franchise. However, I believe you can see in most cases Bird as either the progenitor of the idea or the catalyst for the change.

Below is a review of the major decisions during the time that Bird and Walsh were both in the Pacer front office:
(Forgive me if I miss any, I'm doing this off the top of my head)

1. 2003 Firing Isiah/Hiring Rick - There's little doubt in my mind that Isiah's days were numbered once Bird was hired. This town simply wasn't big enough for the two of them. However, I have a contrary view to the relatively popular theory that Bird and Walsh lied to JO when they told him that Isiah's job was safe. Based on years of Walsh-watching, along with his spotty history with coaching hire/fire decisions, I believe that when Walsh to JO that he was keeping Isiah, he fully intended to keep Isiah. Walsh tended to be too loyal (perhaps a poor word, maybe attached is better) to the people he considered to be his decision. He probably objectively knew Isiah needed to go, but he was going to give him another chance for any number of motivations. If Bird made the same promise to JO (I honestly can't recall if he did or not), then it was almost certainly followed by a whispered "this summer" or "because Donnie won't let me." I'm sure that Bird told Walsh up front that Isiah did not have a long future in Bird's eyes, and, when Carlisle became available, Bird probably went to Walsh, said something to the effect of "Look, Isiah's completely useless, and now we have a perfect replacement candidate, so let's stop dicking around and get this done." Walsh agreed, and we got the coaching change.

2. 2004 through early 2006: Staying with Ron Artest - As Bird and Carlisle came on board, this team made the leap to the top of the league. After winning 61 games and advancing to the ECF in 2004, the Pacers were showing every indication of being arguably the best team in basketball on November 19, 2004. Without rehashing all of the travails that occurred during the balance of Ron-Ron's stay with us, I want to focus on the gamble that was going on during this time frame. It's my belief that Ron Artest was the core identity of that team. His skill and style of play were the reason that the Pacers could grind out wins against pretty much anybody virtually anywhere. (It's also his shortcomings that cost us at critical junctures, but that's another tangent.) I believe that both Bird and Walsh felt this was the case as well. If they really had the opportunity to deal Artest for Peja when both were at the top of their game (pre-brawl & injuries), I think they both would've passed. At the top of his game, Artest was a difference maker, a player whose skills at both ends of the court could get you a title. They took the calculated risk that the good Ron-Ron would get us the prize before the bad Ron-Ron destroyed us. They were both wrong, but there's little question in my mind that each would've made the same decision individually, without any influence from the other.

3. Summer 2005: Sarunas Jasikevicius - There seems to be little argument on this point. Bird had done extensive scouting in Europe, and by all accounts played a large role in bringing Saras to Indy.

4. Dec 2005 through Summer 2006: Artest to Peja to TE to Harrington - This is probably the most difficult sequence to see Bird's role clearly here. In fact, I think that the Pacers were in full reaction mode the entire time, so it's difficult to tell if anyone was steering the ship. IIRC, Walsh seemed to be the front man during this time, but I think the Simons also started to take a more active role. The trade exception seems to be either the work of the Simons, Morway, or a combination of both. Harrington was probably a Walsh target, but the way the deal was done (lengthy negotiations, apparent quibbling over relatively small details, the shorter contract) makes it look like the Simons were being pretty specific about the way it was to be handled.

5. January 2007: The Golden State deal - At the time, Walsh was out front, but in retrospect, this really looks like a Bird move. The players acquired seemed to fit Bird's tastes, and the quick, quiet way that it occurred was new. There were no rumors...none at all. Everybody just woke up one morning and, poof, there was the trade. Most of the deals that involved Walsh tended to come as an evolution rather than a revolution. The Harrington deal and the Rose-to-Chicago deal had been rumored for weeks prior to actually occurring. Hell, the Peja-for-Artest and Detlef-for-Derrick deals had been rumored for years before they actually came to fruition.

6. Summer 2007: Firing Carlisle, Hiring Obie - I actually believe that Bird wanted to fire Rick after the NJ series in 2006, but Walsh vetoed it. This is based the tenor and content of Bird's public communications that summer, as well as his long-standing "3 years and out" philosophy about coaches. After the veto that summer, the following season was another struggle, and by decision making time, everybody, including Carlisle were almost certainly sure that it was over. O'Brien makes perfect sense as a Bird hire from the perspective that he was a coach who, though flawed, had proven results. His style was closer to what Bird wanted, both on the floor and in the locker room. While he may not be a perfect fit for what Bird envisions, it is unlikely that Larry wanted to take a chance on untested commodities like Jim Boylan or Mark Jackson given the fact that he, himself was probably starting to wonder about his job security. It also makes sense given the reported pursuit of Stan Van Gundy.

7. 2004-2007: The Drafts (Harrison, Granger, Williams, White, Stanko) - It's been my opinion all along that, with the possible exception of Harrison, these were clearly Bird's choices. I have no doubt Walsh had heavy input, but I don't think there's anybody on that list that Walsh "forced" on Bird. With regard to Williams, I think Bird didn't necessarily see the "interchangeable parts" aspect. Instead, I think he believed that Williams could develop into a highly-skilled power forward. Honestly, I think he saw the same thing that he saw in Croshere when he coached him. A quick, reasonably athletic player with good shooting skills whose best spot would be as an undersized four rather than a big three. If you don't like the Croshere comparison, then I'd bring up Detlef Schrempf (though Detlef had better playmaking skills).

So, I think there's ample circumstantial evidence to say that Bird should bear a significant amount of the responsibility for the decisions and consequences of the Pacers' front office during his tenure. However, I would also say that, prior to Donnie's departure, there were no "All-Larry" decisions. With Walsh holding the veto power, all of the decisions were flavored with his presence. In some cases, it was probably little more than an OK (Sarunas), in others Walsh's presence was probably far heavier (timing of Rick's firing, the Artest-Peja-TE-Harrington saga). In any case, it leads me to conclude that the worst decision made by the Pacers in the last five years wasn't a basketball decision. It was a management decision.

Setting aside the specifics of the negative events and factors that the Pacers have faced over the past five years and looking only at how they responded to them tells you a story. It shows an organization caught unprepared for the changes that were happening around them. It's been a mish-mash of reacting too slowly, overreacting, mixed messages, and fits and starts. As someone who's spent the last 16 years at various levels of business management, much of which has been working with turnarounds, these are all symptoms of an organization lacking a clear, unified vision and strategy. With the exception of sticking with Artest (and, possibly drafting Danny Granger), I see little evidence of Donnie and Larry ever operating under the same mission statement, or even sharing a sufficiently similar view of where the Pacers should go, and how they should get there. The biggest mistake made by the Pacers was not having a clear, well-defined, and much, much quicker transition plan from Donnie to Larry.

For the sake of argument, let's agree that, as VP of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird should have been responsible for setting the vision and direction of the Indiana Pacers on the basketball floor. It is my position that, though Bird's fingerprints are all over the Pacers, Donnie Walsh' presence prevented Larry from fulfilling this key role as completely as necessary. Now, you're welcome to argue that Walsh prevented things from being worse, or that Walsh diluted Bird's vision and hurt the franchise. I can see really strong arguments on both sides. However, I'm not picking a side there. I've been stunned over the past few years how every reasonable (at the time)risk the Pacers took somehow managed to result in the worst possible outcome with alarming consistency. My argument now is that this "bad fortune" is, in fact, the unavoidable result of too many cooks in the kitchen. Not having one direction often leaves you in the gawdawful hell of "in between". In business, it's one of the worst places you can be. Without the benefit of a clear direction on where you "should" be, and the playbook that goes along with it, virtually every decision you make is pure reaction. It is often dictated to you, or you're left with trying to choose the lesser of two evils. Doesn't that sound like exactly what we've been doing for the last few years.

In retrospect, I believe the Simons (and by extension, the Pacers and their fans) would've been better served by placing a sunset on Donnie Walsh's tenure of one year after the hiring of Bird, or not hiring Bird (or anyone) until they felt Donnie's departure was imminent. While it is only my belief, and therefore unprovable, I have no doubt we would have made it through the last five years in much better shape had there only been one: Donnie or Larry. I don't know which would've been better than the other, but I am convinced that either would be better than where we were at the end of this past season.

This brings us to the comments made by Kegboy and the "Hydra" replacing the "Two-headed Monster". I understand them, but think they were misguided in two regards:

- First, I think they were made in frustration and seemingly directed at Bird apologists. I also understand that frustration as I have little patience for people who take a position about a player or coach or FO figure and allow it to define every argument. It's fine if it informs someone's position, but too often, people will not allow the ideology to be tested by fact. In those cases, every point made is suspect, driven by an ulterior motive in the service of advancing their POV regardless of its merit. I think this is a sin committed by inveterate Bird apologists and detractors, alike. While I've only been active here over the last couple of months, it seems to me that, while your frustration is certainly valid, tbird is not one deserving of this type of reaction. Though I think his reasoning may be a little more linear than I think is appropriate for that particular subject matter and disagree with his conclusions, I think he is presenting it in good faith from a honest POV. In other words, I don't see the necessity to treat him as a Bird apologist. (I have a lot of respect for both Kegboy and tbird. I apologize if anything I just typed is deemed inappropriate or insulting by either of them. I'm hopeful I am also presenting an good-faith POV.)
- I think that this is clearly now "Larry Bird's Front Office", and this is something that will be understood both internal and external to the organization. While Herb Simon and David Morway will be more visible than they have been in the past, neither will have the visibility that Walsh has had. Simon will be simply, the owner. While he may become more active than they have in the past, I don't think any of us expect Herb to all of a sudden morph into Mark Cuban or George Steinbrenner. Morway may be a talent and a key member of the team, he simply lacks the name recognition and presence that Larry Bird has. Bird's name and reputation has both helped and hurt him in his new role. In some cases, he gets a free pass, and in others he probably gets more blame than he deserves. In any case, I believe the message will now be consistent from the Pacers, the media, and, eventually, us: This is Bird's team, and he should get the credit for the successes and the blame for the failures, first and foremost. If, as you glumly projected, we start seeing the shifting of blame to Simon/Morway/Perkins by any one other than shameless Bird apologists, then it will be the result of the Pacers making the same mistake they made five years ago and muddying the waters. I would still believe Bird should be held responsible, but the mixed message issue would ultimately be the fault of ownership.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I'm on the fence about Bird. I am still hopeful that he can become successful, but far from convinced that it will happen. If it wasn't already evident from my others posts, I have been pleased with the moves this summer. I see no reason, at present time, not to assume that Bird will continue in his role for a number of years. However, if the moves this summer do not work out. If these first, apparently purposeful steps towards a turnaround are followed closely by more of the dithering that we've seen over the past five years, then I can see him being out of work as early as next summer.

The last few years have been harrowing times for the Pacers and their faithful. For the first time in quite a long while, some of my fear and disquiet is being replaced by excitement and growing anticipation. I'm really looking forward to dispensing with arguments over what the direction is and who's driving, and getting to the meat of arguing about whether it's the right direction in the first place.

As always...this is above is just my opinion, which (should be) universally accepted as the truth. :bs::p

(PS...I'm just here to make tbird look laconic by comparison)

count55
07-05-2008, 04:14 PM
These posts are far too long tbird. I appreciate the fact that most folks enjoy your posts but at the same time, you seemingly cannot make a post that is not 15+ paragraphs. There is something to be said for the ability to summarize and post your thoughts in a succinct manner.


I really, really, really, disagree with you!!!!

The more a good poster like T-Bird writes the more I like it!


As do I.


Big Smooth is right. Let's not ridicule him for saying this. But it's no knock on Thunderbird, either. Not everybody on this forum is a professional writer, and posts that are a little too long or even incoherent are part of the fun.

Thunderbird is not as succinct as he could be, but that's because he's a coach rather than a writer. He's got a lot to say. A few lengthy paragraphs is not too high a price to pay for his insights.


-----

Nevertheless, I think he's over-analyzed this issue.


.

Any questions as to which side of this issue I stand?

count55
07-05-2008, 05:09 PM
One thing that might argue a little more for tbird's position on Walsh/Bird's decision making:

Walsh's moves in New York look very similar to the moves made by the Pacers over the past few years. He's hired a coach with an unconventional, up tempo offensive strategy (D'Antoni), drafted a wing who's considered capable of playing multiple roles/positions (Gallinari), and signed a player with limited production throughout his career and a reputation for liking the night life to a surprisingly sizable contract (Duhon), speculating on his ability to make the leap to full-time starter.

Infinite MAN_force
07-05-2008, 06:00 PM
JOB had stop-gap written all over him from day one. I'm certain he will get his chance, but there are those coaches who ride out the rough years just in time to be dumped as the team comes together and the star coach is brought in. No doubt JOB came cheaper than Stan Van Gundy and would be less painful to dump after 2-3 years of rough rebuilding.

I don't agree with this. It was apparently Bird who traveled to Memphis and saw them play early in the season, hooking into him right from the start. Shawne happened to have a hotter first half than second half that year anyway, which helps fuel this view as possible.

Bird as coach was when DW made moves for both Harrington and Bender. JO was not a multiple position kid, Tinsley wasn't either. I don't think Donnie was showing some signs of chasing young kids, that's happened mostly when both Bird and DW were together.

I think that NOW Bird has a new outlook on age. I think Shawne burned Larry with his immaturity and paired with Al/Bender and the overall team situation that Larry decided that he had to take a NEW approach and focus on mature players of high personal character.

Plus Larry had a team with 3 major flaws. No quality size with JO moved and David not signed (and even prior to this it's questionable), no true SG and no quality SG defense, horrible PG defense and no PG of quality starting ability on offense either.

Those were complaints during the season, and from JOB. I think Ford/Jack/Rush help deny those drive and kicks to the corner that punish the system he and Harter are trying to run, and then I think Hibbert is meant to keep the team from getting destroyed by inside size as well.


I think your fault here Tbird is seeing JOB as an offensive coach and considering his offensive system. He doesn't have one, so I don't think he has a problem with a team running sets and screens as long as they get up court to start them quickly.

JOB is NOT a "fastbreak" coach, he's a "get it into the front court and start something before the defense can setup" coach. That doesn't mean you don't run plays, it just means you don't p*** around getting to the starting point for them.

Certainly Roy can trail that and work the high post early in the play. And then they'll post him up from time to time. All this "JO gave in to JOB's system" was total bunk. When JO returned he got low posted 5 of 8 or 9 plays by my estimate. In other words more than half of the offense was still going through JO and the low block. Starting that sooner doesn't make it fastbreaking, but it does make it uptempo.


OTOH I think JOB is extremely concerned with the defense and in that way all the moves are 100% geared toward his coaching. Bayless is NOT a defender. Rush is, big time. Rush is a tip-your-man's-dribble guy, he's a back door rebound guy, block your man out guy and gets out on the break.

If starting the offense with the defense is your goal then Ford/Jack and Rush as the backcourt is a major improvement. If Hibbert can clear the ball fairly well then he fits that mold well too.



In the end I don't think it's 100% about JOB anyway. I think Bird is looking for true balance as well as restructured finances. The moves this year are step 1 and I'm expecting more to come next summer (Dun or Troy).


I agree wholeheartedly with this assesment.

avoidingtheclowns
07-05-2008, 08:15 PM
5. January 2007: The Golden State deal - At the time, Walsh was out front, but in retrospect, this really looks like a Bird move. The players acquired seemed to fit Bird's tastes, and the quick, quiet way that it occurred was new. There were no rumors...none at all. Everybody just woke up one morning and, poof, there was the trade. Most of the deals that involved Walsh tended to come as an evolution rather than a revolution. The Harrington deal and the Rose-to-Chicago deal had been rumored for weeks prior to actually occurring. Hell, the Peja-for-Artest and Detlef-for-Derrick deals had been rumored for years before they actually came to fruition.


so donnie lied when he said (repeatedly) that he and mullin were the only people involved?

count55
07-05-2008, 09:36 PM
so donnie lied when he said (repeatedly) that he and mullin were the only people involved?

I'm struggling to remember when he said that. I'm not questioning that he did. I just can't recall whether it was at the time of the trade, this spring just right after he announced he was leaving/stepping down/moving on, whatever it was, or both.

You're making a valid point, and, honestly, I was speculating that was Larry's move (hopefully, I was upfront about that). If this specific statement only came out this spring, then I would say that it's possible that he lied, though I'm not sure that any of the reasons that I can come up with for him to lie ring true. It's more likely that I'm just wrong, but that would point out another dysfunction in the Pacers operations. No well run organization I know would make a transaction of that size and far-reaching financial impact without including the head of the division that needed to implement it. Unless, of course, the move immediately following it was to replace the head of the division. That didn't happen, so it just strikes me as short-sighted and counter-productive.

grace
07-05-2008, 10:15 PM
I say Bird pulls double duty. He should remain president of basketball operations and become our head coach. :D

Only if Rick and Dick rejoin him...and David Craig and Rick Smits and Dale Davis and they get into a time machine and go back 10 years. Then it would be great!

grace
07-05-2008, 10:20 PM
Oh really? who told you that Donnie or Larry? :rolleyes:

Donnie could tell me it was all his idea to hire JOB and I still wouldn't believe it. At best maybe Larry said to Donnie "I really think Jim O'Brien would be a good coach again." Donnie was more worried about his next smoke break so Larry took his no comment as a silent agreement.

2minutes twowa
07-05-2008, 10:28 PM
I think Bird and JOB have merged their idea of the perfect team. JOB likes to run up tempo while playing solid defense. Bird also wants this style, but also have a team that can slow it down when needed. I think they are in this for the long haul and have decided on an identity for this team. A team that looks to push the ball, use the 3 point shot liberally, play solid defense, but also have the players needed to play some half-court. I think Bird and JOB see the Spurs as the perfect model for the type of team they want to build.