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View Full Version : Pacers #9 in Hollinger's franchise rankings



Peter_sixtyftsixin
06-11-2009, 12:27 PM
John Hollinger
ESPN.com
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=FranchiseRankings-Pacers

As a stat guy, I love this, but I have a few problems with this.

1) Why is Larry Brown our best coach? Better than Leonard? (he counts ABA)

2) "Intangibles: +0. Thirty years of good karma offset by one bad night in Detroit." I'm raising the :bs:

count55
06-11-2009, 12:33 PM
Yeah, I'll buy Brown as our best coach.

ChicagoJ
06-11-2009, 12:47 PM
Unfortunately, they were already on the downswing when the NBA and ABA merged and had to give up George McGinnis to make ends meet. The Pacers spent the next decade and a half in the doldrums -- it took 18 years, in fact, for them to win a playoff series, when Larry Brown and Donnie Walsh joined forces to usher in two decades of respectability.

Interesting. If Larry Brown and Donnie Walsh "usher[ed] in two decades of respectability", that will end in five more years. But we've not been respectable over the past five seasons. Maybe one decade. Or maybe it had less to do with Larry Brown as he took a frustrating playoff team that Donnie had already made and then made them EC contenders.

Hollinger should stick with numbers, because when he puts words with the numbers, he just screws it up.

Slick > Brownie.

duke dynamite
06-11-2009, 12:56 PM
#9 is good.

Unclebuck
06-11-2009, 01:16 PM
Interesting. If Larry Brown and Donnie Walsh "usher[ed] in two decades of respectability", that will end in five more years. But we've not been respectable over the past five seasons. Maybe one decade. Or maybe it had less to do with Larry Brown as he took a frustrating playoff team that Donnie had already made and then made them EC contenders.

Hollinger should stick with numbers, because when he puts words with the numbers, he just screws it up.

Slick > Brownie.

You think Hill > Brownie

Sollozzo
06-11-2009, 01:19 PM
Who has the banner hanging in CF with their number of wins, Slick or Larry Brown?

That answers the question as to who is the franchise's greatest all time coach. Slick was the Pacers.

Unclebuck
06-11-2009, 01:35 PM
On the question that seems to be emerging - who was the pacers greatest alltime coach. Without ever having seen the ABA Pacers play - I cannot judge Slick. Of the coaches I have seen coach the Pacers. Larry Brown is the best without question.

ChicagoJ
06-11-2009, 01:54 PM
You think Hill > Brownie

No, that's an exaggeration. I think they are about equal in terms of coaching ABILITIES, but that Brown has generally had better rosters to work with and more support from the owner/ front office. And in different ways, they've both had problems relating to players (Brownie was too harsh, Bo was too soft. I'd say that the time they coached together might have influenced this as Bo spent a lot of his career as the 'good cop' assistant to "tough" guys like Brownie, Hubie, Pittino, etc.)

Since I come from a coaching family, there is something about the Jim O'Brien/ Bob Hill/ Jack Ramsay/ Slick/ Jack McKinney "gym rat" type of coach that appeals to me. Brownie had that appeal, too. For three seasons. It was the fourth season and the front-office/ roster meddling that soured me on him. Carlisle was too much of a video-room/ stat guy, and Bird was too much of a golf course guy for me. And of course Isiah, Irvine, and Q-tip head should have been expelled much earlier.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I just saw something interesting on Wikipedia, as I was trying to remember when Brown and Bo Hill coached together (it was at Kansas, from '83 when Brownie arrived until '85 when Bo left.)

The NCAA violation that got Brown in trouble at Kansas was giving future Pacer and potential Kansas transferee Vinnie Askew a free ticket home to see his sick grandmother. A nice gesture that is nonetheless against NCAA rules. Askew played a key role in making 1996-97 "The Season We Do Not Discuss."

aceace
06-11-2009, 02:11 PM
Slick was a great coach! Always will be my favorite. Brown was great too. Slick could motivate better but Brown was probably a better X's & O's guy. There are some great stories about Slick walking into a locker room and threatening players and belittling them. He said one time he threatened Mickey Johnson (1979-80 team) and he thought "wow I'm glad he didn't get up and kick my azz" I think it was the book "loose balls" or whatever, pretty funny story. Congrats to the Pacers on being #9.

MillerTime
06-11-2009, 04:03 PM
Im surprised to see NY at 16

PacerDude
06-11-2009, 04:04 PM
There was the time Slick went after Netolicky with a hockey stick at halftime in the locker room.

Do that today and you'll have the union all over you.

count55
06-11-2009, 04:10 PM
The intangibles thing is a bit dicey...costs the Knicks about 1.5 pts per season (or maybe 4 places) because "Riley era set league back years".

I agree with the sentiment, but it's kinda henky to imply it has statistical weight.

Pacers get 0 for intangibles, but Detroit gets penalized 50 points for the Brawl and basically being boring?

He should have left that part out.

rexnom
06-11-2009, 04:20 PM
The intangibles thing is a bit dicey...costs the Knicks about 1.5 pts per season (or maybe 4 places) because "Riley era set league back years".

I agree with the sentiment, but it's kinda henky to imply it has statistical weight.

Pacers get 0 for intangibles, but Detroit gets penalized 50 points for the Brawl and basically being boring?

He should have left that part out.
I agree. I think his methodology is the shakiest with intangibles but shaky in general. Between this and the draft půsition thing, Hollinger and ESPN have been kinda disappointing of late.

ChicagoJ
06-11-2009, 06:25 PM
I noticed that he listed Clyde Drexler as Portland's best player ever, not Walton.

Hollinger = :clown:

rexnom
06-12-2009, 05:21 AM
I noticed that he listed Clyde Drexler as Portland's best player ever, not Walton.

Hollinger = :clown:
Well, I don't know if I disagree with him there. It depends on how you judge "best" players. Bill Walton had the best single season and probably a higher peak (in '78) but Clyde definitely had the better career.

I think Hollinger's criterion is career. Would you be willing to say that Reggie had the single best season or peak in the Pacers' history? I wouldn't. But his body of work over an entire career is far more impressive than any other Pacer.

count55
06-12-2009, 09:36 AM
Well, I don't know if I disagree with him there. It depends on how you judge "best" players. Bill Walton had the best single season and probably a higher peak (in '78) but Clyde definitely had the better career.

I think Hollinger's criterion is career. Would you be willing to say that Reggie had the single best season or peak in the Pacers' history? I wouldn't. But his body of work over an entire career is far more impressive than any other Pacer.

This is similar to the discussion about Pierce's place in Celtics history. Regarding Reggie, I'd say McGinnis and, possibly, Roger Brown, were more talented players, but Reggie gets the nod for sustained excellence.

I saw Walton play in college (but I was young), and most of what I can coherently remember about Walton's NBA career was after injuries had pretty much destroyed it...reducing him to a sub on that great '86 Celtic team (and one of the walking wounded on the '87 C's). So, I went back and looked at Walton's numbers. I'm going to steal tbird's friend's term and call Walton an ambidextrous *******.

On the one hand - Walton was the best player on the best team in Portland's franchise history. He, and his teammates, brought that franchise to it's pinnacle and created a special bond with the city of Portland that lasted unharmed for over two decades (and remains the foundation upon which their current resurgence is being built).

On the other hand - Walton only played 207 games over four seasons in Portland before leaving in Free Agency (and eventually suing the team). In his first two years, he managed only 86 games on two losing teams, and he didn't really blossom until Mo Lucas joined the team in the championship season. Lucas provided an enforcer that basically kept teams from physically manhandling Walton.

Walton was probably the most talented Blazer ever, and his injuries may have prevented him from being involved in the Wilt-Russell-Kareem discussion. However, it's not like Hollinger is picking some yutz over Walton simply because that yutz played there longer. Clyde Drexler is a Hall of Famer who scored over 22,000 points in his career. In 12 seasons with Portland, he scored over 18,000 points, made 8 All-Star appearances, was named All-NBA four times (including one 1st Team), and led the team to the finals twice.

Walton was a great player whose career was sadly damaged by chronic injuries. The closest I can come to equating him to another player is Bo Jackson. Those two guys will always be the first ones I think of in any "What Could Have Been" list.

Drexler was a great player who actually fulfilled his promise. I think there's a pretty strong case for him being the right guy to choose here.

Trader Joe
06-12-2009, 11:30 AM
Were our ABA teams really scruffy? That seems to me to be a bit of a back handed compliment. I'd say they were pretty damn talented.

NuffSaid
06-12-2009, 12:16 PM
#9 is good.
Damned good considering who the top 8 NBA teams are on Hollinger's list and given the fact that the Pacers are among 3 teams on that list that has never won an NBA Finals championship. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Of course, we are talking about one man's opinion...

I think Hollinger's wrong on listing the Lakers as the best team ever. Clearly, the Celtics' 17 NBA titles (Lakers has 14) not to mention their 8 consecutive championships - a feat no other NBA (or ABA) team has ever come close to matching (Lakers only have 3 consecutive titles) - there's no question who the best NBA franchise is. But there is something to that Lakers' (super)star power. But best all-time...Celtics by far.

count55
06-12-2009, 12:48 PM
Were our ABA teams really scruffy? That seems to me to be a bit of a back handed compliment. I'd say they were pretty damn talented.

Yeah, but the entire ABA gets cast as a collection of misfits generally. I think the Pacers were NBA-level talent...but you have to remember how they got some of their players:

Roger Brown was working at an Auto Plant in Dayton (IIRC), and signed him for about $17k and the use of a car for a year.

Freddie Lewis was grabbed off of the Cincinnati Royal's bench and given a used refrigerator as a bonus.

Mel Daniels was bought from Minnesota for $150,000 because the Minnesota owners were short on the ABA performance bond...the deal was written out and agreed to, literally, on a napkin.

Billy Keller was signed solely to be bait to sign Rick Mount a year later.

The Pacers asked the ABA to have a special draft, but wouldn't tell the league why. The league called the draft, and the Pacers (who were the defending champs at the time) got the first pick in the draft (because they were the ones that asked for it) and selected Rick Mount.

After that, an argument broke out because several teams wanted the rights to Pete Maravich. The Pacers FO left (because they had what the wanted), and according to Dick Tinkham, this was always referred to as the "Rick Mount Draft" because nobody else ended up making a draft pick.

Again, they had NBA talent, but "scruffy" seems like a not unreasonable adjective for the ABA and the Pacers.

Naptown_Seth
06-12-2009, 01:34 PM
Interesting. If Larry Brown and Donnie Walsh "usher[ed] in two decades of respectability", that will end in five more years. But we've not been respectable over the past five seasons. Maybe one decade. Or maybe it had less to do with Larry Brown as he took a frustrating playoff team that Donnie had already made and then made them EC contenders.

Hollinger should stick with numbers, because when he puts words with the numbers, he just screws it up.

Slick > Brownie.
Agreed on all counts. Freaking Bob Hill took that squad to 5 games vs the Bird era Celtics. Thank god Brown was able to "save the day".

Argh. Over and over I have to say it. Go look at his great turnaround seasons and find the ones where his team doesn't add a significant piece to the squad. People don't respect Carlisle IMO, but GD facts are facts. He took a team that LOST AN ALL-STAR center to 61 wins and the ECF.

Larry Brown has NEVER, EVER done that. Never. He adds guys like Admiral or Sheed or Byron Scott and suddenly the team is better, and sometimes they really aren't that much better. I mean DET went ONE STEP further after adding Sheed and didn't impact their regular season W-L at all. Sans Sheed Carlisle had them at the ECF already with the same basic W-L two years in a row.

I mean Bird had never coached before and he took Brown's squad much farther than the prior 2 seasons. You think Rick and Harter didn't have a big impact there?


I'll take Slick by a mile here, and obviously I'd take Rick over Brown too (given the Bird era aspects). I've got a good mind to vote Versace over Brown just out of spite at this point. ;)




*Brown has one impressive season - mid-season change with the Clippers. Every other situation he continued to lose at the same rate, or he got a significant boost to his roster prior to winning more.

Trader Joe
06-12-2009, 02:14 PM
Yeah, but the entire ABA gets cast as a collection of misfits generally. I think the Pacers were NBA-level talent...but you have to remember how they got some of their players:

Roger Brown was working at an Auto Plant in Dayton (IIRC), and signed him for about $17k and the use of a car for a year.

Freddie Lewis was grabbed off of the Cincinnati Royal's bench and given a used refrigerator as a bonus.

Mel Daniels was bought from Minnesota for $150,000 because the Minnesota owners were short on the ABA performance bond...the deal was written out and agreed to, literally, on a napkin.

Billy Keller was signed solely to be bait to sign Rick Mount a year later.

The Pacers asked the ABA to have a special draft, but wouldn't tell the league why. The league called the draft, and the Pacers (who were the defending champs at the time) got the first pick in the draft (because they were the ones that asked for it) and selected Rick Mount.

After that, an argument broke out because several teams wanted the rights to Pete Maravich. The Pacers FO left (because they had what the wanted), and according to Dick Tinkham, this was always referred to as the "Rick Mount Draft" because nobody else ended up making a draft pick.

Again, they had NBA talent, but "scruffy" seems like a not unreasonable adjective for the ABA and the Pacers.

Saying they had NBA talent is kind of an understatement IMO. Didn't the Pacers smoke that championship Bucks team with Robertson and Kareem?

Dr. Awesome
06-12-2009, 02:22 PM
This is similar to the discussion about Pierce's place in Celtics history. Regarding Reggie, I'd say McGinnis and, possibly, Roger Brown, were more talented players, but Reggie gets the nod for sustained excellence.

I'll raise the bar on this one and say right now Danny Granger is a better player than Reggie ever was. I love Reggie, got teary-eyed his last game, and it would be amazing if Granger ever makes the impact that Reggie did. But, I really think Danny Granger is the more talented player.

I mean already, Danny Granger's best season statistically trumps Reggie's and that doesn't even really include defense. Like I said, it will take a miracle for Granger to make the impact Reggie did, but in terms of who is more talented? I think Granger is.

count55
06-12-2009, 02:50 PM
Saying they had NBA talent is kind of an understatement IMO. Didn't the Pacers smoke that championship Bucks team with Robertson and Kareem?

They never played that team.

The Pacers' success in ABA/NBA exhibition games is kind of an urban legend. Over the five seasons that the two leagues staged these games, the Pacers were only 7-15. Some of the beatings were pretty sound:

http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/4617/abanba.png (http://img132.imageshack.us/i/abanba.png/)

Of course, they're exhibition games, so it's hard to tell how serious they were. The one that Pacer old timers (specifically, Slick) point to is that 1971 game against the Knicks...word is that was played for blood.


I'll raise the bar on this one and say right now Danny Granger is a better player than Reggie ever was. I love Reggie, got teary-eyed his last game, and it would be amazing if Granger ever makes the impact that Reggie did. But, I really think Danny Granger is the more talented player.

I mean already, Danny Granger's best season statistically trumps Reggie's and that doesn't even really include defense. Like I said, it will take a miracle for Granger to make the impact Reggie did, but in terms of who is more talented? I think Granger is.

Danny has proven he can be the best player on a 36-win team, and he's shown an almost unparalleled ability to improve. Until he can prove that he can be the focal point on a contender, as Reggie did, then he still does not deserve consideration in this discussion.

He had a great season, but I still don't consider him even in the top 5 Pacers, and probably not the top 10...yet.


I want to have Rick Carlisle's love child.

Yeah, we know.

duke dynamite
06-12-2009, 03:05 PM
I'll raise the bar on this one and say right now Danny Granger is a better player than Reggie ever was. I love Reggie, got teary-eyed his last game, and it would be amazing if Granger ever makes the impact that Reggie did. But, I really think Danny Granger is the more talented player.

I mean already, Danny Granger's best season statistically trumps Reggie's and that doesn't even really include defense. Like I said, it will take a miracle for Granger to make the impact Reggie did, but in terms of who is more talented? I think Granger is.

Careful there, bud. I'd like to jump on that train with you but I'm going to have to wait another 13 seasons or so for it to come around again.

Trophy
06-12-2009, 04:03 PM
No one can go wrong between Brown and Leonard being the best Pacers head coach.

rexnom
06-12-2009, 05:17 PM
No one can go wrong between Brown and Leonard being the best Pacers head coach.
At the same time, Seth - in spite of his unhealthy almost Jay/Manu level of a man crush on Rick - makes two great points that I don't think anybody has addressed. This team improved when Brown became head coach but also had some significant personnel upgrades. Additionally, you can argue that our teams near the end of decade and possibly even '04 were better than Brown's teams and came closer to championships.

Shade
06-12-2009, 07:45 PM
Slick > Brown > Bird seems pretty clear to me.