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dgranger17
01-07-2010, 10:03 PM
Feel free to bypass the walk down memory lane. I'm sure most of you already know and/or don't care to know what happened during one of the roughest stretches in franchise history (with help from Ben Wallace and the fans in Detroit).

Donnie Walsh hired Larry Bird to be President of Basketball Operations shortly after the 2003 NBA Draft (a draft in which the Pacers came away empty handed, much like in 2007). From 2004-2007, Larry/Donnie drafted David Harrison (30th in ’04), Danny Granger (17th in ’05), and Shawne Williams (17th in ’06).

You could argue that the 2004 draft was terrible, but really only Anderson Varejao (31st), Chris Duhon (39th), and Trevor Ariza (44th) became good pros. Picking 30th, Larry/Donnie drafted a 7’0 center who averaged 17 pts on 63% shooting, almost 9 rebounds, and almost 3 blocks a game his junior year. Honest mistake.

The 2005 draft speaks for itself.

The 2006 draft was obviously a wasted year for the Indiana Pacers. Larry/Donnie drafted a freshman from Memphis (a mistake that has yet to be repeated). Roughly 3 other players in the draft turned out to be, at the very least, good: Rajon Rondo (21st), Kyle Lowry (24th), and Paul Millsap (47th).

The Al Harrington trade completely killed our 2007 draft. This draft wouldn’t have hurt AS bad if Larry/Donnie wouldn’t have whiffed entirely the previous year.

Shortly before the 2008 NBA Draft, Donnie Walsh resigned, leaving Larry Bird as the sole decision maker. The Pacers were very active in this draft. Bird drafted another freshman, but learning from his and Donnie’s previous freshman mistake, traded him to Portland (along with Ike Diogu) for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush. Also, Larry traded JO and Nathan Jawai to Toronto for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, and Roy Hibbert.

The 2009 draft, in my opinion, was a success. From what I’ve seen so far this year, Tyler Hansbrough and A.J. Price will be good, if not great, professional basketball players.

Larry’s draft track record is at worst solid. As sole decision maker, he brought in Rush, Hibbert, Hansbrough, and Price. His free agent list includes Earl Watson and Luther Head. His draft record will only continue to improve thanks to David Stern. As much as his 1 year rule has killed the student-athlete, it has greatly improved the NBA Draft’s. Drafts are absolutely loaded now. Which leads me to my next point…

Making the playoffs isn’t such a bad thing. It really doesn’t matter what pick we have, a legitimate player will be there waiting on us. We won't get John Wall, but we can get a Sherron Collins. We won't get Derrick Favors, but we can get a Patrick Patterson. We won't get Wesley Johnson, but we can get a Damion James. Anyway, we’re setting ourselves up for when Ford, Murphy, Dunleavy, and Foster come off the books (barring a trade). That’s roughly $35 million off our hands. This 2010 draft and the 2011 draft are only preparing us for the 2010-2011 free agency (Al Horford, Kendrick Perkins, Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Aaron Brooks, Ronny Turiaf, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, Sam Young, Corey Brewer, Yi Jianlian, Marcus Thronton, David West, Wilson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Greg Oden, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Caron Butler among others). Making the playoffs this year and next will not only give our organization/players the postseason experience it needs, but it may also add some extra desire for any incoming free agent with "Indiana" on his list of preferred destinations. Tank? No thanks.

I’d like to think the bad weather for this post. I’m getting paid by the hour to wait on a truck to show up… and write my explanation on why Larry Bird is an underrated GM.

PLAYOFF BOUND!

PacerDude
01-07-2010, 10:20 PM
Sarunas Jasicavisdgahejkr.htyerkjtyh ......... whatever his last name is. He was Larry's doing. 100%.

Swing and a miss.

Not that Bird hasn't made a few decent moves and a few decent picks. Just wanted to try to keep it in perspective.

purdue101
01-07-2010, 11:03 PM
IMO, we can only critique Larry on moves made after Donnie left. Who knows who pulled the trigger on each deal when both were here. For all we know, Larry had other deals in place which Donnie shot down. Bottom line, we just don't know, probably never will.

Since Donnie left, I think Larry has done an ok job. Not excellent, but certainly not bad. I would give him a B+.

He's absolutely nailed both the 2008 & 2009 draft. Hibbert & Price look like highway robbery for where they were picked. Hibbert definitely looks like he could be an all-star down the road. Right now, I see Price as a solid rotational guard, which is great for where he was picked. I wouldn't be shocked if he turned into a starting caliber PG though. Rush and Hansbrough may not have huge upside, but both are glue guys, which every team needs. Rush is already top notch on D and rebounding, if he could find his offense like the end of last year, he could be an elite guard. Hans is the perfect compliment to Hibbert with his toughness and defense.

Lets also keep in mind that there weren't any "can't miss" stars that were taken after we picked in those drafts. From what I remember, Bird also had high praise for guys like Westbrook, Love, Gordon, Evans, Flynn, and Lawson, who have all looked like great prospects. You have to admit, Larry has had an eye for the right talent the past two years. I have faith in his drafting abilities.

In terms of free agency, Larry hasn't made any ridiculous moves that can cripple a franchise. The Danny extension was done professionally and looks like good value thus far (knock on wood). I have no beef with the Dahntay deal either. As of today, he's been worth 2-3 million per year. Head, Watson, Solo, and McBob were good moves for the cheap price - all have played well. Lets not forget that Larry let Jack walk intead of overpaying, which was wise. The only negatives were the Deiner signing and Foster extension, but neither were cap killers. Both could return value if traded as an expiring.

The only two trades were the TJ/JO deal and the Rush & McBob/Bayless deal. The JO deal brought us Hibbert, which is huge. I would take Hibbert over JO today - straight up. Lets not forget that Hibbert is 10 years younger and 10% of the cost. Throw in the fact that it put us under the tax this year (Rasho expiring) and the fact that TJ's deal could bring value as an expiring, I think it was a good trade. The Rush & McBob/Bayless deal is probably too early to tell. So far, I would say Rush & McBob play more pertinent roles than Bayless. Ike and Jack both left their teams, so that was a wash.

The Tinsley situation was handled professionally. Jamaal was deemed "untradeable," but it appeared Larry not only had a deal in place, but a decent one with Orlando. Can't fault him that Houston swooped in with Rafer Alston. The buyout saved us 2-3 million per year and was actually less than I expected Tinsley to take.

I am baffled that some ppl have issues with Larry. His hands have been tied with the cap and troubled players, yet he's done a nice job gutting them out while putting the pieces in place for 2011.