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Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

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  • Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

    So, every year I always try to write at least 3 Pacers articles where I pretty much just discuss whatever is going on at the moment. I do this for a few reasons, one is that I am a writer and the other is that the Pacers are my favorite topic. These can get fairly lengthy, but if your bored enough, read on. Hope ya'll enjoy.

    I'll start by saying that for the first time in a long time, I can say I'm proud to be a Pacers fan. We had a lot of rough moments throughout the season, but we saw a lot of growth in our young players and a lot of heart from everyone. With that said I'll get straight to it:

    The Coaches:

    Jim O'Brien - Those of you who have known me long enough will recall me saying 3 games into Jim O'Brien's coaching tenure, that he should be fired. I got criticized as everyone was saying I wasn't giving him a chance, but I saw poor decision making in those 3 games that carried on for the rest of his time here. He went through spells of good coaching, which would lead to winning streaks, only to go back to his old ways right after. I will argue with anyone that he is the worst basketball coach in NBA history. I see a lot of people arguing that he got the players to play hard, but Bird brought in players known for playing hard. They didn't magically started playing hard solely because O'Brien was their coach, and after he was fired, a few players even came out talking about how they hated playing for him. This will probably be the only section I talk about Jim O'Brien - as far as I'm concerned, I'd like to leave him in the past, but this is my season recap so he needed one paragraph.

    Frank Vogel - He came in and said/did all the right things. He started playing the young guys and we started winning more. As far as an intern coach is concerned, he was perfect. Would he make a good coach? We'll get to that later.

    The Players:

    Roy Hibbert - He made a very strong case this year for the Pacers to start marketing him as the face of the franchise. Anyone who was as dedicated as Hibbert was, has to make a fan proud. This guy wants it, he wants to win, he wants to be the one to have the ball in the closing seconds, he wants to outwork everyone else. Here is Hibbert's problem. He isn't tough. He has all the qualities needed in a great leader except toughness. If Hibbert can become tough and relentless, be that guy that no one likes to play against, and make sure his presence is known, whether he is scoring the ball or not, then he could be the franchise player we've lacked since Reggie. If none of that happens, he is still a cornerstone piece for our future.

    Danny Granger - After his second year in the league, I thought he would eventually become my all time favorite NBA player. Now I'm trying to see where his future is with this team. Thats not to say I want to trade him, but the rest of the team is so young. I feel like if someone older is going to fit into that core, they need to be a leader, and Granger really hasn't shown that to me yet. I want to see that menace on defense we saw in his earlier years. If he can bring back that intensity on both ends of the floor, he will be a perfect fit with everyone. But if he is just going to shoot long 3's without trying to find a better shot and only play defense on occasion, then I would rather see what all is out there.

    Paul George - The kid everyone is talking about. You watch this kid for 5 minutes and you can see the potential. The fact that we could stick a rookie on the MVP in the playoffs, says a lot. This guy could be special, very special, but he has to work hard for any of it to show. Personally, I want this kid to work on being a play maker and creating his own shot this off-season. We don't need someone satisfied with shooting threes anymore. I expect a small jump offensively next year, then for him to take off in year 3.

    Darren Collison - Everyone was stoked the day that trade went down. I was too. We all thought we had finally found our PG. One season later and I'm not sold on him. I like Collison, he is a good player, but I'm not sure I saw him make anyone else better. Thats what I look for in a PG, someone who makes everyone else around them better, and I just didn't see Collison do that. That being said, he is young and could very well get to that point. If I'm Bird, I'm still trying to find a franchise PG though.

    Tyler Hansbrough - I'm not sure many players have more haters than Hansbrough. Even when he plays great, people find something to criticize. I've said from the moment we drafted him, he shouldn't be a starter - but he will likely be in the running for sixth man of the year at some point in his career. Its not even the talent part of why I'd prefer him on the bench, its that he would absolutely tear the other teams bench up. Not many guys can change a game coming off the bench, he can.

    AJ Price - Got a lot of hate around here, but I like the kid. The problem is the bench either sinks or swims with Price. He can come in and completely turn a game around by hitting 2 threes in a row, or he can come in and turn the ball over 2 times in a row. Regardless, he is a solid defender, and everything about him makes me think he's going to be that thorn in a teams side come playoff time. He is clutch and can heat up quickly, those players are always nice to have. Here is to hoping he can make better decisions with the ball and be useful all the time.

    Josh McRoberts - I'm hoping we can resign McRoberts. I like what he brings off the bench. That being said, I wanna move Hansbrough to the bench when possible, so I wouldn't want McRoberts on a long contract. When used right, he is very valuable though and he will actually probably have a fairly long NBA career for a second round pick.

    TJ Ford - I'm just going to ignore what he did or didn't do on the court here and say this: TJ Ford is the very definition of a class act. I wish him much success wherever he ends up. Also, I can see him being a good coach when all is said and done.

    Lance Stephenson - The way I see it is, Ron Artest owes us one(or many) and has said he wants to make it up to us. So, lets send Stephenson off to Artest's scare him straight program for the summer. With the way Bird talks about this guy, you'd think he'd be a hall-of-famer, so lets hope he can keep his head on straight from now on.

    Brandon Rush - Everyone here knows how much I love Brandon Rush, I am a sucker for defenders and Rush is a brilliant defender. I too get irritated with his offensive game because he has to tools to be much better than Granger offensively. Whatever the case may be, I love this kids defense and would love to have him on the Pacers for a long time. Great defenders who can hit the 3 are always nice to have in the playoffs as well.

    Dahntay Jones - I'm convinced he is a playoff guy. I don't like watching him during the season, but he always seems to make a name for himself in the playoffs. I won't hate having him on the roster for another season, he brings some veteran leadership that works with our youth.

    Jeff Foster - He's back! Man, the last two season I thought he was gone, this year he finally seemed to get part of his old self back. Re-up Foster for another year or two, then let him retire a Pacer. I would love to see this guy get a FO job after he's done playing.

    Solomon Jones - Another player who got a lot of hate. The thing is, he is a 12th-15th man, and as that, I like the guy. He doesn't really need to be playing much, but if we are in foul trouble, as far as 12-15th big men are, I think he is decent.

    Mike Dunleavy - I just don't like terrible defenders. He is funny and entertaining, but as a player I don't want him back. For a guy pegged as having a high basketball I.Q., he makes a lot of terrible decisions.

    James Posey - He needs to be on a Championship caliber team and thats pretty much all there is to it. He is just a shell of his former self, but could be useful on someone like the Heat or Celtics - again.

    The Off-Season:

    Finding a coach: I look around and see a lot of better coaching candidates than Frank Vogel. I see guys who have taken teams far, and know what is needed to get there. Frank Vogel is young and has very little experience.

    Here is the thing though. The players love him and will play hard for him. I want Jerry Sloan - and by that I mean I want a coach who will be with this team for decades. Frank Vogel seems smart enough to make the necessary adjustments. I'm a little worried as an intern he was doing what Bird wants more than what he did, but hopefully all those decisions were his. I would love to watch Vogel grow with this team. Some stability in the coaching, some harmony. Going with Vogel is a risk, but I think its a risk worth taking.

    I think Chuck Person is someone who could fit the description as a young coach that could grow with the team, but its still Vogel's job to lose.

    The Draft:

    As everyone knows, this isn't a strong draft, however, this is a draft where you can get the perfect role player to be with your team for a long time. Considering a few of those players should be available right around our pick, we got lucky that we could make the playoffs and still get someone valuable.

    Chris Singleton - Very rarely do you see a guy get praised for his defense as much as Singleton. This guy should be a lock down defender on the next level. Will never be a starter, but the type of guy who would have a role on every single team in the NBA.

    Bismack Biyombo - In my dream scenario, the Pacers somehow wind up with Biyombo. There is a very real chance this guy could bust, but if he becomes the player he is capable of becoming, he would be the PERFECT fit next to Hibbert. He has size, length, athleticism, and is an amazing defender. I'm drooling for this guy. I think Biyombo needs to go to a team that can develop him, in the wrong situation I think he will bust.

    Jimmer Fredette - I really hope the Pacers don't get caught up in what this guy did against poor competition in college. He was a great college player, but will be a horrible defender in the NBA and is not athletic enough to make some of the same plays he did in college against bigger and faster defenders. That being said, on the right team, he is a gym - like the Celtics. Backing up a player like Rondo, Fredette could come off the bench for 8 minutes and knock down two 3's because they have so much more talent on the floor. On the Pacers, he will fail miserably. We need to stay away from him.

    Kenneth Faried - One stat that always seems to translate well to the NBA is rebounding. Faried could carve himself a place on a team, much like Foster did here. I doubt he will ever be a start on a 60+ win team like Foster, but a glorified bench player is still a good player to have.

    Markieff Morris - Another solid bench player. I would be happy picking Markieff at 15, good defender and rebounder. I can kinda see him becoming a poor mans Antonio Davis.

    Alec Burks - This guy really intrigues me. He has very good tools to work with and is very young. He reminds me of a poor mans Brandon Roy, without the passing skills. I doubt he makes it to #15, actually I'm near positive he won't, but if some trade materializes, keep an eye on him.

    Enes Kanter - A player who will clearly be gone by our pick, but someone who would be an amazing fit next to Hibbert. He is probably in the top 3 on my big board(for the Pacers) based on what he could bring to the table next to Hibbert.

    Kendall Marshall - Obviously he is not available this year, but if anyone enjoys scouting like I do, watch this guy next season at UNC. He is one of the 5 best passers I have seen in my life RIGHT NOW. He is already getting compared to Mark Jackson. He doesn't have great athleticism, which will hurt his stock, but as a ball handler and distributer, he is absolutely amazing. Keep an eye on him.

    Just a few of the players available around #15(added a few before our pick). Coming into this draft I wanted to trade our pick, but the more I look at it, the more I want to acquire another pick. This draft has a lot of players that will play the Jeff Foster role on some teams, if we could pick up two of them, just to have as bench players, I would love it. Especially because I'm thinking picks are coming cheaper in this draft than they are in most.

    Realistic options via trade/FA:

    Note: By realistic I mean players that we could actually get, and by that I mean not Eric Gordon. Sorry to burst the 1,000 man crush bubbles going on around here, but the Clippers aren't trading him.

    Raymond Felton - With Ty Lawson seemingly set as the starter, the Nuggets can afford to trade Raymond Felton. I'm not sure what it would take, but if we can swing a trade where we send Collison to a third team and bring Felton here, we would need to pull the trigger. He is an amazing leader, very clutch, and a great defender. Think Chauncy Billups pre-Detroit.

    Josh Smith - If I had to guess, I'd say its mostly rumors and that he won't actually be traded. However, Josh Smith and Paul George next to each other would be really fun to watch.

    Ricky Rubio - Again, probably not going to get traded, especially not in that crazy rumored trade that the Wolves would never do. But if Kahn feels high enough on Flynn, then a Granger for Rubio type swap could make sense for both teams. Rubio hasn't lived up to the hype, but his court vision is amazing and should benefit both Hibbert and George moving forward. A more realistic trade than the rumored one is Granger/Collison/15 for Rubio/Beasley/2. I'd personally jump all over that, probably drafting Kanter. We would have a very promising, young core, that could potentially get much farther Collison and Granger could with us.

    Bismack Biyombo - Again, trade up and get this guy Bird! Perfect fit next to Hibbert. Just needs the right coaching.

    GMing this team:

    If I were the general manager, first thing I do is find a coach. Vogel is the first option, but obviously do the homework as well. I think the fact that the players want Vogel back is good enough reason to give him the job though.

    After that, I target finding a better fit at PG, my main target here would be Felton. Theres a good chance we won't be able to get someone better than Collison, but at least theres a few opportunities right now.

    I'd also try as hard as possible to get Biyombo. He will be a boom or bust player, but with the right coaching, he could be exactly what we need next to Hibbert. Honestly, probably a better Dale Davis if he reaches his potential.

    Lastly, I explore a few trades for Granger just to see if there is anyway to get a younger stud to go with the core. Granger isn't old by any means, but he is older than everyone else in the core by a few years, and unless he becomes a leader, we might be better off going with another young piece to add to the core. I wouldn't trade him unless it was a very good fit/deal.

    So, I'm all typed out. Like I said, I didn't get to any of these during the season so I merged it all into one. Hope ya'll enjoyed, but if not, hope it cured insomnia for some of ya'll. Later!

  • #2
    Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but I don't agree that Hibbert wants the ball in crunch time.


    • #3
      Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

      Originally posted by Trader Joe View Post
      I agree with a lot of what you said, but I don't agree that Hibbert wants the ball in crunch time.
      I definitely think he wants it. Thats not to say I think he is ready for it, but I definitely think he wants it. Everything he has done since arriving shows me that he wants to be the leader. He definitely needs to grow up mentally, and I don't think he demands the ball, but I think he wants it.


      • #4
        Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

        I agree with a lot of what you said too.

        I want to touch on the DC thing though. I've said a lot, that I think people were evaluating the PGs like they were veterans, this season. And they aren't. Both second year players, playing the hardest position on the floor. And neither, for various reasons, had been able to really grow up.

        There was a lot asked of DC this season. To me, he did a fairly good job. At the end of the day, I definitely think he'll be just as good as Felton, and I'd rather have the younger guy to go with the younger team. Granted, I'm not really enamored with Raymond Felton. I think people forget who he played for this season.

        A lot of our team is really young. Expecting consistency out of any of them's not going to happen. But I find, that watching a young team grow up is just as fun for a fan as watching a dominant team. (In fact, in many ways, more so..although maybe not while it's happening..)
        Last edited by Sookie; 05-23-2011, 12:23 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

          I'm with you on Kendall Marshall, he's great. That UNC team has to be the favorite next year and he's running the show. If he falls to us at 30 next year, I'd be ecstatic.

          It's nice to know there's another Brandon Rush fan out there as well, they don't come around often. He'll have a long career in the NBA if he wants one.

          I Love Larry


          • #6
            Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

            Good job.

            I really can't wait to see Collison and Price improve. They both could end up being really good PGs. Right now Collison is more consistent than Price. Typically he is either good for a full game or bad for a full game, while Price will hit both extremes within 2 minutes. Although I do think when Price was at his best he was better than Collison's best, but it typically was quickly contrasted by Price playing worse than Coliison's worst.


            • #7
              Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

              Originally posted by Dr. Awesome View Post
              I definitely think he wants it. Thats not to say I think he is ready for it, but I definitely think he wants it. Everything he has done since arriving shows me that he wants to be the leader. He definitely needs to grow up mentally, and I don't think he demands the ball, but I think he wants it.
              Maybe, I just don't see it. Admittedly it's an opinion based thing and we don't have enough evidence either way to back it up, but I think Roy has wilted in close games more than he has tried to raise himself to the occassion. That being said, he's still pretty young and has a chance to fix that.


              • #8
                Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                Awesome, since you aren't high on Collison (me neither; I think he's a stop-gap solution), what's your take on using our pick to acquire Felton vs. keeping Collison and picking a big PG (Jackson?) to groom? (I'm interested in Shumpert, but not at #15.)

                "I think if he is and we pass on Leaf we'd be some dumb mother ****ers."

                - Larry Bird to Kevin Pritchard before their pick on Draft Day


                • #9
                  Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                  Originally posted by DrFife View Post
                  Awesome, since you aren't high on Collison (me neither; I think he's a stop-gap solution), what's your take on using our pick to acquire Felton vs. keeping Collison and picking a big PG (Jackson?) to groom? (I'm interested in Shumpert, but not at #15.)
                  Jackson is my guy i really want to draft him at #15


                  • #10
                    Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                    Originally posted by DrFife View Post
                    Awesome, since you aren't high on Collison (me neither; I think he's a stop-gap solution), what's your take on using our pick to acquire Felton vs. keeping Collison and picking a big PG (Jackson?) to groom? (I'm interested in Shumpert, but not at #15.)
                    I would rather use Collison to acquire Felton. I like Jackson, his wingspan is incredible for a PG, but at the same time I am comfortable with Price as the backup PG. He is very clutch and come playoff time, I think he will be a thorn in the other teams side once he grows as a player. He obviously has a lot to work on, but the fact that he is as clutch as he is, has me intrigued.


                    • #11
                      Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                      I really don't understand everyone's love affair with Felton. Collison will be better than Felton, imo. They already have somewhat comparable numbers. I guess he's better defensively, but offensively Collison will end up being much better than Felton.


                      • #12
                        Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                        I think your analysys on most the players where spot on, but to give up one of the fastes or the fastes PG in the NBA is rediculous. He has had 2 teams, over 28 teamates, 3 coaches, 3 systems in 1 1/2 seasons and he has equal or better stats then John Wall. He is a very good FG shooter, Very Good FT shooter, a good 3pt shooter, creates very well, passes very well, a great ballhandler and a respectable T.O ratio. The only thing he really lacks is rebounding. His court vision needs improving but that will come sooner then you think, it helps to be in a system that one is familier with longer then 35 games. And he is like 4 million for 2 yrs. Great value. Gotta give him another year to be fair to everyone before pullin the trigger to get a mid-level in Felton.

                        I also think you under value Granger like most seem to. Where would the Pacers be without him. He cut his 3 pt shooting by like 2 per game since Vogel took over and was very effecient in the playoffs. He is one of the best SF in the league...Period! Look at any ranking. Usually always Top 5.
                        Garbage players get 1st round picks, (WTF)! All of the NBA must hate the Pacers! LOL


                        • #13
                          Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                          I dont see the benefit in moving Collison plus more for a slight upgrade at PG. Felton doesnt make us a championship contender. Let the young guys grow together.


                          • #14
                            Re: Dr. Awesome's Year in Review/Off-Season Thoughts.

                            if danny keeps playing again like he did in the playoffs (and like his AS season), i have no problems with him being the leader of this team.