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Thread: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

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    Default Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

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    A series of poor decisions by team President Larry Bird has taken the Indiana Pacers from Eastern Conference contender to a team without an identity

    The Indiana Pacers are broken, and Larry Bird has ruined them.

    Even if they continue to play the Cleveland Cavaliers closely in the remaining games of their first-round series, this team’s window has closed. A young team that gave Miami’s Big 3 a serious scare in the 2013 and 2014 Eastern Conference Finals was disassembled piece by piece at the hands of Bird, culminating in the firing of head coach Frank Vogel this past offseason.

    Bird rightfully earned an Executive of the Year award in 2012 for his role in assembling the team that went to two straight Eastern Conference Finals. Stellar drafts that nabbed future all-stars Roy Hibbert, Paul George, and fringe candidate Lance Stephenson as well as nice trade and free agent acquisitions (George Hill and David West anyone?) gave the team a great, young core.

    Installing Frank Vogel as head coach gave the kids a hard-nosed leader who placed a premium on defense and hustle. Two Eastern Conference Finals in the ensuing years had this team in position to contend for an extended period.

    Still fresh off a Game 7 loss to the eventual champs in Miami, nobody could have forecasted that a grizzly injury Paul George suffered in a Team USA scrimmage in Vegas would derail the Pacers’ 2014-15 season.

    In part because of the freak injury, Indiana went from Eastern Conference powerhouse to mediocre in sixth months’ time. It was always going to be hard to contend when the Pacers were missing their superstar.

    But Bird had already weakened the team’s core before George’s injury when he played hardball with Lance Stephenson (fresh off a mostly excellent playoff run) and lost, watching the budding player leave via free agency to the Hornets for three years and $27million.

    It might have seemed like a lot at the time for a small-market franchise that had just given a max-contract to Paul George the previous offseason and had Hibbert on the books for $14.5 million a year as the team’s defensive anchor. That being said, $9 million a season for a young, core piece (one who hung tough with LeBron) on a contender was, at worst, the going rate and and, at best, a bargain.

    Predictably, the 2014-15 Indiana Pacers stumbled, finishing with a 38-44 record that saw them miss the playoffs. Without George and Stephenson, the offensive burden rested on point guard George Hill and offseason acquisition C.J. Miles. The Pacers were never going to win with Hill and Miles as focal points of their offense, but the two players did their parts by turning in career seasons on reasonable salaries.

    BIRD, TO HIS CREDIT, RECOGNIZED THE NEED TO BREAK UP THE OFFENSIVE CORE. AND THEN HE TRADED THE WRONG PLAYER.
    Frank Vogel earned praise for the job he did in guiding the Pacers to another top-10 defensive rating and narrowly missing the playoffs without a true star. There was a lot to like heading into the 2015-16 season. A healthy Paul George was back, as were Miles and Hill. The offseason pickup of scorer Monta Ellis and drafting of promising rookie Myles Turner gave Indiana its best offensive squad in George’s tenure, even if the defense was bound to take a step back with the offseason trade of Hibbert and non-tender to free agent David West.

    The question with all that offense was whether or not those parts fit together. The team finished the season with a 45-37 record and the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

    They eventually lost to a hungry Toronto team in a tough seven game series in the first round where their mismatched offensive parts looked confused. This highlighted the glaring split between the offensive and defensive identities of that team. While they finished with another top three defensive rating for the season, their offense was bottom five.

    Vogel’s teams are designed around defense and efficient offense. Bird had assembled a team of inefficient scorers who needed the ball in their hands.

    And here we are, with the Pacers again trailing LeBron and the Cavs in a playoff series. Only this time they don’t have the team to fight back and make it a series. They might take one at home, but this series will be over by the time the buzzer ends in Game 6.

    This year’s team once again had potential. Bird, to his credit, recognized the need to break up the offensive core. And then he traded the wrong player. Before the season George Hill was sent to Utah in a three-team trade that brought back point guard Jeff Teague from the Hawks.

    Teague is fine, and looked good most of the season, but he’s basically replicated what Hill offered, while Hill himself is a huge reason why the Utah Jazz made major strides this season. It would make a lot more sense to trade perennial chucker Monta Ellis and keep Hill. Of course, none of these moves would have mattered as much anyway had Bird not made his most questionable decision to date.

    Following last season’s Game 7 loss to the Raptors, Bird made the decision not to bring back head coach Frank Vogel, citing the need for a new voice. It was Vogel who allowed this team to overachieve last year, guiding them with his steady hand and focus on hard-work and defense. This year’s team slipped all the way to 16th on defense while only slightly improving offensively to 15th. Gone is the team’s identity, and that has shown more than ever in the Cavs series.

    The Pacers are lost on defense, forcing switches that have allowed LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to fully take advantage of mismatches. The gritty, physical Pacers team has been replaced by a team that looks lost on defense. Vogel would not have allowed this to happen.

    New coach Nate McMillan has been outcoached all series by Tyronn Lue. It was the coaching matchup where the Pacers usually had their biggest advantage. This lackluster Pacers’ team identity no longer lies in their coach. It lies in Bird; this is his mess.

    In a vacuum, some of Bird’s decisions make sense (and the Hibbert trade was the right move regardless), but this also shows Bird’s weakness. He didn’t see the big picture with this team and made reactionary moves in the moment.
    His team will lose the series to the Cavs because of his decisions and they’ll probably lose their star to free agency next year (if he doesn’t demand a trade before), if George’s recent postgame comments are any indicator. You have to wonder if that would still be the case were Vogel and Hill still in the spots now occupied by McMillan and Teague.
    Some good points but a little harsh on Bird, I don't mind Birds moves , (albeit Monta looks done now, but who could have saw that?)

    My bigger issue is if you thought a "new voice" was needed, then why bring in Nate? He should have kept Vogel, or at least made a gutsy move and took a chance on an up and commer
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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by 90'sNBARocked View Post
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    http://sircharlesincharge.com/2017/0...s-bird-ruined/



    Some good points but a little harsh on Bird, I don't mind Birds moves , (albeit Monta looks done now, but who could have saw that?)

    My bigger issue is if you thought a "new voice" was needed, then why bring in Nate? He should have kept Vogel, or at least made a gutsy move and took a chance on an up and commer
    Hindsight is always 20/20, but I think Bird's biggest weakness is that even though he preached patience, his acquisitions are all short sighted. He gets paid to not only look at the present nature of the team, but what they can accomplish in a few years time.

    I don't think the Hill trade was bad, no one wants to pay 25 million to a 30 year old Hill. However, I agree Pacers traded the wrong player and we should have somehow tried to trade Monta Ellis for someone that fit our team better.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    He writes this article like the Pacers had the choice of trading George Hill or Monta Ellis for Teague. Wasn't happening for Ellis. Article assumes a lot. Did we lowball Lance? I thought the offer we made was for more years at about the same $ per year. Very uninformed article.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by immortality View Post
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    Hindsight is always 20/20, but I think Bird's biggest weakness is that even though he preached patience, his acquisitions are all short sighted. He gets paid to not only look at the present nature of the team, but what they can accomplish in a few years time.
    I don't think Bird really has any interest in what happens in a few years time. I think his plan has been get the team set up to convince PG to re-sign then ride off into the sunset. we'll see how that goes obviously but once PG's decision's made either way I think Bird's done, obviously so if PG does leave.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
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    Did we lowball Lance? I thought the offer we made was for more years at about the same $ per year. Very uninformed article.
    No. Lance got offered every dime possible short of cutting teammates to free up money, which his former agent suggested to Bird.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Bird has certainly made his fair share of bad moves in the last couple years - signing Monta and Stuckey together, Chase Budinger??, and most glaringly, replacing Vogel with Nate McMediocre.

    But DWest chose to leave. Getting anything out of the ghost of Hibbert's past (Joe Young & no longer having Hibbert) was more a feather in the cap than a criticism. And Lance, as we all know, made his decision despite getting a fair offer from Bird, as well as all the support he would never find elsewhere.

    I'm not a fan of CJ Miles, but it's not a terrible signing, and this article is pretty dismissive of Teague's contributions (statistically a top-10 point guard) while being quite generous to George Hill for playing only half the season.

    I've always supported Bird for the most part. I feel very strongly that we'd be more in-line with pre-season expectations of roughly the 4th or at least 5th seed if Frank Vogel was still our coach, and it is the most damning mistake Bird has made in the last few seasons. I just don't buy that PG's broken leg, DWest ring-chasing, and the completely unpredictable collapse of Roy Hibbert is somehow Larry's fault. I think his time here will be decided by PG. I doubt Bird wants to start over.
    It's a new day for Pacers Basketball.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    When I look at the moves Bird made with my 20/20 hindsight I would say the Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis signings as well as Stuckey were the only bad signings I can think of. Everyone else is playing fine for what they make. I can't look at anyone else and say "He is way overpaid".

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    I find nothing here that I can disagree with. The new voice shouldn't have come from the departure of Vogel and hiring of Nate.....it should have come from the departure of Bird.
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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
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    When I look at the moves Bird made with my 20/20 hindsight I would say the Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis signings as well as Stuckey were the only bad signings I can think of. Everyone else is playing fine for what they make. I can't look at anyone else and say "He is way overpaid".
    I agree......the problem is that the AlJeff and Monta ( or Stuckey ) signings are that it hindered our ability to improve. I'm okay with signing EITHER Monta or Stuckey...but not both.

    I get back to the Old-School approach that Bird takes. Get as much talent as you can, throw it into the mixing pot, mix it up for a season and then hope that it tastes good by the ASB.
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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Bird picked Paul George and Miles Turner he's not all bad. He also built a contender just a few years ago. It wasn't his fault it fell apart.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    Bird picked Paul George and Miles Turner he's not all bad. He also built a contender just a few years ago. It wasn't his fault it fell apart.
    Sure....Bird laid the foundation but decided to use the wrong type of material to rebuild the rest of the house after the old one was dismantled.

    The problem is that we now have a hodge-podge lego house that looks like my 3rd Grade daughter built out of spare lego pieces that she found in the couch cushions.

    Technically, it's a lego house....but then one questions why part of the house is made up of space lego pieces, another part of the house is made up of Duplo lego pieces and you wonder why the roof is made up of lincoln logs.
    Last edited by CableKC; 04-19-2017 at 01:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    I easily believe it was Vogel's time to go. The question mark I'll always have is replacing him with McMillian. I have this thought McMillian was brought in for this job sooner rather than later to begin with and his ascending to the head spot was always a foregone conclusion. But that still doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake in the end to follow Vogel with McMillian, even if McMillian had been promised (or all but promised the HC spot in the near future).
    Nuntius was right for a while. I was wrong for a while. But ultimately I was right and Frank Vogel has been let go.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    I easily believe it was Vogel's time to go. The question mark I'll always have is replacing him with McMillian. I have this thought McMillian was brought in for this job sooner rather than later to begin with and his ascending to the head spot was always a foregone conclusion. But that still doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake in the end to follow Vogel with McMillian, even if McMillian had been promised (or all but promised the HC spot in the near future).
    pretty sure Frank specifically sought out McMillan and brought him on, Bird didn't foist him upon him or anything

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Actually, it was David West that kind of "ruined" the Pacers. His departure forced Larry to have to rebuild suddenly and unexpectedly.

    I'm not saying Larry's made the best moves since then, but West leaving forced Larry to do something he probably wasn't ready to do.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Besides, the Pacers aren't exactly what I would call "ruined." I feel like we're on the cusp of something, like we were the year before we signed David West. We need another West-type acquisition this offseason to move to the next level.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Besides, the Pacers aren't exactly what I would call "ruined." I feel like we're on the cusp of something, like we were the year before we signed David West. We need another West-type acquisition this offseason to move to the next level.
    unless we're on the cusp of Giannis we're not moving to any next level

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
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    When I look at the moves Bird made with my 20/20 hindsight I would say the Al Jefferson and Monta Ellis signings as well as Stuckey were the only bad signings I can think of. Everyone else is playing fine for what they make. I can't look at anyone else and say "He is way overpaid".
    I agree. These were really the only moves I questioned. Personally, I liked the Al Jefferson signing for the second unit. All of Bird's previous moves, I saw the basketball reasons behind them, so I can't complain.

    In a way, I don't think Bird has found the right coach for his rosters and got lucky with Vogel.


    Remember when we could have gotten 1-2 solid players and a possible Top 3 draft pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by trading away Paul George?

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    My problems with Bird since he's been in charge, JOB.

    Not trading Hibbert and West sooner.

    The Al Jefferson contract.

    I think that's it.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Actually, it was David West that kind of "ruined" the Pacers. His departure forced Larry to have to rebuild suddenly and unexpectedly.

    I'm not saying Larry's made the best moves since then, but West leaving forced Larry to do something he probably wasn't ready to do.
    West did us a favor. Problem was the money saved went to Ellis and Stuckey. Had the Kings not been the Kings, Ellis and LaVoy would be Kings. But chose less money to be Pacers.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Being a small market team that are perennial play-off team, hard to say we were ruined. We could be a lot worse. The only thing missing from the last two years is there just isn't anything to get excited about with this team. Yes there is Turner, outside of that what do we have to look forward to? Outside of Turner, the only thing I can get excited about is the end of next year when Ellis and Al Jeff can go away

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by freddielewis14 View Post
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    My problems with Bird since he's been in charge, JOB.

    Not trading Hibbert and West sooner.

    The Al Jefferson contract.

    I think that's it.
    You think Bird should have traded West and Hibbert sooner? Interesting. I thought their departures was good timing. The league changed on Hibbert pretty much that following season (it's so weird how quickly one season changed players like Hibbert into immediate role/bench players). West's departure gave Indiana some unexpected cap space.


    Remember when we could have gotten 1-2 solid players and a possible Top 3 draft pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by trading away Paul George?

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by ksuttonjr76 View Post
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    You think Bird should have traded West and Hibbert sooner? Interesting. I thought their departures was good timing. The league changed on Hibbert pretty much that following season (it's so weird how quickly one season changed players like Hibbert into immediate role/bench players). West's departure gave Indiana some unexpected cap space.
    Had he made a trade a year sooner when PG went down we could have gotten so much more. We were coming off of ECF (but also the collapse). But many on this board said both Hib and West were done and we should get rid of them while we could get assets.

    I didn't believe. I wanted to make another run with that squad, I was wrong.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by jrwannabe View Post
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    West did us a favor. Problem was the money saved went to Ellis and Stuckey. Had the Kings not been the Kings, Ellis and LaVoy would be Kings. But chose less money to be Pacers.
    Larry should've traded West for Terrence Ross when he was offered the chance.

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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by ksuttonjr76 View Post
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    You think Bird should have traded West and Hibbert sooner? Interesting. I thought their departures was good timing. The league changed on Hibbert pretty much that following season (it's so weird how quickly one season changed players like Hibbert into immediate role/bench players). West's departure gave Indiana some unexpected cap space.
    I get your point, but then I see someone like DeAndre Jordan , and he is still relevant
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    Default Re: Larry Bird Ruined The Indiana Pacers

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
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    Besides, the Pacers aren't exactly what I would call "ruined." I feel like we're on the cusp of something, like we were the year before we signed David West. We need another West-type acquisition this offseason to move to the next level.
    Fully agree. Would like a better showing in the playoffs right now to be a little more attractive to potential targets. And it's going to take some creative maneuvering to make cap space for a real impact. But I still like the core of Teague, Turner, and PG, and I feel with another all-star and more time together, something special can come of that trio. Getting rid of Monta and AlJeff are the first step toward that, and it's going to be difficult.
    It's a new day for Pacers Basketball.

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