I don't normally read Bob Kravitz. I've read maybe three articles in the past year and I only read them because they were posted here. Todays article wasn't posted on here, (at least I haven't seen it) rather I found out about it from an email.
Of course he's stiring the pot as usual, but I think he's writing what most of us are thinking.
March 31, 2006
Here are more Pacers to retire
Have they ever missed Reggie Miller more than they do now? Who would have thought the Indiana Pacers, once mentioned as a bona fide title contender, would so desperately need this old man, with his spindly legs and his professionalism and his huge heart?
At this time last season, when the post-brawl madness had this franchise reeling, Miller put the Pacers on his back and willed them into the NBA playoffs. Now, with the Pacers falling to the ranks of the sub-mediocre, with Jermaine O'Neal hurt again and Jamaal Tinsley intent on playing his way out of Indianapolis, the only place to find Miller's jersey was high in the rare air of the Conseco Fieldhouse rafters.
From Boom-Baby to Boo-Baby.
A shame, really.
The least these Pacers could have done on Reggie's night was honor him by playing like they still cared. Instead, they looked like what they've become over time: a bored, boring team that has become as unlikable as last year's overachievers were inspiring.
About a half-hour before the game, Miller was asked, "What do you think of this (Pacers) team?''
He paused. A pregnant pause. An eight-months' pregnant kind of pause. Then he smiled.
"It's hard to figure out,'' he said delicately. "You really can't tell. Until everybody is healthy and plays a certain amount of games together . . . I mean, Jermaine (O'Neal) is hurt, Jamaal (Tinsley) has been hurt, Freddie (Jones) has been out for a while. Until they get their core group of guys together and get some practice time, which is going to be tough with the playoffs coming up, I think it remains to be seen.''
That's when Cheryl, Reggie's sister and a former hoops legend, did some translation.
"That's a nice way of saying they suck,'' she said loudly.
Then she covered her mouth with her hands.
"That's why she gets paid the big bucks,'' Reggie said.
"My bad,'' Cheryl said.
"I was trying to be politically correct here,'' Reggie said. Then, referring to the bombastic Charles Barkley, he turned to his sister. "C'mon, Charles.''
At least someone was speaking the truth.
It would have been a wonderful, beautiful night, if only they had dispensed with actually playing the game. Miller joined the Pacers' ABA greats, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Bobby Leonard and George McGinnis, becoming the first NBA Pacer to earn the franchise's honor. Then his old teammates went out and stunk up the joint.
Against a Phoenix team that had lost its two previous games by a combined 60 points.
By early in the fourth quarter, there was an unusual sight to behold: empty seats, hundreds of them, even thousands, fans having long ago given up on this game and this team.
Could you blame them?
When Miller left here one season ago, this seemed like a franchise with a glimmer of a future. Granted, the hope was tenuous, left in the unsteady hands of the wrong man, the dearly departed Ron Artest. Now, with Artest gone and several players looking as if they've cashed it in, the Pacers have reached the point where unless they have a miracle renaissance these final weeks, they need to retire a couple of other jerseys.
Start, please, with Tinsley's No. 11. He's never been healthy and he's never going to stay healthy. And even when he's fully ambulatory, his shooting and decision-making are atrocious. The next time he stops an opponent's dribble penetration, it will be the first.
He would have been dealt long ago, except he was a base-year compensation player, meaning the Pacers would get only 50 percent value in return. That won't be an issue for Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh this summer.
They need to retire Stephen Jackson's No. 1 jersey.
Jackson isn't completely deserving of all the scorn he has received from Indiana fans. The fact is, he has continued to play -- a novelty on this roster -- and he has never had the chance to do the job he was brought here to do: play the two-guard and work as the Pacers' third scoring option.
Still, he's too inconsistent, too volcanic, yapping at officials while his opponent roams unguarded.
They need to think, hard, about retiring Jermaine O'Neal's No. 7 -- assuming they can get some value in return.
He has played -- and not played -- his way out of untouchable status. O'Neal says all the right things, but he doesn't always follow those compelling words with deeds. He may have become the face of the franchise after Miller left, but he's a long way from being its heart.
Optimally, it would have been nice to see how the "normal'' starting five -- Tinsley, Jackson, Jeff Foster, Peja Stojakovic and O'Neal -- could have operated together. Now, with only 11 regular-season games left and very few chances to practice, it looks like Bird and Walsh will never really have a complete picture. You get the sense, though, the brain trust has seen quite enough.
What was Cheryl Miller saying?
Uncle Reggie isn't coming back to save the day. Not anymore.