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Thread: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

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    Default Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    An opposing team's scout sizes up the Pacers

    I don't see this team going anywhere soon ...

    It all starts with their best player, Jermaine O'Neal, and he's in a place where they don't know if he's going to be there at the end of the year, because they would probably like to move him after shopping him during the summer. At 29, Jermaine is a guy who is on the downslope of his career. He isn't old but he's been playing in the league for a long time, and from a physical standpoint his body is breaking down more and more. So long as he lingers on that roster, their team will have no momentum with no upswing. What you see with veteran players like Jermaine is when they don't feel like they've got enough talent around them and the team doesn't have a real chance of winning, then they don't bring it every night. This year you'll probably see Allen Iverson playing harder in Denver than he did in Philadelphia, and you'll see Paul Pierce playing harder alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen than he did when he was playing with Al Jefferson and Delonte West ...

    Jermaine doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to being a determined leader who sets a good example for his young teammates. The problem is he's due to make $19.7 million this year with a total of $64 million remaining over the three years on his contract. That's a lot of money for someone whose productivity has been in decline. Garnett makes similar money, but at least he's a warrior; you wouldn't say the same thing about Jermaine O'Neal. The only team that's going to trade for him is a team that's on the verge of winning, a team that's desperate to win now. And even then, Indiana would probably have to take back a ton of junk in bad contracts ...

    You could say O'Neal has extra mileage on his body because he came to the NBA straight out of high school, but then again he didn't play a lot during his initial four years in Portland. In any case, his body has deteriorated in recent years, though maybe part of it has to do with him losing his edge, his competitive spirit. That team was on a competitive run for a long time, but ever since Ron Artest's brawl in Detroit, they haven't been in the running. The other thing you see in O'Neal is that when guys get older, a lot of them learn they can take jumpers and score out on the perimeter and so they quit taking the ball to the rack. They all do it as a preservation tool, either because they don't want to get in great shape or they don't want to risk injury. It's like cheating a little bit in that they don't play with the same tenacity. O'Neal still has those good low-post, back-to-the-basket moves, especially on the left block coming over his left shoulder. But he's doing that less and taking the jumper more often. He's been getting hurt so much in recent years that it's like he's learned to play a different way ...

    The Pacers tried to turn a corner last year by getting rid of their troublemaker Stephen Jackson in the trade with Golden State. The problem is that it didn't improve their team talent-wise. Ike Diogu, Troy Murphy or Mike Dunleavy has got to step up from a PR standpoint as much as anything, to show their fans that not only did we get rid of trouble but we actually got some talent out of the trade ...

    So who can they rebuild around? It's not going to be Dunleavy, Murphy, Jamaal Tinsley or Jeff Foster. I don't see anybody to serve as a bridge to the future if they take Jermaine off the team. They have no identity, no presence. The only way I see them accomplishing anything this year is if somehow there's a cohesiveness on the team, and despite everything they just go out and play hard while guys like Tinsley and Danny Granger have breakout years. That's asking a lot ...

    I see Granger as an underachiever. He's still waiting to have a breakout year. He disappears for long periods of time. He'll put together two nice plays and then it will be another quarter before he makes his next nice play. There's a lack of urgency with him, and you don't see him playing hard or aggressive all of the time ...

    Now that Larry Bird is in charge of their basketball operations, you'll see him leaning on his scouts much as he did as coach of the Pacers when he leaned on Rick Carlisle and Dick Harter. That's no criticism whatsoever; he'll manage the situation and draw from the opinions of those he trusts. You would have to say he hasn't made any jaw-dropping or flamboyant moves yet ...

    I'm not sure what to make of coach Jim O'Brien. In Boston he was a breath of fresh air compared to Rick Pitino, so you can see why his players responded there. But then he went to Philadelphia with a domineering personality. That was a group of people at that franchise who had been there for a long time, they were kind of like family, and he came in with an attitude -- and next thing you know they're all ready to run him out of there. I suspect he's learned heavily from that situation, and he'll use this job to prove he can learn from his mistakes ...

    The first thing he'll do is try to establish Jermaine early, for two reasons -- first because his best chance of winning is to get the best player on his side, and second because if Jermaine is doing well, then more teams may call with trade offers for him. They'll want to make him look as enticing as possible for other teams in the league. He'll try to create big roles for Dunleavy and Murphy, and then it will come down to what kind of year Tinsley has ...

    Tinsley is on the wild side and I don't see him as a Jim O'Brien-type player. They've been very patient with him, but that's probably because they couldn't get anything for him in a trade. It's not like they're getting a lot of calls for him, so they'll have to continue to be patient. He has a lot of issues. He isn't the example of a professional if you watch his off-court stuff, so that while people may respect his talent, they won't necessarily respect him as a leader or teammate. Rick Carlisle couldn't trust him because he was a turnover waiting to happen, but in fairness to Tinsley, Carlisle has always been a coach who needs to control his team -- and so too has been O'Brien. Tinsley likes to play up and down, and in some ways he's at his best that way, and opponents fear him getting into his rhythm because he plays like a street player. But it can also be detrimental to the team because he makes so many mistakes ...

    Dunleavy can't guard quick perimeter players. He's a skilled, talented guy, but the skills don't translate into production. He's a smart guy, he knows what to do. But he's like an expensive car that can't get out of first gear. What he really needs is to find a really good team and then serve as the No. 5 starter or -- even better -- the sixth man on a team that knows what it's doing. You would love to play him off the bench against second-tier players whose athleticism will be a notch lower, and that will enable Dunleavy to put his smarts and skills into play. He could be the leader and playmaker of that second unit because he is at heart a complementary player. We all have to get over the fact that he was the third pick in the draft and see him for what he really is ...

    Murphy has tried it a lot of different ways. I've seen him bulk up and try to be a power player, then he's lost weight and tried to put the ball on the floor. What he is is a high-post elbow shooter with three-point range who I'm sure O'Brien will put to use. ...

    Diogu was a fan favorite at Golden State, an undersized power player people have forgotten about. If he could establish himself in the low post with a Malik Rose-style game, he could be a surprise for them ...

    Jeff Foster is very steady, the kind of floor-runner and rebounder everybody would love to have on their team ...

    Question marks are Marquis Daniels, with his decision-making, and David Harrison, who I'm not a fan of at all. Not only does he have injury issues with his shoulders but he's a bomb waiting to explode, a highly, highly volatile guy. [Indiana player personnel director] Mel Daniels loved him and has been his biggest cheerleader, and there must be something promising about him because otherwise they wouldn't have kept him. But every time I see him, it seems like he's involved in a near-fight with an opponent or he's being agitated because fans are letting him have it. I can't tell you how many times I've seen him having to be held back by his teammates, and one night in particular he lost it so badly it was like he was in a different world. I just don't think what he brings is worth putting up with that kind of stuff ...

    Who knows what Shawne Williams will turn into, but I'm sure they were disappointed by his recent legal trouble. The Pacers are probably thinking, Can we ever get away from these kinds of problems? It's hard to sell that kind of stuff to fans in Indiana ...

    I would be surprised if they are able to overcome what I see as this mood on the team that this group of players is not going anywhere. I think it's embedded in their organization, and that they can't go anywhere until they decide to fully commit to rebuilding, which will mean getting rid of some people -- starting with Jermaine. It's like if you're dating a girl and you know you're going to break up with her. Why prolong it? The sooner you break it off, the sooner you can get over her and move on. There's no reason to be going to all of the trouble in this league unless you're trying to win.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I disagree with what the scout says regarding the team having a mentality of "we aren't going anywhere". I don't buy that at all. I know they aren't stupid and aren't fooling themselves into saying they're contenders, but I think they believe they can win games and be a playoff team.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Are we sure Naptown Seth didn't write that?

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I have feeling the comment about Harrison losing it so badly that he was in 'another world' might be the time he was knocked silly with a concussion in Memphis(?) and nobody at the time realized exactly what the problem was as he appeared to wander aimlessly at the timeout.

    I suppose unless you were a regular Pacer viewer and fan who followed that situation from its inception and thrn thru the local media to actually know what had happened, you might have a different idea about what you saw.

    And maybe that's not what he's talking about but I don't remember ever thinking Harrision was just 'in another world' with any of his 'issues' I've seen on the court or bench. That's not to say overall that the writer isn't correct in Harrison needing to control his temper/emotions better.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    This scout seems to contradict every quote we have heard locally from all Pacers. His views are superficial in my opinion-to the point of what is probably the opinion of the Pacers at this time from many people. However, I would almost call this article "dated" in some ways as he's basically promising more of the same as the end of last year. If that is the case, then changes will be made I'm sure.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    when they don't feel like they've got enough talent around them and the team doesn't have a real chance of winning, then they don't bring it every night.
    Somebody forgot to mention this to JO. By far his best EFFORT has come the last 2 seasons, reaching highs in assists, piling up tons of shot blocks and leading the team in charges (in fact getting into the list of top charge guys in the entire league).

    Hardly phoning it in, and this despite plenty of good reason to do so (if there is such a thing as a good reason to phone in your high salary job).


    The other thing you see in O'Neal is that when guys get older, a lot of them learn they can take jumpers and score out on the perimeter and so they quit taking the ball to the rack.
    JO specifically had his game 8 rant because he was being asked to play out of the high post all the time, his FTAs were way down at that point. After the rant his FGAs stayed THE SAME, but his FTAs went right back up to his normal strong level. In other words, taking it to the rack and often with plenty of guys on him. He's ALWAYS been a mix of jumpers and play at the rim, ala KG or Bosh even. No way that's gotten worse.
    But he's doing that less and taking the jumper more often.
    Again, not true. Slower due to injury, sure. But his outside to inside ratio IMO runs close to the same. I'd have to see actual numbers disproving this to buy it, and I'm certain this guy doesn't have them.

    Tinsley likes to play up and down, and in some ways he's at his best that way, and opponents fear him getting into his rhythm because he plays like a street player. But it can also be detrimental to the team because he makes so many mistakes ...
    True, and hardly a secret. Rick preferred to contain the mistakes at the loss of Mel Mel rolling. There is hope from hardline Tins supporters that JOB will release the beast but so far we haven't really seen it. I have no problem calling him the wild card, we've been saying it for years.


    His scouting of Dun is dead-on and I think full of compliments, not just negatives. Dun isn't as fast as SGs like Redd or Wade and I'd have to question the sanity of anyone suggesting otherwise. So he's not the quick perimeter player you like to have at SG, but he is smart as this guy mentions. Dun is THE KEY to this team IMO. If he has the 3 going and if he can raise his athletic game enough to keep it from hurting more than his smarts helps, then the Pacers will probably surprise some people.

    I'd say this guy probably agrees with that and simply thinks that Dun doesn't have that level of athletic ability (mostly speed and hops in this case) to do that. I'm not as certain. So far in preseason he's hinted at being improved over last year.


    Question marks are Marquis Daniels, with his decision-making,
    Err, what? Quis has one real hole, his 3pt shot. Well two if you count injury concerns. Otherwise I ask "what's the problem?"


    Harrison he nails, but we all know the book on him by now too.


    Shawne he just pathetically brushes aside on the driver's license/plates "outrage". Who gives a s***, seriously? If you like Danny how can you not also like Shawne? He's way more important than hinted at here.


    I would be surprised if they are able to overcome what I see as this mood on the team that this group of players is not going anywhere. I think it's embedded in their organization,
    Did he forget JOB suddenly? Mood will not be the issue. Talent limits are the issue, along with injuries to top guys like JO, Tins, Quis, Troy and Jeff, all of whom seem certain to miss 8 games or more based on recent history and the start to this season.

    The thing is that he mentions just how big a mood change JOB brought in the past, so much so that Philly didn't want him there. But then he forgets about it in this portion?



    Look, I agree with him that that team seemingly has little reason to be expected to outperform last year, but I disagree that it's "oh hell, just punt on this Titanic team now" time either. As much as I expect a tough season, JOB alone and the promise of Dun, Danny, Shawne and Ike are enough for me to see a light at the end of the tunnel possibly.

    No way you chalk this up as "just trade JO now, you're F'd".

    This scout seems to contradict every quote we have heard locally from all Pacers.
    Having just said that, on the flipside let's not just eat up the spoonfed local hype machine either. There is a reason that national outlets contradict what the Pacers have to say about things - the national reporters aren't trying to sell seats to local fans.

    I don't even think Mark, Bruno and Mike are spinning for the Pacers like many posters do, but there is no denying that they, like us, are big targets for the Pacers spin machine. TPTB want to impress them so they'll say great things that then impress us. The national guys are out of the loop both on inside details AND the glad-handing hype.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 10-24-2007 at 02:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Bball, you must not have heard the Denver story when AB1077, myself and our buddy we're sitting row 2 about 10 feet from the ultimate Hulk-out. It didn't make the broadcast due to camera angle and then a foul timeout commercial break.

    We seriously felt fear for the ref and anyone else that looked at him funny. I though they weren't going to get him off the court safely. You know in cartoons when guys have steam coming out of their ears? If it had happened that night I honestly wouldn't have been surprised.

    David did get screwed on the deal; it wasn't that he got mad, it was just how out of control mad he got.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    What team does this guy scout for? Especially after reading tbird's scouting descriptions, this article seems pretty shallow and focuses way too much on motivation and internal thought processes rather than actual play from the preseason.

    Of course, the article could have been written before the preseason started, but that seems like a bit of a risk to me.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Well, everyone here knows the players much much more than even most scouts. When he analyses individual players, OK, he gets some things right but then relies on "instinct" about other issues where he comes up a little short.

    But then when he talks about the culture of the Pacers, and the internal motivations of the players, he's completely out to lunch. In the end, I wonder why that information is important in the first place. It won't help other teams beat us.

    Hopefully none of our guys care enough to read this crap.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    BillS and I ride together.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    It is obvious this writer has to write a article on the pacers and did little to no research on the team and went off old incidents and past play.

    No where did he mention how the team was doing so far and who had improved and what to watch out for from this team.

    He just focused on the negatives from former players and basically said JO is on the decline. I wish I had my 5 min back from reading that hogwash

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    It is easier to focus on the negative side of things and he (Ian) dwells on it far too much. It seems like he wrote this piece before the pre-season. If I was any of the players I would just disregard it or better yet use it as motivation this season.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I think that's probably the most accurate analysis on Mike Dunleavy from any national (non-local) writer I've seen.

    Perhaps he can get out of 1st gear in Indy, but that paragraph pretty much described his career in GS. Had visible skills, but they just didn't translate into consistent production. Probably best suited as a 6th man (just like Al Harrington, in all honesty).

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I thought the article was fair, but six months late. Write this at the end of last season, and it would be hard to disagree with. As it is, I thought he missed the boat quite a bit, but those weaknesses have already been pointed out.

    This, though, I get. Not sure I totally agree, but I get it.

    I think . . . that they can't go anywhere until they decide to fully commit to rebuilding, which will mean getting rid of some people -- starting with Jermaine. It's like if you're dating a girl and you know you're going to break up with her. Why prolong it? The sooner you break it off, the sooner you can get over her and move on. There's no reason to be going to all of the trouble in this league unless you're trying to win.
    I've felt that way before, no doubt.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I don't have time right now to breakdown what was said in that article, but there was a lot of stuff I agree with - just a lot of insight

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    I have feeling the comment about Harrison losing it so badly that he was in 'another world' might be the time he was knocked silly with a concussion in Memphis(?) and nobody at the time realized exactly what the problem was as he appeared to wander aimlessly at the timeout.

    I suppose unless you were a regular Pacer viewer and fan who followed that situation from its inception and thrn thru the local media to actually know what had happened, you might have a different idea about what you saw.

    And maybe that's not what he's talking about but I don't remember ever thinking Harrision was just 'in another world' with any of his 'issues' I've seen on the court or bench. That's not to say overall that the writer isn't correct in Harrison needing to control his temper/emotions better.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I don't have time right now to breakdown what was said in that article, but there was a lot of stuff I agree with - just a lot of insight

    Same here, I agreed with the majority of his assessments. The Marquis bit I didn't neccesarily agree with. I've never felt like he had alot of holes in his game. His problem is staying healthy.

    Obviously the tone of the article is slanted towards the Pacers not doing so well this year. But pretty much everyone who doesnt wear the blue and gold tinted glasses believes that too.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Look what JOB has done. He has made the Pacers work, turned the locker room from a playhouse to a basketball training pit, and has installed defense. The 76ers were a bunch of thugs who couldn't stand his harsh training schedules and his up tempo demanding style of ball play. It wasn't his fault(In a indirect way..but you get my point) he got booted .

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Just another bad article from someone who has not watched a Pacer game or practice since last year.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I don't think it was such a bad article at all. I thought it mentions some very valid points. I would prefer to have Dun Dun play as our 6th man, adding playmaking and passing ability to our second squad and indeed beying less at a disadvantage against the average opposing backups athletically compared to the startes he would face-off against. Then add to that that we could play him more at his natural SF position aswell.

    Eitherway, I view him as one of the important factors for us this year, together with JO, Quis and Tinsley remaining (relatively) healthy, Danny, Shawn and Ike progressing and Troy beying better or atleast tougher on defense and maybe most important ... the team accepting, enjoying and "getting" JOB's new system and his way of doing things.
    Last edited by Mourning; 10-25-2007 at 06:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    I thought the article was fair, but six months late. Write this at the end of last season, and it would be hard to disagree with. As it is, I thought he missed the boat quite a bit, but those weaknesses have already been pointed out.
    I agree - I have a hard time disagreeing with anyone who thought the team mailed in some games late last year - or that JO has taken to shooting a LOT more from outside - and with pretty poor results (his shooting % is abysmal for a post player).

    Can't dog someone too bad for doing a season preview based on last year - what else does he have to go by? However I do think he should have put more into an alternative scenario - a new coach who may reenergize the team and get them to re-commit themselves. That happens quite a bit and if it does the Pacers have a good shot at being a .500, or slightly above, team.
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Definitely agree he should have a segment about the possibility of a new coach and system yielding positive results. We who have payed attention to the preseason know there are indicators of improvement over the morass that was last season.

    However, you have to admit there are still plenty of reasons not to be convinced, too:
    1) It's only preseason.
    2) Outside one game our FG% is still awful.
    3) IMO our perimeter D is still God-awful (Gs being able to control penetration)
    4) JO and Murph are already on the bench nursing injuries
    5) Dun at SG is far from ideal
    6) Insert any other concern here

    We can see that the attitude and effort seems like night and day under JOB. That's a start. Until we see some games with meaning, though, I'm not going to make any final decision. I am encouraged by what I've seen, but it's to early to tell. Who's to say the new attitude won't crumble if we struggle out of the gate? Remaining cautiously optimistic but prepared for anything.

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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    I love how everybody's blasting this guy as ignorant, when this is what the man does for a living, scout opposing teams. Yes, maybe he hasn't watched them this preseason, but come on. This shows that it's not just the media that's down on us, others in the league are too. Now, you sunshiners should take that as a plus, that they're underestimating us.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

  24. #24
    Cheeseburger in Paradise Los Angeles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    I love how everybody's blasting this guy as ignorant, when this is what the man does for a living, scout opposing teams. Yes, maybe he hasn't watched them this preseason, but come on. This shows that it's not just the media that's down on us, others in the league are too. Now, you sunshiners should take that as a plus, that they're underestimating us.
    I would expect him to get fired, because as a scout he spends too much time on intangibles like "desire" and "will".

    I can imagine what it's like in the office: "Coach, you don't need a game plan against the pacers because they don't believe that they are going to win ... oh and if you could, please make out the check to "cash" ... I don't want to go into a higher tax bracket. Have a great weekend! Bye!"

    A scouting report begins and ends in USEFUL information. This one has some useful information, but it is contaminated by useless information.
    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

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  25. #25
    The Doctor's In The House TheDon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ian Thomsen's Pacers Scouting Report (SI.com)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gyron View Post
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    Are we sure Naptown Seth didn't write that?
    say what ya want about Naptown Seth, i'll admit a couple of times after pacers losses or other low times in the recent history of the pacers the last thing I wanted to read was some of his posts. Usually though he's pretty levelheaded on what's going on and is more of a realist that knows what he's talkin about more often then not. It's a nice change of pace from the all the sunshiners at times.

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