Two years ago in the playoffs, Reggie was putting up 40 point games against Philly as the young guys stood around and we were flushed from the playoffs in the first round. Last season, he struggled and we blamed it on his foot injury that demanded surgery the off season. This year? I dunno. I"ve had friends tell me that they believe Reggie deliberately has deferred to other people, that he realized from the Philly series that he himself could not carry the team anymore and that when he we lighting it up, everyone else stood around.
I sort of buy into that. But in this playoff series, his performance was pretty disappointing to me. It's clear that Reggie brings some good things to the team, particularly outside shooting which they lack. But he also brings a lot of baggage. The fact is that Reggie's specter hangs over this team like a shadow. Seeing Jermaine put Reggies name on his shoe is touching in one way, but in another is sad.
I know many of you know me as a long time Reggie champion. I've been one of his most steadfast supporters. But I believe it's time to cut the cord. That doesn't mean benching Reggie. It means retiring Reggie. It means Bird taking him out to lunch over the summer and telling him it's over. I really don't think this team has what it takes to win the title, but I also think that if we're going to win it, we have to rely on JO and Artest, and with Reggie still out there the waters are muddied in terms of leadership. There's a time for verteran calm and there's a time for the hot blood of youth. Right now I think we need more of the latter. I think it's time for Reg to step aside for the good of the team and leave it to the next generation.
If Reggie won't do it and insists, we can still use him off the bench next year. Whatever it takes, I wouldn't trade him or send him elsewhere. He literally is our franchise player. He mean more to the Pacer organization that anyone ever has and we owe him. In this case though, I'm hoping he sees what he owe us and for the good of the organization quietly steps aside.