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Thread: Identity Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

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    Default Identity Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    In the "Four Questions..." thread, sCleva wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Cleva View Post
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    The issue for (the) Indiana (Pacers) is bigger than JO - it's that they haven't fully embraced an identity as a franchise. A direction and style of play they will stick to for the long haul, not just a couple of seasons.

    In Boston you got the grit. Where team unity and the Celtic way is bigger than any player. Where history is always hanging over the door. Where iconic players are a must. They are successful they have embraced that - from the 60s, the 80s and now. Bad times were when they just were trying anything. No they didn't have the stars but they were trying uptempo, or young guys, or tanking for picks. Got to just going for broke with stars and they are back again. 16 titles.

    With LA, you know you are going to get exciting, uptempo basketball. They draft players for style, acquire coaches, make trades - everything is done in a Hollywood manner. 14 titles.

    For SA, they have embodied the style and class of their franchise player Davd Robinson and it trickled down to Popovich and Duncan. Now, its impossible to imagine the Spurs not having a roster where character isn't important, where they play a defensive style game and excel in the mental aspect. 4 titles.

    Detroit always is at their best with their lunchpale, hardnose mentality that is embraced by their fan base. Where after they knock you down they are more likely to spit on you than help you up. 3 titles.

    Whats more, everyone knows what to expect when they go to these franchises - from top on down, regardless of coach or star, they know what it means to play "Celtics/Lakers/Pistons Basketball". To exert that will on a team.

    For short period of times, other franchises attached themselves to a style and had success - Knicks under Riley/JVG, Miami under Riley/everyone he threw under a buss, Sac under Adelman, Phoenix under D'Antoni until Kerr got there. For the Pacers to find success they need to match a vision with the ideals of ownership and their fanbase and then make every player, coaching, and management move to support that. If not, it will be forever mediocrity. For a while, with Reggie in his prime the Pacers had it but that style has gone far to the wayside.

    So back to JO - Indiana needs to come to a hard line of figuring what style of play and what direction they want their franchise to be - not in 1 or 2 years, but in 10 years ...
    I've been thinking about this very issue since about a month before the season ended, and 2Cleva's right. I remember my Pacers of the 80's and 90's being a pretty solid, fundamental basketball team that relied on a motion offense. We had screeners and cutters and slasher. There was a pretty strong 3-pronged offense that put Rik Smits, Reggie Miller and Mark Jackson all on the map. If you doubled up on Rik, he'd kick the ball out to Reggie who'd drain the 3. If you defended Reggie well enough, he'd get the ball back in Jax' hands where he'd either get inside the lanes for the score or he'd find somebody else to do it. And Rik...what can I say. When the guy's feet weren't killing him he had some of the smoothest post moves I'd ever saw. And then there was toughness!

    The Davis Boys were a true defensive force to be reckoned with.

    And least not forget this team did have its share of shooters. Besides Reggie, there was Chuck Persons, Sam Perkins and Chris Mullins. But Reggie was Mr. Clutch.

    So, what's the identity of Pacers basketball now? Under RC, it became a series of half-court sets. Alittle slow for my taste, but it was effective...for a while until the wheels fell off (brawl, Testies trade demand... ). But I believe Bird made the right choice to hire Jim O'Brien as the next coach. He comes across as the type of guy who won't hold any punches with his players. I also believe that he, like RC, has that unique ability to tap into the team's strengths and try to use them to their advantage. That's why I wasn't too hard on him when he made the switch; he knew it was this team's best chance to win ball games. Still, 2Cleva is correct. Coming into last season the only thing most people identified this team with was off-court troubles. But that's about to change.

    Bird started the process of getting back to Pacers basketball last season when he hired JOB. Herb Simon has stepped in to lead the way, to outline the standards and set the tone. It's up to Jim Morris to market those ideals, those Pacers traditions, to the fans, for Bird and Morway to find the players who will uphold those ideals and for JOB to bring focus and clarity to the players on those ideals. When all of those things come together is when "Pacers basketball" will return.
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 06-12-2008 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    In short?

    Doesn't matter. The identity will change again when JOB is shown the door, which is a matter of when not if. He's not a long term coach. He's a bandaid, and a bad one at that.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    I like the way you form the question: teams with dynasties seem to always win the same way, even across decades and with complete changes of line-up. You can switch Tim Duncan for David Robinson but the Spurs are the same kind of team. In Detroit, Lambier gives way to R. Wallace but the Pistons are still the bad guys. (I note you don't mention Chicago, whose identity is, "Draft the greatest player in the game, and the commissioner will give you to a series of titles so the star's face can appear on TV commercials and cereal boxes." If what some people are saying about D. Rose is true, the Bulls are on their way to a second series of titles on their old principle.)



    The Pacers?

    We can't talk about the unique way that the Pacers win NBA titles, since they've never won one. The good teams of the 90s never won a title, so, much as we enjoyed them, they may be our template for coming up short rather than our template for victory.




    Maybe the "Pacer Way" is all about hard running and crisp passing, two-handed set shots from mid-range, short shorts and Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
    Last edited by Putnam; 06-10-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    In short?

    Doesn't matter. The identity will change again when JOB is shown the door, which is a matter of when not if. He's not a long term coach. He's a bandaid, and a bad one at that.
    You could say the exact same thing about every other coach in the NBA except Popovich, Sloan and maybe Jackson. Every other coach is not a loing term coach

    Funny how everyone 12 months ago was thinking how terrible a coach Doc Rivers was.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Thanks NuffSaid for the props.

    Putnam - I don't believe you have to win rings to have an identity. Phoenix had a succesful one under D'Antoni with "Seven Seconds or Less". Sacramento had one with their passing and Princeton offense. NY had one with the grind of Riley/JVG.

    Even if they tried to build the team like it was under the Miller era - knowing that they are going to run a lot of screens for shooters, a PG who gets everyone the ball, and just physical guys inside, and then just embody that style it at least gives a steady vision of the team whether its good times or bad.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Funny how everyone 12 months ago was thinking how terrible a coach Doc Rivers was.

    I don't think I ever said Doc was terrible. His team just sucked.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Since86 View Post
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    In short?

    Doesn't matter. The identity will change again when JOB is shown the door, which is a matter of when not if. He's not a long term coach. He's a bandaid, and a bad one at that.
    I agree with you entirely. He is a band-aid and a bad one.

    The real problem isn't identity but personnel. Not just players either. The coaching sequence was out of order. Carlisle should have succeeded Bird instead of Thomas, but Brown should have taken the reigns after Zeke not Rick and I feel they should have gone with new blood instead of JOB. Right now the roster is completely devoid of talent. The point position is ridiculous. There are no two's. There's a glut of above average players at the three ( which every team in the NBA can claim). The four is up in the air due to JO's problems ( health & salary) and there isn't a starting quality center in the zip code. There are a few good players but they are best described as role players.

    We wont be able to define "Pacer basketball" until the franchise decides what the hell they are doing.

    Are they gonna run?
    Slow it down?
    Add pieces to complement JO?
    Address the point (is Tinsley gonna be here for three years or are they gonna get a new guy in the draft or are they really that far behind the eight-ball that Diener is running the show in their vision)?
    Rebuild from scratch?
    Clear up cap space?
    Trade talent for character?
    Address the center situation that Smits retirement left them in 8 seasons ago?
    Continue to use a small forward rotation to fill the shooting guard position?
    Define defense and acquire players that understand that definition?
    Are they gonna continue making decisions based on PR?(Bird, Zeke, Smooth,Harrington, Dale Davis(second tenure), The Rifleman as defensive coach????? (Hell, did the strength and conditioning coach sign his contract in mayonnaise?)

    Hmmm, got off topic there I guess but oh well.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Unless you keep the same coach for a LONG stretch of time, you are likely to have different identities under different coaches, and with different rosters.

    The only identity I see with the Pacers is that its fan base has a certain set of expectations, but even those are not shared among all of the fans. The ones I am thinking of have to do with character (on/off the court), teams that can shoot, teams that pass, and teams that (of course) win.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    You could say the exact same thing about every other coach in the NBA except Popovich, Sloan and maybe Jackson. Every other coach is not a loing term coach

    Funny how everyone 12 months ago was thinking how terrible a coach Doc Rivers was.
    Well to be fair, Doc is a bad coach. He just happens to have a front office that practices vodoo and got one sure HOF'er, another borderline HOF'er to go along with another great player in PP. All he had to do was roll the ball out.

    I think that list can be added on too, BTW.

    Answer this question. Does JOB's system work? I don't think it does. It's an awful offensive system with a defensive system that he can't teach, or doesn't have the players to play it.

    The players that are required to play his offensive scheme will get killed in the playoffs. If they will get killed in post season play, why even go down that path?

    It was an easy solution, that was made over the freaking phone.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    I don't really think that JOB did a bad job this season. Like the example of Doc Rivers. You need quailty (healthy)players and a consistent game. You need the desire to win. O'Brien isn't the problem of this team. The lack of consistency is.

    We have players that are capable of playing in some pretty good games. That is our problem. We need them to play that way in all the games. Not just 5 or 6 out of the season.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Funny how everyone 12 months ago was thinking how terrible a coach Doc Rivers was.
    he still is.
    This is the darkest timeline.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Funny how everyone 12 months ago was thinking how terrible a coach Doc Rivers was.
    I still think Doc Rivers is a terrible coach.

    I will give him credit for completely turning the defense over to his assistants this year. If he could completely turn over rotations and clock management to someone who knows what they're doing, they'd be unstoppable. He was abysmal during the 24 win season last year, down from 33 in '05-'06.

    I count Doc as a bottom 10 coach. Credit Ainge if they win a title this year.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Not to take this off on a Doc tangent, but I honestly do not understand how anyone who watches this Celtics team play for 5 minutes, could possibly say that he isn't a good coach.

    Unless you want to give assistant coach Tom Thibidau all the credit for their defense - but their team defense is a beautiful thing to watch and I always say that team defense is most influenced by coaching.

    Pacers defensive system is most similar to the Celtics defensive system. The systems are almost identical

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Not to take this off on a Doc tangent, but I honestly do not understand how anyone who watches this Celtics team play for 5 minutes, could possibly say that he isn't a good coach.

    Unless you want to give assistant coach Tom Thibidau all the credit for their defense - but their team defense is a beautiful thing to watch and I always say that team defense is most influenced by coaching.

    Pacers defensive system is most similar to the Celtics defensive system. The systems are almost identical
    i do indeed-that and KG's inherent defensive abilities/intensity.
    This is the darkest timeline.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    I don't think it has to do with the longevity of the coach.

    LA defined themselves as up-tempo as soon as Dr Buss bought them. Have they had a coach stay on longer than 5 years?

    SA was a character organization in the mold of Robinson - bad guys didn't stay long. That was before Popovich came on.

    Daly was in Detroit a while before they won but the identity was there right away and it clicked with the fanbase.

    Coaching is one aspect but the ownership needs to say THIS is what I want to see on the floor and all focuse needs to be put on that. If the owner doesn't have the vision than whoever is in charge of the team needs to. In this case, Bird needs to define what he believes needs to be Celtics basketball and all moves need to reflect it - no matter what the short term W/L record is or if you get less back for a player than you want. The question the Pacers should ask themselves is "What kind of ball do we want to see and what would our fans want to see" and build a roster based on that concept being paramount.

    If you build it, they will come.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by avoidingtheclowns View Post
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    i do indeed-that and KG's inherent defensive abilities/intensity.
    KG deserves a ton of credit, but all the players have bought in and for that I give KG a lot of the credit, but the coahcing staff deserves some credit as well, TT for installing it and at least give Doc some credit for emphasizing it, for allowing TT to use practice time to work on it. That good of a defense doesn't happen by accident - and it didn't happen in Minnesota even with KG

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Cleva View Post
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    Bird needs to define what he believes needs to be Celtics basketball and all moves need to reflect it .

    Was this intentional?
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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Goldfoot View Post
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    I agree with you entirely. He is a band-aid and a bad one.

    The real problem isn't identity but personnel. Not just players either. The coaching sequence was out of order. Carlisle should have succeeded Bird instead of Thomas, but Brown should have taken the reigns after Zeke not Rick and I feel they should have gone with new blood instead of JOB. Right now the roster is completely devoid of talent. The point position is ridiculous. There are no two's. There's a glut of above average players at the three ( which every team in the NBA can claim). The four is up in the air due to JO's problems ( health & salary) and there isn't a starting quality center in the zip code. There are a few good players but they are best described as role players.

    We wont be able to define "Pacer basketball" until the franchise decides what the hell they are doing.

    Are they gonna run?
    Slow it down?
    Add pieces to complement JO?
    Address the point (is Tinsley gonna be here for three years or are they gonna get a new guy in the draft or are they really that far behind the eight-ball that Diener is running the show in their vision)?
    Rebuild from scratch?
    Clear up cap space?
    Trade talent for character?
    Address the center situation that Smits retirement left them in 8 seasons ago?
    Continue to use a small forward rotation to fill the shooting guard position?
    Define defense and acquire players that understand that definition?
    Are they gonna continue making decisions based on PR?(Bird, Zeke, Smooth,Harrington, Dale Davis(second tenure), The Rifleman as defensive coach????? (Hell, did the strength and conditioning coach sign his contract in mayonnaise?)

    Hmmm, got off topic there I guess but oh well.
    Off topic? I don't think so. Excellent demonstration of how things have evolved into the current disarray. Now, maybe we can say the franchise's decison making has gone completely OT and managed to muddle whatever identity had been established through the 90s up to 2000.

    The post-finals era makeover was not completely misguided. I agree it would have been much simpler to just go from Bird to Carlisle. As far as personnel though, talent and style-wise the bunch they put together, even after the addition of Jackson, could have worked. Obviously, the bigger problems were the pairings of personalities and the affects of physical breakdowns.

    Whatever the case, that chapter in Pacer history is mercifully over. Now is the time to make the decisions that you present here. I, too, think JOB is at best a stop gap with a gimmicky offense. Perhaps some some of his player management will instill some guys with solid character traits that will benefit them down the road. I frequently fall back to thinking that maybe the TPTB couldn't find anyone worth a damn who wanted to taking on a team with our baggage.

    I think I've made my feeling known in other threads about how the break with the past and the foundation for the future should be made and laid. I'm not quite a trade JO now at any cost type. However, I do think the best thing that can occur is to as swiftly as reasonably possible move out the guys that continue on from the core of the previous turbulent period-Tins and JO. SOME of the trade speculation about JO to this point I think is reasonable enough to justify pulling the trigger.
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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Cleva View Post
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    Coaching is one aspect but the ownership needs to say THIS is what I want to see on the floor and all focuse needs to be put on that. If the owner doesn't have the vision than whoever is in charge of the team needs to. In this case, Bird needs to define what he believes needs to be Celtics basketball and all moves need to reflect it - no matter what the short term W/L record is or if you get less back for a player than you want. The question the Pacers should ask themselves is "What kind of ball do we want to see and what would our fans want to see" and build a roster based on that concept being paramount.
    And that's the rub.

    I'd much rather have Billy Knight defining Pacers basketball. He wore the blue and gold, worked in our front office, was an outstanding member of our community, and paid his dues in Indy, Vancuver, and Atlanta.

    As for the Green Guy...

    I don't have confidence in his ability to set the vision/ mission of the franchise. Court vision and a sweet jump shot don't help any here. And unlike coaching, he can't delegate the strategic decisions to his assistants. Its his job, and only his job. And that's scary. Many of us don't trust him to make the small decisions, let alone set the big strategy.
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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    To the original question:

    Pacers basketball is:

    (a) Team focused - players agree that the team goals are more important than individual honors

    (b) Hard working/ hustle - players that contribute without needing to shoot or score can be heros

    (c) High basketball IQ - if the fans can identify blown assignments, missed reads/ passes, etc. then that is a problem. Indiana fans typically have studied the game and know what the players are SUPPOSED to do

    However, over the past five/six years, the team has really gotten away from those characteristics.

    The question is, is the identity shifting? Or is the team just doing a crappy job of fulfilling its mission?

    I happen to think it is the latter.

    Those three characteristics were true in the 70s, when the team was winning ABA championships, in the early-80s when the talent level was abyssmal and ownership was cheap, and throughout the Donnie Walsh era, begining with Dr. Jack and all the way through the 1990s.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  21. #21

    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Here's a link to an interesting article on the state of the San Antonio Spurs. (Credit to title and author w/date stamp provided for the sake of authenticity)

    Are The Spurs Done?
    Authored by Leigh Ellis - June 2, 2008 - 10:03 pm

    Althought the article raises some interesting questions concerning the future of their franchise, it also illustrates the importance of sticking with a winning formula no matter whether you have the #1 draft pick or #60.


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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    To the original question:

    Pacers basketball is:

    (a) Team focused - players agree that the team goals are more important than individual honors

    (b) Hard working/ hustle - players that contribute without needing to shoot or score can be heros

    (c) High basketball IQ - if the fans can identify blown assignments, missed reads/ passes, etc. then that is a problem. Indiana fans typically have studied the game and know what the players are SUPPOSED to do

    However, over the past five/six years, the team has really gotten away from those characteristics.

    The question is, is the identity shifting? Or is the team just doing a crappy job of fulfilling its mission?

    I happen to think it is the latter.

    Those three characteristics were true in the 70s, when the team was winning ABA championships, in the early-80s when the talent level was abyssmal and ownership was cheap, and throughout the Donnie Walsh era, begining with Dr. Jack and all the way through the 1990s.
    This would probably sum up my feelings as well.
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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    I liked our identity before the brawl. We were big and tough, people were genuinely concerned about playing us. Artest manhandled people, JO was a big force, Stephen/Reggie/Jamaal and our army of big white guys Pollard/Foster/whoever were taking no crap. That was a great team.

    Can we go back to being scary and physical? That's a team identity I like.

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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dece View Post
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    Can we go back to being scary and physical? That's a team identity I like.
    Wow. That sounds more like streetfighting than basketball. You should probably watch more pickup games at the playground, and I'll watch more D-III games. Deal?
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Identify Crisis: What Is Pacers Basketball?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dece View Post
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    I liked our identity before the brawl. We were big and tough, people were genuinely concerned about playing us. Artest manhandled people, JO was a big force, Stephen/Reggie/Jamaal and our army of big white guys Pollard/Foster/whoever were taking no crap. That was a great team.

    Can we go back to being scary and physical? That's a team identity I like.
    Actually, I know exactly what your talking about. The team was physical and agressive. And, through the very early season and up through that now infamous Pistons game, they had a lot of swagger. They were confident. There was a point playing well within a halfcourt approach (Tinsley's real strenght IMO), outside shooting options, post options, interior and perimeter defensive specialists, and willing bench role players.

    From a purely basektball standpoint, it was a formidable group. Like I said, the problem is that there was too much instability, in some cases individually, but also in the group dynamics. It was a disaster of individual and group psychology. Certainly, this only snowballed one the brawl itself occured. The quintessential downward spiral.
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