Well, I'm going to dust the cobweb off of this and see if I can remember even how to write one of these.
I have been a Pacers fan all of my life, I have been a ticket holder in some capacity since 1985. I've seen it about as low as it can be and I've seen us almost reach the mountain top.
But this is the first time that I can think of that I can actually say that everything is so differant I don't know what to expect.
Think about the major earth shattering changes our franchise has undergone in just one short year.
We have a new coach.
We have a new style of play.
We have a new lineup.
And most importantly and earth shattering of all, we have a new person calling the shots for the Indiana Pacers.
Think about that for a min. this is it, there is no more Donnie Walsh at the helm.
Most of you reading this have not even been alive when Donnie wasn't calling the shots here and those of you that are old enough have to go back to when Ronald Reagan was the President to remember this.
I didn't really say much when Donnie left and I'm not even going to say much now. Donnie was what Donnie was, nothing more and nothing less.
But with Bird and Co. it's a whole new world, a world that many of you already hate with a passion but frankly I am accepting it like coming out of swine house into a breath of fresh air.
First and formost I love the fact that Bird is not content and he doesn't pull any punches and play political face saving games by pretending to be content.
I like the fact that he seems to have been either working the phones or having Morroway working the phones since the day the last shot went up.
I think he actually has a new direction for us to go and I think we may get there.
Now that is not to say that I am all for Bird or for his plans, I just am all for a new direction. Only time will tell if he is right or wrong, many of you have already judged him wrong (some for personal reasons other for the fact that he played for the Celtics). But it would be nice to give him 2-3 years to see what he can do.
I'm actually excited to see what we do tonight. We may come away with a jem or a turd at the 11 but I want to see what we can do.
I guess I might as well go ahead and address the proposed trade at hand.
Frankly I'm skeptical of this. Not the trade itself but I don't know to actually believe it or not because what are we going on here? A source close to the situation? Man I hope that source is either the GM of the Raptors or Bird or someone high up.
But for the time being let me assume that this is a done deal.
First I want to address O'Neal fans. I am sorry for your loss, having had to sit through my favorite player be traded three times in the past (Billy Knight x2 and Dale Davis 1) I know what you are going through. It can be bitter and downright painfull when this happens. For you I feel very sorry and you have my sympathy's.
As to J.O. himself, I am not going to be a hypocrite here.
I wish him the best of luck, I hope that a new team and a healthy leg gets him back to enjoying playing the game again. I think his last 3 years here have been a burden on him and his enjoyment of the game has gone down.
From the teams standpoint, this is probably as good as they could get for Jermaine. There are other trades out there that you could argue might have been better but the truth of the matter is none of them were going to be earth shattering in nature and none were going to net you a star in return.
T.J. Ford will step right in and be the starting point guard. If he works or not only time will tell. The 17th pick might give us a decent player to work with and lord knows right now we need talent on our team. Rasho will be the lumbering oaf he has been for years but is a big body and and expiring contract that can either be packaged away or used. This will give Foster a break, heck he may even start over Jeff I don't know.
Now here is the intersting question. Who is the throw in.
To everyones suprise I am hoping that it actually is Baston. I believe Macio will fit perfectly into O'Briens needs. Other than being able to hit the three, he is quick, he is strong, he is a good passer, he is capable of guarding both big and quick players and he has some small offensive capabilities.
If we get Graham then the question is, do we keep both? Oh the irony that he was selected one pick ahead of Danny.
So to recap, we get a starting point guard. We get a young player. We may even get a starting center (that should tell you how bad our center spot is btw) and we will get a servicable backup.
Here is the thing, I don't think we are done dealing either.
How does all of this impact the team?
1. We are finally totally committed to moving to a differant direction than what we have in the past.
2. Danny Granger is now officially the top dog.
I am going to make some statements here and I don't intend them to be jabs at O'Neal but take them for what they are worth.
I am thrilled beyond belief that I no longer have to live through the "once J.O. comes back healthy we will be a contender" thinking that we have seen for years.
I am even more thrilled that I never ever have to worry again about whether whoever the coach is will totally throw out all other offensive options once Jermaine comes back into the lineup.
I am not convinced that the league is as small ball dominated as some of you are, I still believe that we are getting ready to once again go into the big man era like we had in the 80's & 90's. So I am not sold 100% on the way Bird is leaning towards building the team. But I understand, it's hard to find real talented centers. Hence why you should never throw away a center who......Oh never mind, it's a new era and we'll just let that go.
As to Jamaal, who cares. I can honestly say I think he is gone and I no longer care what we get for him. I just don't want us to give away a pick or something to have another team take him.
With Jermaine and Jamaal gone, that is the last of the brawl era pacers (well Foster was there but no one associates him with that incident).
I think the team may now be able to exercise that demon and start to rebuild the trust in the community. But again, time will tell.
I am really looking forward to the Danny Granger era of the Pacers. This off-season has been p.r. gold for him, IMO. I think both he and the Pacers have done everything right in getting him out in front of the public.
I never understood why there was anyone willing to trade him to make room for Shawn Williams. I think Shawn had promise and still does, but Danny to me is a special player.
I don't want to compare him to Reggie here because he won't reach that level but he does share two traits with Reggie that I absolutely love.
1. The madder he gets the better he plays.
2. He is tough. When he gets knocked down he gets right back up and goes right at it again.
I just wish they would set his position so the poor guy does not have to keep rotating all over the floor. He is NOT a shooting guard for God's sake. He is 6'9" and plays like a pit bull. He is at his best position playing the three.
I still have a great concern over our coaching.
Yes I will freely admit it, that Pheonix game sucked all of the life and joy out of me. I didn't enjoy a single game the rest of the season really. I still don't understand that game but I guess I don't have to.
However with the new direction that we seem to be taking I am willing to jump back into the frey and give him one more chance (like I have a choice).
However I will still say this, no matter how much I try I still hate the three point shot in general and despise it being used as a gimmick like we do.
I just hope that maybe some new players will help us improve our defense and Ford I am hoping is a light year leap ahead of any of our p.g.'s from last year.
In short I guess I will say this.
It's no seceret, I haven't really liked this team much since the 2000 season. Oh sure I supported them and rooted for them to win, but frankly I didn't like over half of the players and in some cases I downright hated a few.
But with the new direction from the top, a new leader on the club and a new future for the team I think I am now back to where I was with the team in the early 90's (not the good teams of the mid to late 90's but the early 90's) where I am at least hopefull.
Hmmmmmmm..... Honestly I wonder if this trade in any way will affect Ike Diagu? I mean he didn't play last year when J.O. wasn't with the team, but I wonder if O'Brien was just talking to be talking or if he meant that a full year with the same staff will help? Time will tell.
As is tradition here, I will now provide you with the cultural enlightenment and joy that only dancing fruit can give you.
Ok, like I said it's been awhile. Hope I didn't bore you to tears (for those who bothered to read it all)