I was posting this in Peck's thread but it got way too long for a reply so I decided to start my own, especially since it isn't so much about a single game.
I have to say that I was disappointed after the Atlanta loss but am ashamed after the Miami loss.
There's plenty of available excuse4s - 4-games-in-5 then 4-games-in-5, injuries, talent, whatever. Until last night, and in spite of what I kept reading, I saw some players on the team still fighting to keep it going. Last night pretty much everyone except the guys with personal things to prove just gave it up.
There are two contradictory futures I see here. I'll mention the worst first.
This completes the destruction of the Pacers as a franchise, and they will either be moved or be folded (to finally get some of the Spirits annual payments off the NBA's back) within the next two years.
This town just can't stomach teams like this, to the point of going back to being actively hostile not due to character but due to sheer embarrassment.
Something about the pride of the ABA being the team to fold out of the NBA just makes me want to cry.
Given this depressing thought, I find it hard to care about actions that would improve the team so that someone else gets a shot at an NBA title.
The second possibility is that, either for love of Mel or from another ownership group determined to keep the team in Indianapolis, the team stays here. If that is the case, I guess I care about what the future is from here.
I'll go with that thought for the rest of this post.
I think that I've finally come around to the idea that not only are there no veterans playing well enough to deserve being given preference, I think the mood of the team right now is such that all of them know it. Should Danny and Jeff come back completely healed, that might change, but there's an excuse to keep them sitting until after the ASB.
This then is the perfect time to do what many have suggested and "develop the young guys". HOWEVER...
Jim O'Brien is NOT the coach to do this. Young guys more than anyone else need a structure for 80% of their on-floor activity, with leeway to break the structure if and when they actually learn to properly read a defense. I think JOB is not capable of this.
A new coach also gives the players a little lift because it says "we don't think you're the entire problem". Sure, talent is a lot of it, but a coach we can dump. Player salaries we can't.
I also think that the city is more likely to accept the rest of the season like this if there is a new coach in there doing it. In that, I'm afraid JOB becomes a bit of a sacrificial goat, but that's part of the job of a head coach in the NBA.
To address Peck's thoughts about the FO, I still can't blame them. In hindsight there have been better players available in drafts and trades but there are ALWAYS those things because no one is perfect - for every "look what I predicted and I was right" on this forum there's a corresponding "please don't ever bring that up again". As has always been the case there are conflicting goals with the Pacers - to keep the team's losses to a minimum while being as competitive as possible within that constraint. This time, the moves made to try to increase that competitiveness fell completely down. Some might say we should have somehow marketed this team as completely rebuilding, but I still think all it would have done is guaranteed an empty house from game 1 rather than becoming an empty house from game 10 or so.
It took a lot to get me to this point, but frankly I don't see that there's another way out and I don't see that anyone who cares in the fan base will have a huge objection. Thus, I've come around to what Peck was saying - the difference is I had to wait for the team to make it completely obvious they were falling apart. Otherwise, you still wonder if you jumped too soon or lost fans you might not have otherwise lost.