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Thread: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

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    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I'm a bit flabergasted by this. It's one thing to talk about this in his blog (which I'm guessing he has), but it's quite another to write an article that discusses (though certainly does not endorse) the notion of tanking for the chance to get the #1 pick. In January. Before we've even played 41 games.

    Wherever you fall in the debate, it's certainly not out of bounds to talk (and surely obsess) about it now.

    http://www.indystar.com/article/2010...solation-Prize


    John Wall: the ultimate consolation Prize

    The Indiana Pacers might end up with a shot at Kentucky freshman John Wall, but lying down against bad teams like New Jersey is not the plan.

    By Mike Wells
    mike.wells@indystar.com

    The prize is sitting there to be picked up.

    He stands 6-4. Jumps like Dwyane Wade. Passes like Steve Nash.

    John Wall, Kentucky's ultra-quick, playmaking point guard, is considered the consensus No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft if he decides to leave school early.

    Whichever team wins the draft lottery could pick Wall and be set at that position for years.

    The New Jersey Nets have the league's worst record, but the worst team is by no means a lock to win the lottery. The Indiana Pacers are in the mix. The teams play tonight in New Jersey.

    Pacers fans are torn. Many celebrate victories and hope for the playoffs. Others realize every loss helps their lottery odds. They would rather see the Pacers tank than sneak into the playoffs or, worse, just miss like the three previous seasons, and land another draft pick in the mid-teens.

    As tempting and franchise-altering as winning the lottery and first shot at Wall might be, those associated with the team -- from president Larry Bird on down -- are chasing another prize: the playoffs.

    "I'm near the top of the list of players that have never made it. I want to get there," said forward Troy Murphy, who has played 577 games without a playoff appearance.

    The Pacers certainly are playing like they hope to delay summer vacation.
    They came from 23 points down against Toronto and 24 down against Phoenix to win their previous two games.

    "It's coming together, but we still need a complete team effort where we get everyone involved," point guard Earl Watson said. "We have to find a way to get everyone going offensively and defensively. We have to be aggressive, be edgy, get deflections, block shots, transition points and create tempo."

    The Pacers have two things going against them in trying to secure their second three-game winning streak this season.

    They have dropped nine consecutive road games and 15 of their past 16. They also have a bad habit of following impressive victories with uninspiring losses.

    "We can't lose to New Jersey," forward Danny Granger said. "We haven't taken advantage of these types of opportunities in the past. It's a game we absolutely cannot lose because we've got a little bit of momentum."

    The Pacers have recently started playing -- offensively at least -- the way they envisioned.

    Coach Jim O'Brien is playing at least four shooters as much as possible to try to keep the opponent's defense honest. He said his best lineup has only one big man -- Troy Murphy or Roy Hibbert.

    The Pacers scored 70 points and shot nearly 57 percent in the second half of Wednesday night's 122-114 victory against the Suns.

    Granger and Mike Dunleavy, who both missed an extended amount of time early in the season, combined for 63 points and nine 3-pointers in the game.

    "This team was built with certain ingredients," O'Brien said. "When you play most of the season without those ingredients, it has a traumatic effect on you. When they come back and start to get acclimated to each other again, you're going to see a much better brand of basketball."

    Hibbert continues to show signs of complementing shooters on the perimeter. He is averaging 15 points and 6.2 rebounds in the past nine games.

    "When you have a guy that can score inside with the effectiveness of Roy, then you have guys that have shot over 40 percent from the 3 and aggressive point guards and you're healthy, you can see where you are and how the plan is coming together," O'Brien said. "The fact of the matter is we have Danny, Mike and Troy all healthy at the same time and you have a developing center."

    Additional Facts
    Pacers at New Jersey Nets
    Tipoff: 8 p.m. today, Izod Center.
    TV: Fox Sports Indiana.
    Radio: WFNI-1070 AM.
    Pregame MVP: Granger is averaging 25 points since returning from a foot injury. He had 33 points and eight rebounds against Phoenix on Wednesday.
    Prediction: Pacers by 12. They'll avoid playing down to the level of their competition and win three games in a row for just the second time this season.
    Injury update: Jeff Foster (back) is out.
    Charity game Sunday: Earl Watson is hosting "Annesha's Angels Celebrity Basketball Game" at 3 p.m. Sunday at Lawrence Central High School to raise money for an Indianapolis family, whose 5-year-old daughter, Annesha Wilson, died in a July fire. Tickets are $10.

    -- Mike Wells
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I have to admit I'm torn between hoping the team gets a 4-8 pick and the team winning the rest of the season. My delimma is if the Pacers had NOT been losing like they have been the 1st have of the season, I would want to finish strong, but they have a opportunity to get a really nice pick if they continue as they have played the previous 36 games. Compound that with the fact that even winning 25 of the next 44 games with a record of 38-44 doesn't guarantee a playoff berth, but it does guarantee another mid-teen pick that spells another mediocre rotational player to me. I'm tired of getting mid-teen picks. I'm tired of losing too. At this point in the season, I know what my preferrence has to be.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    It is not out of bounds, but hasn't the topic been discussed to death over the years. it just bores me anymore
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 01-15-2010 at 02:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Considering we reasonably can assume several players are not part of the future, and considering how much I'd prefer to see a new coach and this current direction come to an end, and considering we'd have almost 0% chance of advancing in the playoffs... those are all good reasons to shoot for a high draft pick now. Try and make something of a lost season to give the fans and franchise something look forward to in the future besides at best an early playoff loss as a team that was not bad enough to finish worse than some other bad teams in a weak conference.

    The downside is we've been losing for so long, and turned off so many fans in the aftermath of the brawl with the players we were left with after Reggie's retirement, and failed to already utilize those prior lost seasons to shoot for a better draft pick rather than going for an outside crack at the playoffs... that we're in a no-man's land as far as the stability of the franchise in Indpls itself.
    Last edited by Bball; 01-15-2010 at 12:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    There's not a lot of drama here because it's 100% clear which way the franchise leans on this, from Bird, to O'Brien, to the players, they want to go for the playoffs, and if the last two games suggest things to come, they're going to have a shot in this terrible conference.

    Everyone who wants to wish for tanking is just exercising futility.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    For me, it's heart vs. head.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Sorry guys but if you're really looking towards the future, a 25% chance of drafting a guy who will make you a contender and fill the stands compared to a 0% chance of winning in the playoffs this season seems like the better choice to me.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    There's not a lot of drama here because it's 100% clear which way the franchise leans on this, from Bird, to O'Brien, to the players, they want to go for the playoffs, and if the last two games suggest things to come, they're going to have a shot in this terrible conference.

    Everyone who wants to wish for tanking is just exercising futility.
    As long as O'Brien is coach... We've got a shot... at the lottery...

    Just gotta keep spreading the defense at all 5 positions....
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I'd much rather have 25 wins and a top-5 pick with a legit shot at #1, rather than 35 wins and a pick between 9-12 with close to zero shot at #1 (or even the top-3).

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I don't read anything in the article "sanctioning" the move, either as Wells' opinion or from the team or front office. Did I miss something?

    It also begs a question - if the East sucks so bad and we have a record poor enough to "just miss" the playoffs, wouldn't we end up with a better position than in previous years? The teams that miss the playoffs are ranked by record against each other for the lottery position, not by finish in their conference.
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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    We can discuss it all we want, but no one in the Pacers organization is going to take the tank option.

    The plan has been talked about a lot here also....two-fold goals: 1) Make the play-offs. 2) Continue to develop the younger players. That's not going to change anytime soon.

    The infusion of top talent that folks are wishing for is going to have to come from within by player development, or as a result of more funds being available in 2011 / 2012 to acquire proven talent.
    [~]) ... Cheers! Go Pacers!

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    I don't read anything in the article "sanctioning" the move, either as Wells' opinion or from the team or front office. Did I miss something?
    Wells didn't 'sanction the move'... he simply broached the subject officially in his writing at the Star thus implicitly sanctioning the discussion or the topic itself.

    -Bball
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

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    NaptownSeth is all feel Naptown_Seth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    It's been debated and I've yet to read anything close to a compelling argument for doing so. The evidence of the futility of it goes on and on...


    I just ran through the Celtics and how they rebuilt, 3 of their 4 players came from picks 10, 15 and 21. Only Jeff Green, the #5 pick, got them Ray Allen, and the cost was tanking so bad they were the 2nd worst team in a draft where the #2 player was Durant. So Ray is nice, but was Ray a make or break guy? He's not the same as getting Durant, so they lost big time when they played that lottery.

    The Lakers got Kobe with Vlade, and Kobe was not a top 10 pick. They got a #1 pick by clearing tons of cap space for Shaq, but they didn't have to tank to do that and had been moderately competitive in the years leading up to it. FACT - Kobe and Shaq only improved the Lakers by 3 wins, going from 53 the year before (and 48 before that) to 56. OTHER FACT - They couldn't reach the Finals despite being one of the top West teams for 3 straight seasons, then brought in Phil Jackson and won 3 straight.

    Meanwhile the Magic, who had TWO top 3 picks, got 1 Finals appearance and then jack squat as they watched Shaq leave. They tried to pull the same stunt and loaded up on cap space only to see Duncan give them (and the Bulls) the cold shoulder and Grant Hill go down with injury not long after they signed him.

    The Spurs did lottery into Duncan thanks to Robinson's season ending injury, but they drafted Parker at 30th and Manu at 57th.

    The Pacers sat stuck at .500 with Bob Hill for 3 straight years, all first round exits. Then they went to the ECF 2 years in a row, and then without significant additions they returned to 3 straight ECFs and the Finals. Of the top 10 picks the Pacers did earn, Person, McCloud, Tisdale and Smits, only Rik contributed significantly. And that team didn't start winning till the other non elite picks came on board.

    The idea that tanking turns you around isn't just iffy, in many many cases it's actually wrong. The Lakers and Pistons won titles without tanking.

    The Cavs stunk and still don't have a title. Ditto post-Jordan Bulls, and they are sporting multiple elite picks including #1 Rose now in year 2. Clips, nice. Warriors, sure. Oh, Bobcats, loaded with top picks right from the day they were created.

    The Sixers got the #1 pick, Iverson. It got them one 4-1 beatdown in the Finals after winning perhaps the weakest East of the last 30 years. Not only that, but they spent the first few years continuing on as doormats despite Iverson being there. In this era that's just the right timing for a team with cap space to lure him away for money and a better supporting cast (ahem, Lebron scenario).

    People cite the Blazers as a model, or the Bulls from the Skiles era. "That's the way you do it"...except the Bulls flopped and stunk so bad they got Rose, basically a 2nd tank rebuild on top of the last one.

    The Heat got Wade, so there you go. But then they stunk again, so it's not that simple. Then they get another top pick and still not that great.

    Did the TWolves not have KG for years? #1 of titles = 0




    Bird will do more to improve this team with picking right at #17 (Granger, all-star, Roy with promise), or in the 2nd round (Price), trading well (say, Troy for cap space), and signing smart FAs (Watson or Jones).

    The single most damaging deal or move the team did the last decade in terms of the bottom line - WINS - was trading for Dun and Troy. Not only has Dun, a top 5 pick, not led them to a title, but the contracts of those 2 have hindered their ability to make other moves or trades.

    I like the draft, you do get lots of help there, but trading is critical and avoiding foolishly high spending in the FA market is too (including resigns, see Arenas).
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 01-15-2010 at 01:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I've never been one for tanking a season. Frankly, I think it's bad sportmanship for any team to do that. However, clearly some teams have tried and apparently have successed in doing it (i.e., the Cavs by recent accounts in drafting LeBron). Still, I think the risk for acquiring that one player through the draft in such a fashion is just too great. I mean, what if you do tank but don't get the #1 pick? Now what?

    I think you play your best and you play to win and let the lottery ball fall where it may. If you are "fortunate" enough to be a losing team and you get the #1 pick or any pick 2-5, great! If the selection helps move your team forward, outstanding! But all one has to do is look at the Rubio situation and realize that sometimes even when you win (a high draft pick), you lose ('cause Rubio won't be playing in the NBA any time soon). In fact, of the top 10 2009 draftees only one seems to have panned out - Brandon Jennings for the Bucks at #10. In fact, other than Jennings, the only other draft pick from 1-15 I see who has made a significant impact for their team is Tyler Hansborough.

    If that doesn't show you how crazy and risky the draft can be, nothing will!
    Last edited by NuffSaid; 01-15-2010 at 03:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
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    Wells didn't 'sanction the move'... he simply broached the subject officially in his writing at the Star thus implicitly sanctioning the discussion or the topic itself.

    -Bball
    Ahh, OK, I missed the word "debate" in the topic.

    The debate doesn't need sanctioning, it exists and it would be a poor reporter who didn't recognize it.
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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    #1 picks since 1990 with titles where they were close to a significant member of the team
    Duncan and Shaq

    #1 picks that were critical to teams that made the Finals
    Howard, James, Kenyon Martin, Iverson, Larry Johnson...only KMart has more than one Finals appearance at this point

    The guys that haven't made it or weren't critical if the team did:
    Rose
    Oden
    Bargnani
    Bogut
    Ming
    Kwame Brown
    Brand
    Kandi (claim to fame, Kandi-tazered in Indy)
    Joe Smith
    Big Dog
    Webber
    Coleman

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Let's say you trade your pick at, say, 5th to the Bobcats for Henderson and their pick, say 9th.

    Then you flip the 9th and Dun to Minny for the rights to Rubio and a deal longer than Duns by 1-2 years, not crazy if Flynn continues to make them happy. Not sure who you take back to improve their cap, but not critical on our end.

    Rubio, Henderson, Granger, Tyler, Roy with Price, Rush, McBob, DJones at backup. There you go, not that big a stretch. Rubio takes a year so you go empty one more season, but then that's part of the reason Minny is giving him to you. Is Rubio better to have than Wall?


    There are ways to trade into things that you would have had to tank to get previously. To me tanking is one of the most short-sighted strategies out there.

    I do advocate player development. I want Price and Roy and Rush and McBob to play because I want to improve my product, the overall team talent. Frankly I think that gets you more wins now, but even if it doesn't you aren't tanking you are trying to improve the talent you already have.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    #1 picks since 1990 with titles where they were close to a significant member of the team
    Duncan and Shaq

    #1 picks that were critical to teams that made the Finals
    Howard, James, Kenyon Martin, Iverson, Larry Johnson...only KMart has more than one Finals appearance at this point

    The guys that haven't made it or weren't critical if the team did:
    Rose
    Oden
    Bargnani
    Bogut
    Ming
    Kwame Brown
    Brand
    Kandi (claim to fame, Kandi-tazered in Indy)
    Joe Smith
    Big Dog
    Webber
    Coleman
    you guys are missing the point here, the guys who advocate for this team to "tank" or lose while developing your young players are talking about getting a top 10pick, maybe a top 5 and if we are lucky enough a number one pick.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81 View Post
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    you guys are missing the point here, the guys who advocate for this team to "tank" or lose while developing your young players are talking about getting a top 10pick, maybe a top 5 and if we are lucky enough a number one pick.
    I think this ambiguation of the word "tank" does mean rock bottom.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    You can't go wrong with either one. At least if you make the playoffs, you know you're getting somewhere and you know who's effecting the team. You make a statement to the rest of the team that you have what it takes to matchup with the league's best.

    If you decide to settle on a draft selection, then you're taking your chances. The reason is because you aren't too sure on how the newly drafted player will do on your team.

    I am for Bird's decision on making the playoffs and I'm sure many others would agree. It shows that the whole season/previous offseason didn't go to waste and the key players on the team aren't a waste.

    I hope this made sense.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by duke dynamite View Post
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    I think this ambiguation of the word "tank" does mean rock bottom.
    ok so what word should we use? tank could mean many things(I think)

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Seems like we're starting to right the ship a bit. If Larry wants us to have a legit shot a John Wall, he has the ability to kick the legs out from underneath the team by doing some salary shedding moves, such as trading Murphy for Z. He can claim it's a cost cutting move, which it would be, while simultaneously making us a worse basketball team.

    Whether he'll exercise that option or not, or even if he does for the purpose of tanking, is another matter entirely.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81 View Post
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    ok so what word should we use? tank could mean many things(I think)
    "Strategic Lottery Placement"?

    By all means I wasn't trying to be sarcastic while explaining what tanking meant. I think that's what it means, because everyone is talking about #1.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    I can see why the Cavs tanked to get Lebron. He is a franchise player that can single handedly get a team to the championship.

    John Wall is good, but I'm still not completely sold that he is a legit franchise worth tanking games for.

    Granted, I don't think the Pacers should focus on winning but rather focus on a combination of things like trades to improve the team either through some young players or preferably picks, focus on getting and remaining healthy (hopefully not playing Granger 40 minutes a night) and continuing to work on chemistry.

    I don't understand why the Pacers have blinders on and are so focused on winning when they need to focus on putting together a competitive team that will do something in the playoffs. Remaining in constant mediocrity isn't going to bring fans back.

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    Default Re: Mike Wells officially sanctions the "tank for Walls" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparhawk View Post
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    I don't understand why the Pacers have blinders on and are so focused on winning when they need to focus on putting together a competitive team that will do something in the playoffs. Remaining in constant mediocrity isn't going to bring fans back.
    It's the same reason why the Nets' players are still dressing for every game. They want to play to win as much as possible, even if the realm of success is dim.

    Fans aside, getting a high draft pick now or winning and breaking into the last playoff spot is not going to peak much more interest. Right now let's just worry about the state of the players.

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