Pacers' Murphy, Dunleavy hate long playoff drought
They have played their entire careers without going to the postseason
By Mike Wells
Posted: March 14, 2010
MILWAUKEE -- Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy never expected this.
The two Indiana Pacers teammates thought they were going to be regulars in the playoffs when they were acquired from the Golden State Warriors in January 2007.
Now, more than three years later, Murphy and Dunleavy are still waiting to get their first taste of playoff basketball.
It won't happen this season.
The Pacers, 12 games out of the final playoff spot with 17 remaining, can move another step closer to missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season with a loss at Milwaukee this afternoon.
Murphy is about to take over the not-so-flattering label of being the longest-tenured active player not to make the playoffs. He has appeared in 604 games in his nine-year career. Atlanta's Jamaal Crawford, who has played 661 games without making the playoffs, is about to make the postseason for the first time.
Dunleavy has played in 549 games without making the playoffs.
"It's not what I expected when I was traded here," Murphy said. "This place has always had a strong tradition. They had a reputation of going to the playoffs, and going deep into the playoffs. It didn't happen the past couple years and it's not going to happen this season."
The Pacers had made the playoffs nine straight seasons prior to their arrival. Since then, the Pacers have gone 108-164, had a coach fired and finished in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference twice.
Now they are in the middle of a major rebuilding project.
"I was really looking forward to coming here," Dunleavy said. "This franchise has had a great reputation as being one of the premier ones in the league, from management to the facilities to the players."
Murphy likely has a chance to get a taste of the playoffs before Dunleavy.
The Pacers tried to move Murphy to several teams, including playoff-bound Cleveland and Milwaukee, before the trade deadline last month.
There's very little doubt that the Pacers will try to move his expiring contract again this summer as they attempt to get younger.
Dunleavy would have been easier to trade two years ago when he averaged a career-high 19.1 points and shot nearly 48 percent from the field.
He's nowhere near those numbers this year. Once a player Pacers coach Jim O'Brien relied on heavily, Dunleavy can barely get off the bench these days. He's averaging 10.1 points per game and shooting 40 percent from the field.
Dunleavy, who will make $10.5 million next season, has played only four minutes twice in the past seven games. He's on pace to have his worst season since his rookie year in 2002.
Dunleavy said his knee, which he had surgery on in March 2009, isn't bothering him.
"It's definitely not what I had in mind," Dunleavy said about his postseason drought with the Pacers. "But sometimes that's life and that's what you're dealt with, and you have to make the most of it. You have to continue to push forward and try to get to the playoffs and be on a winning team."