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Thread: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

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    Default Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Hello everyone once again. Lots of things on my mind today based on what I am hearing, seeing, and reading here and elsewhere.....so let me just get started.

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    Bashing Jim O'Brien has become a common thing to do on message boards, fan forums, talk radio, and among fans everywhere else across Pacers country. Yet for the most part he gets a free pass among the mainstream media, and definitely has the support of upper management as far as we can tell. Fans, especially on here, view that as the media being asleep at the switch and/or proof that our front office is clueless, those are almost accepted as facts at this point not be disputed by many if not almost all.

    Yet the questions I'd like for many of you to ask yourselves are these:

    1. Isn't stability in not turning over coaches a good thing?
    2. Who else would have really made a giant difference based on who we have on our roster?

    The NBA is a players league, we all know that. So why do we spend so much time bashing our coach, when there are very few people in the world we could hire to replace him that would make any real difference?

    Let's look at some examples off the top of my head:

    -Alvin Gentry. He has been fired numerous times from some bad teams/organizations. Now he gets to coach Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire, and he is beating soundly a man we all consider to be a better coach than he is in Gregg Popovich. Did Gentry all of a sudden realize how to coach? No, he just has better players with Phoenix than he did with the Clippers.

    -Doc Rivers. Doc was a failure as a coach, bashed in the media constantly in Beantown. Then he gets Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and suddenly he gets smarter.

    -Mike Da'Antoni. Coach D was considered a new age basketball genius by some when in Italy and in Phoenix, but now as coach as the personnel challenged Knicks he can't seem to win.

    There would be a thousand other examples if I wanted to take the time to list them all. How many coaches of the year have been fired shortly after winning the award? Almost every team in the playoffs is being coached by someone who has been fired elsewhere, did these people all of a sudden learn a bunch more about how to coach when they got a new job? Of course not, they just happened to have landed in better spots with better players usually.

    Gregg Popovich? Larry Brown? George Karl? Stan Van Gundy? Scott Skiles? All of these guys are great coaches, but at one time they've all been shown the door. Maybe some of their former employers wish they had them back, don't you think? Even Jerry Sloan was canned in Chicago once. How ridiculous does that seem now?

    A wise old coach, Royce Waltman once told me that the best coach in the world doing the best job isn't the coach who is winning titles or getting accolades. The coach likely doing the best is the guy who is slightly below .500 who is coaching his arse off just to try and win games with inferior talent and no support. I agree with that assessment.

    Don't get me wrong, Jim O'Brien gets on my nerves as much as he does all of yours sometimes. His mannerisms, his player rotations, his offensive stubbornness, how he handles the media, all those things could be better and I wish they were. Is Jim O'Brien's system probably going to lead this particular group of players to a championship or even to the playoffs? No, very unlikely....and eventually we will have someone different have a chance to lead us to those points. I didn't like the hire when it was made and said so on here. The reliance on the three point shot, the quick bad shots, the over engineered defensive style, stubbornness....all of those bug me just like they do you.

    But Jim O'Brien has helped turn our culture around. He has added a professionalism and stability that our fragile franchise needed, and he has led a basically controversy free team for quite a while. Our players don't quit on him, seem to listen, and even when benched or misused seem to handle things with a professional manner and grace. He has our team acting and behaving like pros, and being competitive in the late season even when part of us wishes his teams would just lay down and quit like so many others do.

    He has led us with class, dignity, and honor in his tenure, and even though he will no doubt be out of town by the next time we are really good again, we still should be able to recognize the competitiveness and winning culture he has been a part of improving in his tenure, no matter how long it may last from this day forward. We likely won't be winners while he is coaching us, but someday when we DO win, he'll be able to smile to himself and know he played a small role in creating circumstances that led to that happening.

    I have before and will again criticize his strategies and style, and that is fair and part of the job. But you cannot criticize his work ethic, commitment to the job, and his representation of the city and the franchise. We could have (and actually HAVE had) a much worse coaching situation than we have now. While the sun will soon set on how far he can take us, I for one appreciate what Coach O'Brien has done for us no matter what the results. In some ways I think it demeans us as a fan base when we blame so much on a coach, and yet leave certain players or owners blameless. We are better than that I think, or at least should be.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on here called "Building a championship team using San Antonio as our model", or something similar to that. Let's review where we are in that pursuit now.

    The Spurs were mainly built on the backs of 3 way above average players, a well coached team with its best player totally bought in to the system and the city, and smart role players who fit in smartly with the group.

    This is the model franchise for how we have to build ourselves, in my opinion. The Spurs were never going to be able to get a max free agent superstar to come there, they had to be smart in how they acquired pieces that fit perfectly, and they needed quite a bit of luck as well. Lets review some of the major steps:

    1. They already had an aging David Robinson obviously. His injuries made them an awful team for one year and let them get incredibly lucky in the lottery, where they landed Tim Duncan.

    2. They drafted Manu Ginobili later in the draft from Europe, which at that time was vastly under appreciated by NBA teams.

    3. They got a very good point guard in Tony Parker late in the first round from France.

    4. Because Tim Duncan had the consummate team attitude and could take hard coaching, you never heard of controversy or player revolt in San Antonio. Coach Popovich needed his star to go all in with him, and he did....because Popovich was quite a yell/scream guy when he was younger and probably still is to some degree. When the leader totally buys in, the other guys follow.

    5. The front office and coaching staff worked hand in hand and were in complete sync with each other, and built a culture of winning where things were done in a professional way, and that players wanted to come there and could fit in to help win. The front office picked up undervalued talent that fit their schemes perfectly, and the coaching staff adapted to what they had. Communication and planning between the front office and coaching staff was brilliant.


    So here is my challenge to all of you: Instead of arguing about who our 10th man should be, and whether our 3rd string point guard should play more, or worrying about players who won't be here 2 years from now, lets worry about the following:

    A. Is our front office and coaching staff clearly singing off the same song sheet completely and all of the time?

    B. Has our best player (Granger) totally bought in to what we are doing and planning long term? Is he fully committed to becoming great, or is he going to plateau to the world of really good but not good enough?

    C. What do we need to do to get the 2 other elite type players we need to go along with Granger? Who are they?

    D. Are Hibbert, Rush, McRoberts, Hansbrough and Price good enough players to fit what we are doing long term, or do we need to jettison them and use them in deals to acquire who we really need?

    If we are using San Antonio as our model of success, Jim O'Brien is probably the coach pre- Popovich. And that is ok for now, because we need to marshall our resources to get players before we worry about the coaching angle of this I think.

    Here is how I look at what we have now, and what we need to become championship contenders:

    PG/SG: There are 2 ways to do this I think: get a super elite, top 6 level point guard. This player is going to need to be able to score, pass, and defend...in other words a superstar player, a max contract guy or close to it. Somebody who is a stud. If you go this way I think you can live with and actually would want Brandon Rush to stay, because he would fit perfectly as a compliment between this player and Granger. Then Price fits as a backup 15 minute a game back up point guard, and you can easily acquire a scoring slashing guy to provide bench scoring behind Granger and Rush. Jones is a good cheap 4th wing guy. Dunleavy is history.

    The other way to do this is to get a more traditional (and cheaper) point guard and pay him average starter money. He'd need to be more of a caretaker, less of a scorer, and more of a defender. More of a system guy, not an all star but an above average player who fits in. Think of Kirk Hinrich, Andre Miller type level players, except younger than Miller obviously.

    If you go that route, then you'll need another main scorer beside Granger. Someone who is almost as good as Granger, or even slightly better than him. Preferably in our case an athletic slasher who can handle the ball and drive, since Granger is more of a shooter at this point. This is an easier guy to find as wings are more common. It would also mean that you keep Jones or Rush as a backup to both of them, but you'd have the freedom to deal one of them to acquire another piece.

    SF: I think Granger is solid here. Under contract, solid citizen it would seem. He needs to buy in fully and commit to being great though, and I don't know if I see that happening yet. I think he settles in about where I always said he would, which is about Paul Pierce level. Pierce was good but won nothing until he got help from Allen, Garnett, and Rondo.

    PF: I think we have a bunch of questions here. McRoberts I view as a bench guy, 4th big type, energy guy who helps you in spurts. I love watching him play and if you had a dominant center I think you could start him and win, but we don't have that and likely never will. Hansbrough I assume will be healthy, and if he is I view him as a 3rd big, 6th man role type who plays about 24-30 minutes a game off the bench. I think he will score, get to the line, play hard every night, and give you everything he has...a winning player. But, unless you have a superstar center you probably need someone better starting and finishing games if you are going to win a title. So, this is the spot where you need to get a big time superstar somehow, preferably one who is big enough to play back up center as well if you want, though that is a luxury. A "player x" that I keep talking about would be perfect.

    Murphy is a really good player, let me just say that. He is just unorthodox and hard to build around. I feel about him like I felt about Alan Iverson (how is that for a comparison!), as both were really good players but you had to be willing to plan your entire team around them to make them effective. Iverson is obviously better than Murphy, so you could almost justify doing that with him in his prime, but Murphy simply isn't that good.

    Murphy would fit in many places with a truly dominant center or wing, but we don't have either of those. He puts up numbers but on most teams he can't help them win.

    Jeff Foster has been a warrior, and a true professional. But his time has come and gone here, and I hope we deal him somewhere that can help us and help him go out with another chance to win. Our culture is fixed to the point that I don't think we need to keep Jeff around anymore as a lockerroom leader guy. Losing him this year cost us games no question, as he is one of our most important players.....but thinking long term we need to move on.

    C I think Roy Hibbert is good enough to be a starting player on a championship level team, if he is the 4th or 5th best player in the group. We could use a more athletic, defensive minded player to go with him as a backup, but it doesnt need to be an expensive player or a high priority.


    Most of you probably agree with what I just wrote, that wasn't exactly hard hitting analysis there.

    But breaking it down like that just shows you how quickly things can turn for a franchise like ours: Just look at some theoretical examples:

    -Pacers get lucky and hit the lottery, draft John Wall. PG solved for 10 years we think. With a great PG Rush/Granger/Jones/ whoever combo suddenly makes sense. Now we need big free agent/sign and trade PF guy and we are set to make a run at it:

    PG Wall and Price
    Wings Granger, Rush, Jones, mid level free agent veteran or drafted guy
    PF Player X star player , Hansbrough, McRoberts
    C Hibbert and athletic backup defensive minded big guy.

    Not saying that could or would happen, but one bounce of the lotto ball can change things dramatically. In the above scenario if you get lotto lucky and get the 2nd pick and take Turner, now you plug him in and start him next to Granger, send Rush to the bench, settle for a cheaper alternative like Miller or Hinrich level PG, and still have to hunt for a stud player X in the frontcourt.

    The point is, we need to get draft lucky one more time, and get the money of Ford, Dunleavy, and Murphy off the books to acquire a stud player at some other position. Then you all of a sudden we turn it around quickly and Bird/Morway can look like they knew what they were doing all along.

    I can assure you, they have moves in mind they have fantasized about making thinking about the above scenarios playing out. Somewhere in the offices or on the desks of Morway and Bird, they have their potential rosters all laid out 2 or 3 years in advance I bet.

    You can see it now....the Pacers long term plan to bring in a more traditional coach next summer to help recruit players, hopefully tutor some more recently acquired talent, and coach us when are ready to make a big leap. The plan really is starting to take shape, if we can just stay patient.

    By the way, I'll have a future piece about who the superstar is I think the Pacers might be targeting next summer, and what moves I think they should make in order to make that as likely as possible when I write my pre draft "masterplan" article sometime after the lottery and before the draft.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Speaking of the summer of 2011, the summer of 2010 is going to be important for that as well, particularly the draft.

    The Pacers have alot of player openings in 2011, with alot of money coming off the books, we all know that. We have very few guys under contract after this year.

    But in the NBA, depth doesn't win, you need big money superstar talents to win. I think we have 1 such player in Granger, but he needs 2 more stud players with him. One or both of those is going to need to come from a trade or free agency, which means we will need to spend some big money. That is fine, because we will have the means to do that.

    But it would be very helpful, and likely really help us long run, if we were able to get some cheaper talent under contract in advance of next summer. That way, we could consolidate our resources and spend big money on one or two players, with not having to spend as much money to fill out the roster.....not having to "spread the wealth" next summer is the difference perhaps in being the highest bidder for a great player, or coming in second.

    This is the reason our ownership and front office needs to be nimble this June. I think this is a crucial time to try and get a second first round pick, IF we don't get one of the first 3 picks in the lottery that is. If we do get lucky, we will get a for sure long term starter and superstar (we hope) level player down the road for cheaper money, and we can change our salary outlays accordingly.

    But assuming we don't get lucky, we will need to spend money to bring in a couple of high salaried stud players if this plan is going to work. That means having cheap backups will be crucial, and this is where that extra first round pick would really help us.

    With that second 1st rounder, we can draft the long term replacement for Dunleavy (a 5th wing this year, 4th wing or better in the future) or a long term backup center (replacement for Foster long term essentially).

    A cheap backup center is a very handy thing to have in the NBA, and we can get one long term for us this draft we play things smartly. That way in 2012, 2013, or 2014 we don't have to spend ridiculous money trying to fill that spot, instead we can save money by growing our own.

    Or, we could swing for the fences and try and draft a foreign young player, and hope they develop for us in Europe, and we can get a cheap major young contributor for us down the road, perhaps in 2011 even.

    Or, drafting wing depth makes sense so we can have the luxury of being able to pay cheap money for that spot or to use Rush or Jones as a sweetener in a major acquisition of some sort. There will be some decent wings in the late teens or early 20's in this draft I think.

    No matter who we'd happen to pick, this is the absolutely PERFECT year to try and acquire a bonus first round pick. Lots of teams will be wanting out of the draft all together I think for financial reasons, which is why we need to be willing to spend a quarter now to save a dollar later, if you know what I mean.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    As always, lots of good thought starters here in the topics I hope. Hopefully, this will get some really good discussions going on some things maybe that haven't been discussed or at least fleshed out as much as they will be now.

    As always, the above is just my opinion.

    Tbird

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    The Spurs got INCREDIBLY lucky by winning the draft lottery in 1997. They also had a pretty darn good team that had won 50-60 games a season for several years in a row prior to the 1996-97 campaign.

    Also, the Spurs front office is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the Pacers. Tony Parker was available when the Pacers made a trade with the Atlanta Hawks to select.......Jamaal Tinsley. Two more recent examples of how much better the Spurs ' management is than the Pacers is reflected in the past two NBA drafts. In 2008, the Pacers took Brandon "Enigma" Rush while the Spurs selected George Hill, and Indiana native who is already a better player than the aforementioned Rush. In 2009, the Pacers took Tyler Hansbrough over Dejuan Blair, who fell to the Spurs. Need I say more?

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Nice read.

    It just reinforces the frustration that this was probably our best chance to land a top pick, and potentially get that franchise changing player like John Wall or Evan Turner, and we more or less squandered it away by actually playing respectable basketball for the last month and a half. Maybe we can get lucky and strike gold like the Bucks did with Brandon Jennings in the late lottery, but more than likely we will be adding another nice complimentary role player, unless we take a huge chance on a high success-bust prospect (which I don't think Bird and O'Brien are inclined to do since they want and need quick results).

    It'll be interesting to see if/who the Pacers are able to get in free agency, without seriously overpaying for their services.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I appreciate your comments on our coach

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    The NBA is a players league, we all know that. So why do we spend so much time bashing our coach, when there are very few people in the world we could hire to replace him that would make any real difference?

    Let's look at some examples off the top of my head:

    -Alvin Gentry. He has been fired numerous times from some bad teams/organizations. Now he gets to coach Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire, and he is beating soundly a man we all consider to be a better coach than he is in Gregg Popovich. Did Gentry all of a sudden realize how to coach? No, he just has better players with Phoenix than he did with the Clippers.

    -Doc Rivers. Doc was a failure as a coach, bashed in the media constantly in Beantown. Then he gets Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and suddenly he gets smarter.

    -Mike Da'Antoni. Coach D was considered a new age basketball genius by some when in Italy and in Phoenix, but now as coach as the personnel challenged Knicks he can't seem to win.

    There would be a thousand other examples if I wanted to take the time to list them all. How many coaches of the year have been fired shortly after winning the award? Almost every team in the playoffs is being coached by someone who has been fired elsewhere, did these people all of a sudden learn a bunch more about how to coach when they got a new job? Of course not, they just happened to have landed in better spots with better players usually.

    Gregg Popovich? Larry Brown? George Karl? Stan Van Gundy? Scott Skiles? All of these guys are great coaches, but at one time they've all been shown the door. Maybe some of their former employers wish they had them back, don't you think? Even Jerry Sloan was canned in Chicago once. How ridiculous does that seem now?

    Glad someone finally said it. The NBA is most definitely a players' league.

    Guys like Byron Scott, Sam Mitchell, Avery Johnson and Rick Carlisle are recent examples of coaches who won Coach of the Year award and were then shown the door just 1-2 years later. In contrast, how many players get traded or waived 1-2 years after winning MVP? This league is obviously friendly to players and not so friendly to coaches.

    Every fanbase in the league complains about their coach. Everyone here tired of Rick Carlisle. So he went to Dallas and all of a sudden people thought he got his mojo back and was doing a good job. Then everyone here regretted swapping him for JOB. Now after just two seasons in Dallas, everyone over there thinks he's the devil and they want to throw him off a bridge....because, because what? Oh because he chose to play an older vet over a young guy. Does that somehow sound familiar?

    I remember Sacramento fans back in the day whining and moaning about having Rick Adelman, and how that team would never win a championship as long as Adelman was coach. Well they got their wish and got rid of Adelman and ever since that, they've only gotten further away from that championship, not closer.

    Also, everyone was fawning over what a great job Scott Skiles was doing this year, how he got a bunch of role players to overachieve, play hard and emphasize defense. How little we forget that this very same guy has been run out of town in two other cities because he wore on players and they stopped playing hard for him.

    In the NBA, fans too often expect the coach to make all the difference when in fact there is only so much he can do. Yes, coaching does matter. There are definitely a list of elite coaches who make a difference worth noting, but this is a very small list compared to a very large list of guys who you can swap one another for and not get a huge difference in results.

    It's a players' league, and the constant hirings, firings and blamings that a coach in this league gets proves it.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I am very much sick of JOB and the style of basketball we are playing...

    ...but I agree with your comments about JOB 100%.

    Thanks for reminding me of the good side of things.
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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Comparing the Pacers to the mid-90's Spurs isn't a valid comparison. I think the current team is closer to the pre-David Robinson Spurs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._Spurs_seasons

    Look at their win/loss record in the seasons before Robinson was drafted. Looks a lot closer to the current Pacers than the few years before Duncan was drafted. Taking that into consideration, the Pacers just need to win the lottery twice as that is what the Spurs did to achieve their success.
    Spoiler Spoiler:

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I am sorry but I disagree about the coach, good coaching could make a huge difference in any team, if we are using the Alvin Gentry example we should take into account in how good of a coach he is, OK he has Nash and Amare, but the rest of the team is a bunch of role players at best, why is he been so successful? because he knows were to position his players to be successful and he knows when to leave a guy in the game when that guy has a hot hand(see Frye in the second game and Gordan Dragic yesterday)

    For example if a guy like Obrien was coaching the Phoenix Suns he would take a hot hand Gordan out in the 4th quarter because he feels that the older guy(Nash) "gives him a better chance to win" sure Nash is the man but a good coach would realize that one of the players is on fire and would keep him in, we seen this happening many times with the pacers were Hibbert or any other player gets hot and a minute later they get benched for some reason.

    I also disagree in the statement where Obrien brings professionalism and stability, I don't think he brings this, if he was a professional he would not be making stupid comments in public about a player that played his a$$ in a "meaninless game" and he would not rely on the +/- bs to make a point in why he plays one player over another.

    A coach that brings stability to a team does not change the line up everytime and does not try to match his starting line up with another team, one day he starts Roy at center and the next day he starts Troy, how is that stability?

    Regarding the comments about how to be like the Spurs I really think that their front office is light years ahead of the pacers FO, this team(The Spurs) always find a way to get good players, either players in the US or out of the country, in the 1st or 2nd round, I really doubt that this current pacers front office is ever going to be as good as theirs, they Spurs are just that good.
    Last edited by vnzla81; 05-08-2010 at 07:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I think what you say about the Coach is interesting.

    In some ways, I agree. Despite intense criticism, O'brien has been extremely opened to the fans. And although never giving up at the end of the season was stupid, the fact that the mentality was "win" I guess has it's upsides, particularly as every player bought into it. (Whereas Granger must have known he'd be better off with John Wall on the team, he still fought for everywin)

    But I also think, you are giving credit to O'Brien for some things, where as the credit belongs to the players.

    Yes, the NBA is a players league, but this team is a coach's team. They are a bunch of profesional guys, who listen to their coach, and do what they are told.

    And it makes sense, Our team is full of big time college guys, which the big time All stars are not. (Kobe, Lebron, Dwight didn't even go to college, many stars only going one year) The players we have spent a few years in a situation where it was "Do what coach says" and "this is for the team." That's how they are, and that's how they've acted. Even players we don't necessarily like. (coughTJcough)

    That's not Jimmy's coaching or Jimmy's influence, that's a result of the type of players Larry has gone after.

    The fact that these guys put up with JOB shows that at the very least, they are a bunch of likeable professional guys.


    As for the franchise.

    I guess I'm more optomistic about it than most people.

    I agree with the idea of having "a big 3"...and I also think that Roy and Granger could be two of the 3.

    I think Tyler/Josh AJ and Rush's ceiling is "solid starter"

    I also think, that in terms of chemistry, personalities and combination of skill set, AJ, Rush, Danny, Tyler/Josh, and Roy fit together, really well. That's not to say an upgrade wouldn't be wanted. But I think these players are capable of more than what people give them credit for, given the right condition.

    So assuming we need one more "big 3" player (although, I think Rush has the talent to be that, and AJ and Tyler have the mentality..but assuming one of those three doesn't step up) That player can either be a PG, SG, or PF.

    To me, it breaks down this way

    You get a "big 3 type of player" at the PG position, your team most improves. But that type of PG is the hardest type of player to find.

    A SG, easiest to find, but probably improves your team the least.

    PF, somewhere in the middle.

    That said, I would really like to see that core play a lot of minutes, just to see how they'd play. The game against Cleveland, where Price, Roy, and Rush played extremely well, and as a unit, got me excited about the possibilities for our younger guys.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Thank you for your insight as always Tbird.

    With respect to our near unanimous and often scathing criticism of O'Brien, much of it is borne of emotion and passion for seeing basketball played in a way that maximizes player performance and development that we see as sorely lacking in his coaching performance, culminating this year in one of the most frustrating seasons in 20+ years. Then, the late season rally occurs due to Granger getting healthy and making 3's likely will serve to reinforce the idea to O'Brien that he was right all along when, in fact, more wins would have been possible earlier in the year if rotations and lineups had been used more judiciously with respect to the realities of available talent and the need to develop young players for the future, whether they are part of the Pacers future, or being increased in value as trade pieces. His failure in all of these respects makes it difficult to find much good to say about him as a coach, even when it comes to character building. When O'Brien also stated various things in the media concerning whatever the topic du jour happened to be and what he was planning to do about it, only to go out and nearly without fail, without any mitigating circumstances to the contrary, actually do the exact opposite of what he said, I feel that his own character is what needs worked on more than that of his players.

    With respect to the idea that O'Brien somehow is the reason for the increased professionalism shown by our players, I actually credit Bird and Morway for bringing in the kind of players who 1) have kept out of known trouble for the past year and 2) have had the innate professionalism to go through this season in particular without going straight to the media with their frustrations despite it being quite apparent in watching the frustration on their faces during games both on the floor and on the bench, especially when the gameplan of shooting as many 3's as possible or having our pgs drive into traffic on a frequent basis with the main intention of kicking back outside for additional 3's.

    With respect to who to replace him with and when, the "who" is more difficult to determine than the "when".

    The when should easily be now, despite the financial disaster that the contract extension creates for the cash strapped Pacers. The reason is that this year would be ideal for determining who a new coaching staff sees as keepers for the future from a player standpoint, and would give an additional year of undoing the damage that I feel is being done to our young players at an age where they are less set in the wrong way of playing basketball. It would also provide focus on what the personnel goals of the franchise needs to be from both a player and consulting and assistant coaching standpoint (besides just bringing in whoever it is for Roy) a year sooner, and in time for the summer of our expirings (assuming that we don't actually get any meaningful trades done this offseason).

    The who (and who would hopefully be the pre-Popovich that you refer to) would likely be either Lawrence Frank or Byron Scott, with Frank being the most likely to accept the position unless the franchise is willing to pay for a premium coach like Scott on top of paying off O'Brien's contract. Scott may actually be a finalizing coach, though, and may not be appropriate for our fledgling rebuilding efforts at this point. My hope would be that Pat Riley hits a homerun this summer with player acquisitions and fires Spoelstra so that Riley can try for another championship, with Spoelstra being a good candidate for our rebuilding purposes, also.

    But, I doubt any of this makes any difference to Herb Simon at this time though, which is why O'Brien is still employed. I feel that Simon is preparing to have as little ongoing financial exposure to the potentially league and franchise damaging lockout that may be in store for the season after next, which is why basically no one on the basketball operations side has an established contract beyond this upcoming season, and is also why I feel that there is probably no urgency to trade off any expiring contracts, period, and that the best we can hope for at draft time is to be able to trade down for two picks with the inclusion of one of our young players (likely Rush) as a sweetner.

    I hope both the last paragraph and this one are way off base, though. Watching a continuing downward trend in the performance of our team may hasten another possibility for the offseason of 2011, that being the sale of our Pacers, or their simply being disbanded due to financial exigency.

    The above is merely my own admittedly depressing opinion.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Can't wait to see who you have in mind as Player X. I like Al Horford quite a bit, but I know that probably doesn't qualify. I also think TPTB should push hard for Bosh this summer, who I think might qualify too. Great post!

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    To me Phil Jackson has always been an opportunist and an overrated coach with his Zen crap always coaching the best player of the league.

    Quote Originally Posted by d_c View Post
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    Glad someone finally said it. The NBA is most definitely a players' league.

    Guys like Byron Scott, Sam Mitchell, Avery Johnson and Rick Carlisle are recent examples of coaches who won Coach of the Year award and were then shown the door just 1-2 years later. In contrast, how many players get traded or waived 1-2 years after winning MVP? This league is obviously friendly to players and not so friendly to coaches.

    Every fanbase in the league complains about their coach. Everyone here tired of Rick Carlisle. So he went to Dallas and all of a sudden people thought he got his mojo back and was doing a good job. Then everyone here regretted swapping him for JOB. Now after just two seasons in Dallas, everyone over there thinks he's the devil and they want to throw him off a bridge....because, because what? Oh because he chose to play an older vet over a young guy. Does that somehow sound familiar?

    I remember Sacramento fans back in the day whining and moaning about having Rick Adelman, and how that team would never win a championship as long as Adelman was coach. Well they got their wish and got rid of Adelman and ever since that, they've only gotten further away from that championship, not closer.

    Also, everyone was fawning over what a great job Scott Skiles was doing this year, how he got a bunch of role players to overachieve, play hard and emphasize defense. How little we forget that this very same guy has been run out of town in two other cities because he wore on players and they stopped playing hard for him.

    In the NBA, fans too often expect the coach to make all the difference when in fact there is only so much he can do. Yes, coaching does matter. There are definitely a list of elite coaches who make a difference worth noting, but this is a very small list compared to a very large list of guys who you can swap one another for and not get a huge difference in results.

    It's a players' league, and the constant hirings, firings and blamings that a coach in this league gets proves it.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    We need a bit of editing:

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    1. Isn't stability in not turning over GOOD coaches a good thing?
    You would think so, though one cant help but recall Larry Bird's comments regarding 3 years-which makes the current situation all the more puzzling

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    1b. Isn't stability in not turning over BAD coaches a good thing?
    ?
    I suppose if you strive for mediocrity or worse, then yes. Otherwise, hell no. "We suck, but we are stable". Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Cmon now. If anyone thinks this team is trending in the right direction then they surely arent paying attention. The trend is pretty obvious. I think we all must agree this past season was the worst of the last 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    2. Who else would have really made a giant difference based on who we have on our roster??
    There a great number of coaches that probably wouldve stood a much better chance of getting the team to the playoffs. Its never just about the coach-its about the coach and the relationship he has with the team.

    Or would you have us believe that you dont think the team wouldve been any better this year if Larry Brown were coaching it or Rick Carlisle or Jerry Sloan or Pop or Phil, etc?

    Hell, it seemed everyone was impressed by how the team played the night that JOB wasnt available to coach-and that was Lester Connor.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Good work T-Bird.
    I agree much of what you said about JO'B, & what he has done for the franchise maybe moreso then the team, & I will add a few Question to your thoughts:

    -How much of a better coach will JO'B be w/ several key players playing for a new contract after n/y?

    -How much a better coach will JO'B be with a healthy Foster & Dun?

    -How much better will JO'B be if we have J.Wall or E.Turner playing w/ Granger & team?


    This all said, I can't immagine wanting here beyond n/y.
    "Larry Bird: You are Officially On the Clock! (3/24/08)"
    (Watching You Like A Hawk!)

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I definitely agree that coaching in the NBA is extremely overrated. I have to admit that I haven't looked into statistical analysis to back me up on this (other than take notice of obvious general trends that anyone can see), but it seems pretty clear to me that an NBA coach has relatively little ability to affect the W/L column of a team.

    In fact, I tend to think that he has LESS of a chance to make a team "better" and MORE of a chance to hold a team back through poor lineups, rotations, etc. In other words, no matter how "good" a coach is, it is doubtful that anything he does will really make that much of a difference in the win column past a certain point, but he can really hold a team back by poor coaching decisions.

    What it really comes down to is the players. No matter who was coaching those Bulls of the 90s, they had an extremely good chance to win tons of championships. No matter who was coaching the Lakers during their three-peat, they were bound to win a few. There is a recurring theme, and it is that all of those teams had superior players; absolute superstars. And you can look at just about every NBA championship team and find at least one bona fide superstar.

    I agree with Pacemaker regarding the "Zen Master". That guy has had three all time greats on his teams (Jordan, Bryant, Shaq). Not to mention an absolute slew of great players (Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc, Harper, Rice, etc) and tons of role players (Kerr, Horry, Fisher, etc.). And this is true with all of the supposed great coaches throughout the history of the NBA. A 10 year old could have coached those teams to championships.

    I cannot think of a single coach that has been able to take an absolutely horrible team to a championship (or even the playoffs for that matter). The same generally goes for even mediocre teams. And certainly no one did it multiple times. And it is the multiple-championship coaches that garner the "great coach" label. I'd be willing to change my opinion based on someone showing me a coach that has been able to that which I believe hasn't been done. But until then, it seems clear that superstar players make anyone look good, and horrible players will make the "greatest" coach look like a fool. It's that simple as far as I can tell.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Welcome to the board, Elcharanguista!
    ...Still "flying casual"
    @roaminggnome74

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Al Horford in 2011.

    I would throw big money at him. He is your Player "X". Plays PF/C great shot blocker and rebounder. Smart player. Athletic. Plays the pick and roll well. Can move over to center, but does better at PF. He would be a monster next to Hibbert.

    As for the PG position. We need to be praying that the Nets win the lottery if we don't. The Nets need PF help and hopefully a package for Hansborough or #10 and an expiring possibly would get it done. Devin Harris, Brandon Rush, Danny Granger, Al Horford, Roy Hibbert sounds appealing to me. Price, DJones, Hansborough, and McRoberts can be the future of our bench. Maybe that is too wild to be prophetic.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Quote Originally Posted by pacergod2 View Post
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    Al Horford in 2011.

    I would throw big money at him. He is your Player "X". Plays PF/C great shot blocker and rebounder. Smart player. Athletic. Plays the pick and roll well. Can move over to center, but does better at PF. He would be a monster next to Hibbert.

    As for the PG position. We need to be praying that the Nets win the lottery if we don't. The Nets need PF help and hopefully a package for Hansborough or #10 and an expiring possibly would get it done. Devin Harris, Brandon Rush, Danny Granger, Al Horford, Roy Hibbert sounds appealing to me. Price, DJones, Hansborough, and McRoberts can be the future of our bench. Maybe that is too wild to be prophetic.
    In regards to this.....other then Horford, is there any other "Player X" that is out there?

    I'm just trying to get an idea about who fits that mold that is athletic enough to be a PF but also is strong enough to be a Center.
    Ash from Army of Darkness: Good...Bad...I'm the guy with the gun.

    This is David West, he is the Honey Badger, West just doesn't give a *****....he's pretty bad *ss cuz he has no regard for any other Player or Team whatsoever.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Dirk in 2011, can he be player x?

  28. #20

    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Does Nene fit the "player" X need?

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    I'm sorry. I just really disagree with everything you said regarding O'Brien.

    I believe coaches should be given a chance, I hate when a coach is given the door after only a few seasons - they deserve a chance to make a difference and it can be hard to do that with someone elses team. In fact, Jim O'Brien is the first basketball coach that I have really been set on firing. I loved Carlisle, but I understod why they fired him, I didn't think Thomas was near as bad as O'Brien and never cared if he was fired or not. O'Brien is different, he is stubborn and refuses to acknowledge what works and what doesn't work. I saw the team quit on him many times this year, however last year I don't think they ever quit on him. But your giving all the credit to O'Brien for changing the mentality of the team, when I think it was actually Bird who just got guys whos attitude reflect what we see now. I think they've always had that mentality, it wasn't anything O'Brien did or did not do. If O'Brien showed the willingness to change, then I might have more understanding torwards him, but he hasn't. The fact that you openly say players are professional when O'Brien misuses them show that its their attitude that made that reaction, not respect torwards him.

    I have NBA League Pass and often, I would get to listen to the other teams broadcasters. You know your coach is bad when other teams broadcasters are constantly questioning his coaching from only watching a few games a year.

    If I was Jim O'Briend attorny and forced to defend him. I would simply plead insanity. Thats the only thing that would explain his decisions.

    In regards to another coach making a difference. I definitely think there are a few out there who could have gotten more wins. There are probably even a few who wouldn't have gotten as many, but I still would have rather had them. Jim O'Brien coaches bad basketball and installs bad habits into the players. Whether or not another coach could have gotten more wins this year is irrelevant to me, because our future won't be as good with the way O'Brien has handled things. Any new coach is going to have to start from scratch again.
    Last edited by Dr. Awesome; 05-09-2010 at 03:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Awesome View Post
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    I'm sorry. I just really disagree with everything you said regarding O'Brien.

    I believe coaches should be given a chance, I hate when a coach is given the door after only a few seasons - they deserve a chance to make a difference and it can be hard to do that with someone elses team. In fact, Jim O'Brien is the first basketball coach that I have really been set on firing. I loved Carlisle, but I understod why they fired him, I didn't think Thomas was near as bad as O'Brien and never cared if he was fired or not. O'Brien is different, he is stubborn and refuses to acknowledge what works and what doesn't work. I saw the team quit on him many times this year, however last year I don't think they ever quit on him. But your giving all the credit to O'Brien for changing the mentality of the team, when I think it was actually Bird who just got guys whos attitude reflect what we see now. I think they've always had that mentality, it wasn't anything O'Brien did or did not do. If O'Brien showed the willingness to change, then I might have more understanding torwards him, but he hasn't. The fact that you openly say players are professional when O'Brien misuses them show that its their attitude that made that reaction, not respect torwards him.

    I have NBA League Pass and often, I would get to listen to the other teams broadcasters. You know your coach is bad when other teams broadcasters are constantly questioning his coaching from only watching a few games a year.

    If I was Jim O'Briend attorny and forced to defend him. I would simply plead insanity. Thats the only thing that would explain his decisions.

    In regards to another coach making a difference. I definitely think there are a few out there who could have gotten more wins. There are probably even a few who wouldn't have gotten as many, but I still would have rather had them. Jim O'Brien coaches bad basketball and installs bad habits into the players. Whether or not another coach could have gotten more wins this year is irrelevant to me, because our future won't be as good with the way O'Brien has handled things. Any new coach is going to have to start from scratch again.
    I think people are missing the point when they say "what would the difference have been with a different coach."

    I don't know about you, but I don't want to watch Josh, Roy, and Tyler become Murphy lite.

    I don't want to watch Rush and Price learn that they better jack up threes, or they're coming out.

    I want them to continue to learn good fundamentals, not some gimicky crap. And Jimmy teaches them gimicky crap...and doesn't even give them as much time to play his gimicky crap as he should.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    More than anything else the point guard is the key and what we're lacking. In the franchise history we've only had 2 really good point guards. Freddy Lewis and Marc Jackson. When we had them we won championships and were title contenders. Freddy was a free agent and we traded for Marc. If we can pick up a good PG and stay healthy this can be a good team. TJ looked like a good PG when we made the trade, but did not live up to expectations. I think we are going to have to trade for a point guard. The Pacers have been successful in the past when they were able to trade for a player who was sitting on the bench somewhere else and came here to play well. I hope we can do that again as I don't believe that we can get a top quality PG in the draft (whether we drafted at the 4th or the 10th!) However, getting a good trade is very hard. One thing to remember about the draft, Wall could turn out to be another Oden.

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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Great points BMac.

    One thing I will say is that I don't know that we had huge expectations for Ford. He was salary filler for O'neal. Without adding his three years to that deal, Toronto would have taken on way more money than they already did. So in looking back, would you trade Ford and Hibbert for O'neal? I wouldn't trade Ford straight up for O'Neal if that trade even worked realistically. Anything we got from Ford was a bonus IMO. But he is a prototypical backup PG who can give you 20 minutes of mayhem. We have been relying on him as a starter and that just isn't suitable. He would be great for a team that had a solid cheap young PG, such as Milwaukee, NJ (if they get Wall), Charlotte, Chicago (if they trade Hinrich), and Boston. We would be a solid destination for him if we could rely on Price to give us starter minutes.

    In regards to us being compared to San Antonio, I think that is a suitable reference. I just think the Spurs started with an emphasis on defense and that is clearly not our team's philosophy. They were a top defensive team for several years. We are a bottom defensive team. I am talking about the Spurs with early Robinson, not early Duncan. Robinson came in and was a clear difference maker year one. They also had young guys in Vernon Maxwell, Willie Anderson, Sean Elliott, and Rod Strickland, and the veteran in Terry Cummings. Those teams that really started out with their young guys and gave them legitimate minutes.

    When I look at our roster, we still have way too many minutes getting eaten up by older players who have less talent. This is further assurance that our team will be better once JOB is gone. He is not a coach that prioritizes defense. With a 7'2" shot-blocker, our defense should be much better, but we also need to give him some serious help on the interior to not expose him. The makeup of our "veteran" team is nothing like those Spurs teams. The young core I will agree with. The only difference is their young guys were playing significant minutes. If you parallel Robinson/Elliott to Hibbert/Rush, they still had Willie Anderson and Rod Strickland eating up the majority of the minutes at SF and PG. If you want to compare Granger to Cummings as the veteran older player, this means that Price and Hansborough/McRoberts weren't getting nearly the minutes they should have compared to those young Spurs players. I wish we wouldn't hold this team back anymore by wasting time playing Murphy, Dunleavy and Ford other than spot minutes off the bench. It does nothing to get us closer to becoming a good team. Yes those early Spurs teams had much better immediate success than we have, but I think most of that is our "veterans" playing worse defense. Bring in the young legs and let them figure out how to defend. Plus they had a coach in Larry Brown that emphasizes defense that JOB does not. I can't wait for 2011-2012.

  36. #25
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    Default Re: Tbird Topics: Defending Jim O'Brien, comparing us to San Antonio pre dynasty, and draft strategy with the summer of 2011 in mind

    Wow. Are we still having fallout from the Brawl in that we are lauding bringing professionalism as the main selling point for our coach? Have we become that gun-shy (oops, sorry) of even a whiff of controversy that we play it safe in terms of our roster, and don't take chances?

    (It would make a fascinating book to dissect just how far reaching the effects of the brawl have been for this franchise...even to this day.)

    I like the idea of the Spurs model, but there were some unique things about the Spurs they we don't have, and frankly, no one else does either. Popovich was GM and set a tone, then fired Bob Hill, and took over the coaching, setting his stamp there, too. Pop used force of personality to bring his military sensibilities to the Spurs from top to bottom.

    For me, I don't feel like we have a master plan for this organization, despite what Bird says. I don't feel a sense of vision for the future and that has been my major gripe. If we wanted to build a team based on O'Brian's style of play, we would have drafted the high flying Javale McGee over Hibbert (jmho). Does drafting Tyler fit with this team? Really? In terms of O'Brien's style of offense/defense? (I actually think the 76ers roster fits more with what style O'Brien projects)

    I've said it before, but despite Bird's endorsement of JOB, my biggest gripe if what I feel is a lack of direction. (And I'm sorry, that all fine and dandy that JOB has brought a more professional stance to the team, and I admire that quality in teams like Utah and the Spurs, about everything else he brings just doesn't do it for me. And, no, I'm not trying to derail this into JOB bashing.)

    T-Bird's original post had me overwhelmed with a ton of stuff I'd like to say about his original post, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but being at work and time constraints for me in to this tiny response.
    Hey! What're you kicking me for? You want me to ask? All right, I'll ask! Ma'am, where do the high school girls hang out in this town?

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