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  1. #1
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Hoping for a long response from Peck

    Hey, Peck.

    I know you've explained it before, but it was a long time ago and on the IS forum, so I'm looking for a refresher. What is your long, sad tale for not liking Donnie Walsh? What moments made you anti-DW? I know about the Brad Miller stuff, I know you loved Dale Davis and initially hated JO, but I also remember you explaining a couple years back that it was a lot more than that.

    Can you tell us all what all it's been that has caused you to "hate" Donnie Walsh?

  2. #2
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    Hey, Peck.

    I know you've explained it before, but it was a long time ago and on the IS forum, so I'm looking for a refresher. What is your long, sad tale for not liking Donnie Walsh? What moments made you anti-DW? I know about the Brad Miller stuff, I know you loved Dale Davis and initially hated JO, but I also remember you explaining a couple years back that it was a lot more than that.

    Can you tell us all what all it's been that has caused you to "hate" Donnie Walsh?
    Actually he doesn't hate him, he just thinks most fans give Donnie to much credit. Fans like me! He explained one time that he's just more or less playing Devils advocate. (my understanding)

    This will be interesting though!

  3. #3
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    I'll sum up while we wait for the main course:

    The primary complaint I hear is that DWalsh (they say) wants a team that's competitive and will make a profit, but isn't really interested in a championship.

    To which I always say: If that was true, they'd have kept the Davis's.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    Not for sure how competitive we would have been playing and paying the Davis duo this late.

    The Pacers had the third highest payroll during the run by Smits, Davis, Miller. The team has spent when necessary.

    The only restraint that we have been under is the reluctuance to pay the luxury tax and have paid as much as possible while staying under that target. I would not fault any owner for not wanting to pay millions in taxes.

  5. #5
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    I think it is very difficult right now to criticize Donnie Walsh.


    Pacers are the envy of most of the NBA

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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    I agree UB. The pacers have unbelievable talent, and DW knows what he is doing with this team. There are very few teams that have better talent than us.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  7. #7
    Administrator Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    Man I don't know that I have the energy to do this this a.m. & I am a little under the gun for time but I'll give you my best readers digest version of events.

    Now also bare in mind that a lot of things have passed through the sands of time so if anybody who is reading this now & read me 9 years ago on the old starnews forum please forgive me if I've changed some things since then. Also I am going to do this off the top of my head so some of the dates may be wrong & I might even be remembering things wrong, so again let me apologize for that in advance.

    First off, I do not hate Donnie Walsh. As a human being from everything I've ever heard of him he is a decent, loyal & likeable fellow. It has never been anything from a personnal stand point with me.

    Second off let me even set this straight. I do not think he is a bad G.M., director of basketball operations, whatever he wants to call himself.

    However, Will hit it correctly by stating that over the years I have nearly lost my mind by what I have percieved to be blind loyalty to anything the man does by some fans of this team. If he makes a trade he is a damn genious, if he doesn't make the same trade he's a damn genious (you get my point). BTW, for the record over the last few seasons it does seem as though some of the golden image has come off for a few fans, to which I can only grin.

    But let's not get into that now.

    Join me children, come with me back in time. To a time that some of you were either not born or were so small you will have no real recollection to it.

    Join me my older brothers to a time where some of you might have followed the Pacers by checking the box score in the star or maybe you were one of the faithfull few who actually attended games & I know there weren't many of us because sometimes there would only be 3,000 people in M.S.A.

    The year is 1983 & we are entering the last game of the last season of the last year of the Sam Nassi ownership I swear there are about 2,000 people at M.S.A. that day & by the end of the game I think there may have only been about 800 of us left. We weren't sure that the team was even going to be staying after that because Nassi said he was done & the team, the fans, the city & the state were all pretty much lethargic to the whole thing. We had no hope, we were the laughing stocks of the league & had been for awhile. That night felt much more like a wake than a basketball game.

    Then comes opening night of 1984. The Simons (God love them) purchased the team & saved the franchise from moving, as we later found out that Nassi had almost sold the team to a California investment group who was planning on moving the team to Sacramento. (Yes kids the Kings were still in Kansas City at that time).

    Hope was alive. The team still sucked but M.S.A. was alive that opening night. Tuxedo's were in the lower decks & we poor slobs up top bought T-shirt tuxedo's for the game. The franchise was alive again & that opening night was the biggest buzz we had made since back in the A.B.A.

    But as I said the team sucked. The season came & went & the team was still the laughing stock of the league.

    Then in 1984 a young (at the time) man was hired to be an assistant coach to the God awful George Irvin. This man was Joseph Donnie Walsh. If you ever want a good laugh go to the north side wall of memorabilia at the fieldhouse & see Donnie's team picture from that year. His tightly permed curly hair & his big smile just will bust you up. He still had his buggeye's though. .

    I digress.

    Ok, so we suck again that year. But the Simons have a thought in mind, they want to promote our assistant coach to G.M.

    I'm trying my best to figure out why the hell they chose him over anybody else, but I figure why not. My wife is pregnant with my son at the time & I knew he would be born on or around draft day so I thought why not start everything fresh.

    At Donnies first press conferance he asked that, we the fans, be patient with him & we needed to give him five years to turn the franchise around. Five years was a long time but I remember thinking "Rome wasn't built in a day" so I thought five years was fair. What I didn't bother to ask was what does he mean by turn the team around. But then again we sucked pretty bad so almost anything would be an improvement.

    Donnies first draft pick was a kid by the name of Chuck Person. I had no idea who he was, not Donnies fault because I do not follow college ball at all so I had no idea who anybody was. The team held a draft party, which I could not attend, & from what I understand & remember the fans booed Person when the team drafted him. I was a little busy that day as my son was born on the same day.

    Anyway Chuck joined the team & actually went on to be rookie of the year & he certainly was a colorfull character. Not only was Chuck R.O.Y. but low & behold the team went from 26 wins & 56 losses to 41 wins & 41 losses.

    The franchise had turned the corner. We were actually talking playoffs for the first time instead of coin flips. By the way I forgot to mention Jack Ramsey was hired as coach of the team to start the year & at the time was a stroke of genious.

    So far so good into the Walsh reign. He seemed to right the ship & with Herb, Chuck, Waymond & Vern we had the core of a decent, if unspectacular, team.

    We held another draft party. Again Walsh was booed off the stage by the fans. This time though it was because these weren't (for the most part) Pacer fans, they were a bunch of I.U. fans. We passed over Steve Alford to select some kid named Reggie Miller (again I had never heard of him). I was happy because from what I knew of Alford & absolutely knew of Knights I.U. teams he had no chance in the N.B.A.

    The season didn't go as well as it had the year before & we kind of slid back in the losing column, but not nearly as much as we had prior to Walsh taking over. I kind of wrote this off as sophmore slumps. Although that Miller kid did do a good job backing up John Long.

    BTW, one thing that Walsh made very very clear from day one with the club was that draft picks were no longer going to be used as trade bait. The franchise over the years made some very bad trades & because our teams usually sucked we always had a top 10 pick but were almost never able to get any of the players because we traded the pick for players like Russ Schone, Terance Stansburry & Tom Owens. Anyway, to a point I agreed with this theory. I would never have said never but it seemed like the right thing.

    Another draft party & another boo fest for Walsh. Rik Smits was chosen & again I had never heard of him.

    Ok this season we sucked. We went through three coach's before the season ended. We finally hired some brillow pad named Versace to coach the team.

    I didn't like Smits from day one. Here was this 7'4" monster who had a decent shot but rebounded like a point guard. We desperately needed help on the boards but this clown wouldn't help. Tank Thompson & Wittman came in a trade for Tisdale. I was dissapointed with this move but accepted it because I thought LaSalle would be the missing link to our club. Then he moved Herb Williams for Detleph Schrempf. I loved this trade because after seeing Det play with the Mavs. I was convinced he would be a great player. But needless to say the team sucked & sucked bad. At this point it was looking like that five year plan was a long way from being realistic.

    Then came the next season & then came this doozy of a pick. George McCloud. Nobody understood that one at all. But with a lot of the players starting to pick up the pace (no pun intended) the team actually had a good year. No player transactions were made that year but the team did improve enough to get back to the playoffs. So we are in year four of the rebuilding & we have made the playoffs 2 out of the 4 years.

    Ok, not only did we not move any players we don't have a # 1 draft pick this season. McCloud is our only improvement for the past season & it wasn't much of one.

    This year we fell back to the .500% mark but we still made the playoffs but again no player transactions. I did not understand this all that much. Patience is one thing but not doing anything for two years just didn't seem right especially since we hadn't had a good draft pick in three years.

    It has now been five years since Walsh has taken over. During that time frame we have had one winning season, two mediocre seasons & two losing seasons.

    I thought to myself that while it was not the turnaround I was hoping for it certainly was better than 5 losing seasons.

    Here's where my problem began. It was at this time that the media, locally, started treating Donnie as though he were some form of basketball diety. Sent forth by James Neismith himself to save this floundering franchis. Now while I conceded at the time that his five year plan got us out of the laughing stock department I never assumed that this was what we were shooting for.

    I started to question some of the things that were going on. However I still was on board.

    BTW, I'm running out of time so I have to cut this almost in half.

    Long story shortened.

    The next year he makes the greatest move he could have made. He drafts Dale Davis. He was everthing we ever needed.

    Sometime in here a couple of things happened that really really pissed me off.

    Charles Barkley made it known that he wanted out of Philly & had listed the Pacers as one of the teams that he wanted to play. It then was reported in the Philly papers that the Sixers had supposedly offered Charles for Smits, Person & a draft pick.

    I was out of my mind when I found out we turned this down. To me Smits was a big bucket of crap & Chuck was starting to be a distraction to the team & yes I like draft picks but this was Charles Barkley.

    Then Donnie held that famous press conferance where he used graphs & charts (Ross Perot had nothing on him) to explain why it was impossible to make trades in the N.B.A. due to this new salary cap. Oh, btw forget that almost every other team in the league was making moves or that Charles was traded to the Suns for Mark West, Jeff Hornacek & somebody else who I forget at this time. I was fuming until he made this one statement that about sent me into suicide.

    When asked what he considered a success he stated making the playoffs was a success.

    Making the playoffs to Donnie was the gold standard. Now I have my theorys about this next part as well and I'll go ahead & give them to you. The press never called him on this. They never once asked him if he meant playoff success or if winning the division or conferance were a long term goal or anything. They just repeated his statements. The only newsman at all who ever had the nads to say anything was Brunner & eventually he was paid off to be the teams websight guy.

    Then he did what I considered unreal. Not only did he not trade for Barkley because of some formula that he had created, but he signed Rik Smits to an extension. At the time one of the bigger contracts in the league. This from a guy who would eventually be replaced in the starting lineup by Greg Dreiling. By this time my head was ready to explode.

    We had gone several seasons without a trade, we were floundering at the .500% level thus insuring mid-first round picks who had no hope of being impact players & we never once signed a free agent who was worth a crap.

    My patience was almost gone by the time we reached the 92-93 season. Again we were mediocre, again we suffered a first round loss. this time we didn't even put up a fight. The thrill of being at M.S.A for playoff games was gone by that time as you could by floor seats from the boxoffice at game time.

    I had gone two years beyond what he had asked for I had gone seven years of being patient. Now in retrospect that doesn't sound like a long time, but you go seven years & see how short it seems to you at the time.

    Here is the downright funny part about this though. The one thing that turned me against Donnie was the one greatest thing he ever did. I know that seems stupid all of these years later but I said it the day it happened & actually was on the call in shows at the time saying the same thing.

    He fired Bob Hill. Now understand I wasn't a Bo fanatic or anything but the words Donnie used when he fired him I considered to be words that he should have to live by himself.

    When he fired him he said that it wasn't that Bob was a bad coach or that the players had tuned him out. It was that Bob just wasn't able to do any more with the team.

    Needless to say after seven years I felt the exact same standard should have been applied to Donnie. I was tired of just making the playoffs.

    Well we all know what went on from there, Brown came in & rebuilt the team. His structure lasted almost 6 years. A couple even beyond him being here.

    But by this time it was all over but the shouting. The fans & the local media had annointed Donnie a God & not only a God but an unquestionable God.

    You think it's bad now, try asking a question about Donnie's motives back in the 97 season & you would be attacked by a pack of rabid dogs who questioned your loyalty to the team & question your basketball I.Q.

    I have a lot more, but I have to go.

    In closing let me say this. I have never hated Donnie, I gave Donnie a long time even longer than he asked for. But at the end of the day I like a G.M. who is more pro-active. It's just my opinion. That is why I have been impressed with the way that Isiah has gone about N.Y.

    The soft media market here has helped Donnie more than anything else possibly could have. He never would have been able to do this in N.Y. or philly. I have always felt the media was soft for the fist 10 years or so because they lived in the fear of the franchise moving, so they always presented the glass is half full picture only.

    Like I said, I have always known that I am in the minority on this.

    I wish I had more time.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

  8. #8
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    So, Peck, did you ever decide whether or not to start writing long posts again?

    Let us know how that turns out.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hoping for a long response from Peck

    Sounds to me like your problem is more with the unknowledgeable basketball fans & tunnel vision media than it is with Walsh.

    I do agree that he could be more active in the ("quality") free agent market if not in pulling the trigger on trades.

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