To suggest that one individual is more important than everyone else is ludicrous. For example, lets say the Simons are most important. But wait a minute, didn't the actions of Bobby and Nancy, along with a whole lot of folks (even little kids) carrying coffee cans for donations door-to-door, save the franchise?
But wait a minute. Why did anybody in Indianapolis give a tinkers damn about the team in the first place? At least enough to buy a season ticket or drop a few bucks into a coffee can to help save a team? It wasn't because of the Simons or even because of Bobby's and Nancy's pleading over a local TV station.
It was because of the most basic of all reasons. A hell of a lot of folks in Indy had fallen in love with the team and its approachable players and coach. And through those first few years, they were darn good players and a darn good coach. Enough so that they had established a culture of winning and being best friends with their fan base.
Because of that , when it came time to merge, no talks of merger could take place without a strong mention of the Indiana Pacers. As Dr J said, the Pacers were the class of the ABA. We were one of 4, whereas without the tradition of being a winner, we just as easily could have been the St Louis Spirit, Virginia Squires or Kentucky Colonels.
So, those of you who were not here or too young to know or remember those wonderful years, we exist even at all because of all those folks who were here in the early years. The whole group of 7 original owners. A flamboyant lovable coach who took over just after the start of the second ABA season. Every player who ever put on the uniform during those ABA years. And just as importantly, every fan who loved those players. For me, I fell in love with Rajah, and made an arse out of myself dozens of times trying to emulate his jab step and quick stop moves ( but that's another story).
The point is "it takes a whole damn village" folks. How the hell can you say one is more important than another? Or more important than us (fans)? You take away any one factor - original owners, present owners, Bobby, good players, fans - and this thread would never have existed.
And I would still have a lot more hair.
Last edited by beast23; 09-07-2013 at 12:08 PM.
This is very hard, the only one I would exclude would be Larry Brown, but I will also say that he belongs on the list. Good question! BTW, Roger Brown should have a few votes, without him playing for the Pacers at the start we wouldn't have had much of a team and probably would not have survived!
Last edited by BobbyMac; 09-06-2013 at 09:52 PM.
I am not sure that many others would not have had as decent a tenure as Walsh. I am also not sure what great talent he brings to the discussion. Was he great at anything? He made some really good decisions and an equal number of lousy choices. For the most part Donnie picked at the top of the draft due to poor teams.
Slick and Nancy without a doubt. I watched the telethon that saved the Pacers. Slick was coach before the Simons bought the team. He's still with the Pacers as a color guy on the radio. He has length, breath, and wit!
A tie between Slick and the Simons, with Reggie close behind.
I can't believe Bird has votes, let alone more votes than Roger Brown.
Slick has influenced multiple eras which is huge and gave him the advantage over the Simons to me. For 3rd it's a really tough call between Reggie who gave the team a modern era international face and Rajah who gave the team the titles and cream of the crop ABA status that helped push them as one of the franchises pulled into the NBA in the first place. No Roger and you might never have had an NBA Pacers, no matter how much Slick tried to rally the team on.
Except for Reggie, Dale, Harrington, Herb for Det trade, Jax rental plus filler for Rose trade, Dale for JO trade, Dampier for Mullin trade, Rose/Best for Artest (Pacer AS/DPOY) and B Miller (Pacer AS), Scott signing, Perkins signing, Antonio in the late 2nd round pick. Yes, Artest ended up blowing up, but what Brad and Ron did for wins was way more than Best/Rose would have done from that point forward.For the most part Donnie picked at the top of the draft due to poor teams.
He had one solid top 9 pick - Rik Smits. The rest of the great run was built on all the stuff mentioned above. If anything the bad stuff was the high picks, including Bender at #5, though Tony for the #5 draft position was a strong trade even if Tony still had some life in him. Pick the right guy at #5 and the team keeps on rolling.
Also I feel like maybe the GM sometimes hires the coaches, but I guess I could be wrong. Probably Larry Brown and Larry Bird just wandered in with an application randomly looking for a coaching gig.
How many top 5 picks did Walsh have in his tenure?
86 - Chuck Person (4), ROY
88 - Rik Smits (2)
89 - McCloud (7)
96 - Dampier (10), traded after 1 year for Chris Freaking Mullin
99 - Bender (5)
How many non-top 10 picks did Walsh have?
87 - Reggie Miller (11)
90 - Antonio Davis (45), Kenny Williams (46)
91 - Dale Davis (13)
92 - Malik Sealy (14)
93 - Scott Haskin (14)
94 - (15) pick, Sealy and Pooh traded for Mark Freaking Jackson
95 - Travis Best (23)
97 - Austin Croshere (12)
98 - Al Harrington (25)
99 - (26) plus 2001 (14, Troy Murphy) traded for Jeff Freaking Foster
01 - see above
02 - Fred Jones (14)
03 - James Jones (40)
04 - David Harrison (29)
05 - Danny Granger (17)
2006 was Larry's pet kid Shawne Williams who he'd evaluated earlier that season. Maybe Walsh was part of it too, but you gotta think that if Larry Bird attends a game and raves about a kids shooting touch then maybe he just might want to draft him. Granger was the last possible draft you could maybe say was all DW.
And guys like Fred Jones were solid picks for the spot. Other great players were available, but the next 8 teams after Fred was drafted took players who racked up less NBA minutes than Fred, and 5 guys taken before him also played less NBA minutes. So it's not like Prince (23), Salmons (24), Boozer (34) and Scola (55) were obvious choices.
The big misses to me were McCloud, Bender and Dampier. Damp became a solid trade but that pick should have been Steve Nash even at the time. Kobe wouldn't have signed, but Nash would have. Even still Damp went 10th and ended up playing the 12th most NBA minutes of the group so he wasn't some huge bust.
7 of the 9 most influential Pacers picks or traded picks for players involved picks outside the top 10. And the team only had 4 "earned" top 10 draft choices under Walsh.
So maybe spend some time evaluating your definition of "for the most part" because for the most part you're totally wrong. When you make more Conference Finals than any other team in the same span (5 in 7), you don't get to draft all that high.
Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 09-09-2013 at 10:00 PM.
I thought it was going to be a hard decision. Then I watched this video and was reminded of what it felt like during that series. Obviously I don't remember all of it - he was drafted before I was even born. But he was a Pacer for nearly 2 decades, and the undisputed face of it for much of that time. And it's the players we see on the tv, the players who make it worth watching. From a fan's perspective I think it almost has to be Reggie. There are definitely arguments from the front office point of view, but for the longest time you couldn't think Pacer basketball without thinking Reggie Miller.
Btw, the big feels start around 9 minutes in.
Last edited by aamcguy; 09-09-2013 at 09:48 PM.
There've been so many good influences that deserve recognition and it is hard to say one was more positive
than another. The bad influences on the other hand are much easier to identify, and we remember more
vividly what they did to traumatize us; thinking about them and reliving the bad times gets us riled up.
"I like our group of people," Ainge told USA Today. "I'm trying to teach them about basketball, and they're trying to teach me about analytics."
Reggie rescued the franchise so he is the obvious choice
I'm kind of surprised Peck didn't pick Danny Granger, I though he was the "heart and soul of the team".
Maybe "rescued" isn't the right word, but Reggie made the Pacers relevant on a national scale like no one else in the franchise's NBA history. Let's be honest, the Pacers were basically completely irrelevant in the national NBA landscape until the mid 90's. They were pretty much the epitome of an afterthought. Sure the Simons saved the team, but no fan in New York or Los Angeles really cares about an owner who stepped up to the plate to save the Pacers. Fans want to be entertained by the players, and Reggie gave the Pacers national notoriety like no one else ever has in our NBA history. If you meet an NBA fan in LA or New York (obviously), they will always remember Reggie Miller and associate the Pacers with him.
Remember the Seinfeld where Kramer says he got into a fight with Reggie Miller at the Knicks game? That's a perfect example of Reggie's fame. He obviously wasn't Jordan, but everyone knew who he was.
Reggie changed how the rest of the country viewed the Pacers. As far as the NBA era Pacers are concerned, Reggie put them on the map.
Last edited by Sollozzo; 09-10-2013 at 01:54 PM.
Umm... OK. He became identified with the recovery, but it isn't like the MSA curtains parted never to be seen again once he stepped on the floor. It took the combination of Reggie and Larry Brown to get to the point where his actions against New York were noticed - does anyone really think they'd be famous if we continued being first round and out, even vs. the Knicks?
I would argue Reggie's influence came AFTER the first run, not during. His ability to epitomize what Pacer fans expected of a star - action on the court to back up his mouth when the game was involved, but quiet contributor to the community when off the court - was easily as important as his heroics (and missed opportunities...)
"Every time I pitched it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw!"
- Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh
If you were to ask someone who had the biggest impact on the Indianapolis Colts franchise, I'm sure that 99% of people would say Manning. Sure, Jim Irsay had to evolve into a mature owner who would pour his resources into the team, just like the Simons did with the Pacers. Sure, Irsay had the sense to hire a GM in Polian who stockpiled a lot of talent in the first half of his tenure here, just like Walsh surrounded Reggie with good teams in the 90's. And sure, we needed a coach like Tony Dungy to bring a winning mentality to the team, just like the Pacers needed Larry Brown. Owners, GM's, and coaches are all very important. Certainly an organization needs all three to survive. But at the end of the day, it's the talent of the players that puts butts in the seats. The Indianapolis Colts wouldn't have become such a popular juggernaut, both on a local and national level, without Manning's incredible talents. The same can be said for Reggie. His entertaining postseason play is what made the Pacers notable, both in Indy and across the country.
Reggie obviously wasn't on a Peyton Manning level of stardom. Manning was a champion, a four time MVP, the league's most popular pitchman, etc etc. But Reggie still had quite a bit of star power on his own. He is the main reason that the Pacers became a notable NBA franchise.
Reggie. He put his on the map and gave us a lot of good years. Slick has little impact on the Pacers product, I don't get why he is on this list.
You know how hippos are made out to be sweet and silly, like big cows, but are actually extremely dangerous and can kill you with stunning brutality? The Pacers are the NBA's hippos....Matt Moore CBS Sports....
"Every time I pitched it was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw! Pkkw!"
- Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh