Pacers Fan Blog

If you'd like to be considered for publication in the Pacers Fan Blog, send your submission along with your full name and hometown to FanBlog@pacers.com. We reserve the right to edit for brevity and clarity and/or withhold any submission. Opinions expressed by our fans do not necessarily represent the views of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

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Sept. 27, 2007

Subject: Games will reveal who really improved most

Hope springs eternal in the preseason before any games are played. The Pacers management and this Website have certainly done a great job of generating optimism for the team given the recent upheavals, bad-looking trade, roster heavy with overpaid players, disastrous finish, firing of the controversial coach, lack of a No. 1 pick that all their rival lottery teams have, blockbuster trades by rival teams like the Celtics, assumptions in the media that the Lakers would pluck O’Neal for a run with Kobe for greatness, and a fall from championship contender before the brawl, to a team from which the media will expect nothing but a lottery pick. Still, games are played on the court not in preseason media predictions. A calm offseason is a plus for the Pacers for the first time in years. Injured players have supposedly gotten healthy. Even without a No. 1, the Pacers are mostly a young team, needing young guys to develop and fit together as a team. Some probably will. The new coach has made a reasonably good impression. The Pacers did not hand O’Neal to the Lakers, so they have one All-Star to build around. They picked up a couple of role-players who might help. Other teams do not necessarily look so great once the media fever subsided. Will the Celtics go as far as Rajan Rondo can carry them? Will Washington, New Jersey, Miami and Detroit be better or worse? Who will get hurt and who will stay healthy? Can this team hustle and be competitive, and take advantage of what talent there is? That’s why we have a season.

- Stan in Dayton, Ohio


Sept. 27, 2007

Subject: Looking forward to a classy season

Thank goodness the season is just around the corner. I live in the equivalent of professional basketball Siberia (West Virginia) and one can only glean so much information from the national and Internet media about the Pacers. I check Pacers.com and Indystar.com every day for bits and pieces of “news” about my hometown team. I’ve been a Pacer fan since my mom’s friend who worked at WTTV took me to see my first game at the Fairgrounds Coliseum back in 1970 … or was it before? I am appalled by the fair-weathered fans that come and go with the win-loss tally. While I can’t say that the past three years have been a joy to follow, given the incredibly knuckleheaded activities by some of the current and former rosters on and off the court -- or is that in and out of court? -- but I look forward to a team that will hopefully play “the right way” and conduct themselves with class, dignity and professionalism. Given the obscene amount of money being made by these folks, I don’t think it is too much to ask regardless what their socio-economic backgrounds or childhoods may have been.

- Don in Huntington, W. Va.


Sept. 26, 2007

Subject: Time for Harrison to tap potential

I am glad to see that David Harrison is confident for this year. However, I think he had a lot of nerve with the tone of his comments regarding the Pacers' need and search for another big man. He said that if the Pacers don't think he is the big man they need, then they need to let him go. Well, I think a dependable big man is the need that the Pacers are actually trying to address. Obviously, we would not be looking for another big man if he would contribute something besides personal fouls and bench-warming to the team effort. ... To David Harrison, I say I am looking forward to a breakout season from you this year, mister. You have the ability to score, rebound and swat several shots away, so I don't want to hear it. Otherwise, you may be right -- it may be time to get another big man and let you go.

- Earl in Terre Haute, Ind.

Subject: New season should bring new optimism

I sense good vibes from some fans. It all starts here with us! Let's make Conseco a feared place this year! Get behind your team let's go!

- Jake in Indianapolis

Listen, all the negative players with the exception of Jamaal Tinsley are all gone so I say we give the Pacers a chance. The Pacers have always found a way to get rid of negative players.

- Drew in Indianapolis


Sept. 25, 2007

Subject: Enough with the negativity already

Enough with the negativity already!! The last couple of years have been tough, but the new direction is what it's about now. I like what I see from the front office and the coach. Did I read someone question J.O.'s fundamentals? Are you kidding me? I expect this team to be very tough to beat at home this year. Winning on the road will be hard, but it always is in the NBA. The fans who go to the games are going to see some good wins. Looking forward to a lot of progress this season.

- Matt in Los Angeles

The Pacers need fans! This team needs confidence and to achieve that the players need support from their fans. The players and especially the fans have to honor those who made the Pacers great. It's all about the present, but the past should not be forgotten. I know it is difficult to discuss different cultures, but here in Brazil we have the soccer fanatism. It doesn't matter if the team is not going so well on the field. The true fans are always there. Those who are paying for tickets have the right to complain, but just after the game not before. It doesn't matter if it is against the Spurs or against the Trail Blazers. If I could, I would be in every single home game. Conseco is our house, let's fill it.

- Paulo in Joinville, Brazil


Sept. 24, 2007

Subject: All we are saying is give P's a chance

I'm sick of all the complaining about our team. I'll be the first to admit that the Pacers aren't perfect, but what team is? Even the Spurs or the Suns or the Mavericks aren't perfect. The Pacers don't need perfection, they need heart, and they have that right now. They have heart, they have youth, they have talent and desire they're really only lacking one thing right now. The only thing the Pacers are lacking is fans! That's right, at the moment it's not the Pacers we should be complaining about, we should be complaining about the fans. The Pacers are going to make mistakes, I hate the mistakes as much as anyone but we've got to move on. We have to remain loyal. I've been a Pacers fan for as long as I can remember. I've never quit on them, not after Reggie retired, not after the brawl, not after the trade this past year, never. The Pacers need help, not in the form of a Kobe Bryant of Tim Duncan, but in the form of true fans!

- Mark in Missoula, Mont..

I went to a game in Boston several years ago to watch the Pacers play the Celtics. We won that game but I could not enjoy the victory because I was disgusted by the way the home fans had treated their team. I even got into a minor argument with a Celtic fan seated behind me. I was convinced that the Pacers would never be treated that way by their hometown fans. He said that was easy for me to say because we had a good team. I said it wouldn't matter if we lost every game, we would not treat our players that way. I am embarrassed and disillusioned to find myself proven wrong. Everybody makes mistakes. For all of you who put conditions on your loyalty, I say good riddance. I for one am looking forward to seeing what a team that is looking fundamentally sound at each position can accomplish in a sport that has forgotten the meaning of teamwork and I support this organization and this team no matter what.

- Kristina in French Lick, Ind.

I'm excited about this year's squad! When you look at the combinations we can throw at other teams we have some great second- and third-quarter matchups. Whatever the starting five is, it's bound to change throughout the season. The old saying is it's not who starts but who finishes, I say it's the second and third quarters. Do we have a Kobe or Lebron? Of course not, but what we do have is depth. This franchise has had so many injuries the last couple seasons it's given the management the opportunity to weed and feed. Let the garden grow!

- Dave in Terre Haute, Ind.

At this point the roster is set. The players on the team now will be the ones we will have until the trade deadline. At this point Donnie and Larry's only hope is that this roster can win enough games to keep Conseco from being completely empty. The big trade will happen at the trading deadline. O'Neal has already said that he is opting out of his contract next season. To get any value he has to be traded this season. Halfway through the season other teams will see how their offseason moves have panned out. At that point, teams will see if they need to make a trade to get over the hump or just go in a completely new direction. The market for O'Neal should be much higher then than it is now. As much as Pacers fans want to see a move made by the franchise to try to get better it is not going to happen until other teams are looking to trade. The trade market is pretty bleak this time of season. Right now we are stuck with who we have but rest assured that the roster will look substantially different after the trade deadline. It has to because if it doesn't the only people that will be in the stands will be the vendors.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.


Sept. 21, 2007

Subject: Analyzing the keys to the roster's makeup

Let’s look at the point. Penetration: Tinsley pokes and probes, Daniels twists and slithers. Passing: Both can dish in the lane. Fast break: Tinsley can push more on the open floor. Dribbling: Tinsley – but who wants a lot of dribbling? Finishing: Daniels, hands down. Defense: Daniels by a wide mile. Shooting: Neither one can shoot. Attitude, example, leadership and intangibles: It’s subjective, but I’ll take Daniels. Now center: Want field goal percentage? Add dunks. This isn’t Foster’s forte. We need 15 ppg at the 60+ percent shooting that comes from slamming home garbage shots, putbacks, mismatch isolations, and defensive breakdowns. Secondly, if we can get J.O. facing the basket, using his mobility to get to the rim, we’ll add a new dimension to our inside game and add five years to his career. For that we need a back-to-the-basket wide body: Harrison / Diogu.

- Alan in San Diego

At first, I thought the moves that were made this offseason were bad moves. However, I now see that Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh are actually trying to make the Pacers better by being patient. I like the shooting ability of Kareem Rush and Travis Diener as well as the versatility of Stephen Graham and Andre Owens. I still think that the Pacers will not have enough to make it all the way to the playoffs, but I believe that every player will give it their all. As I said earlier the Pacers are being patient. I think the Pacers are going to try and make a big move during the 2008 offseason. If I know Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh like I think I do, they have been listening to the fans. I think that no one will be disappointed next season and the Fieldhouse will be packed once again. And to the Pacers organization, good luck in the 2008 offseason.

- Montez in Indianapolis

With most good teams in the NBA, they have what you would call a "Big Three." In regard to the Pacers, they have a team of players. I believe Tinsley and Granger are above-average players -- and, of course, O'Neal -- but fall short of what you would consider a "Big Three." The Pacers are dependent on having a team concept where they need multiple players to contribute to their success. We feel good about O'Neal's talent level, a healthy Tinsley and Daniels would be wonderful, Granger is getting better, Dunleavy is questionable, great skill set, great I.Q., not quite the lottery pick he should be, yet. At Duke he did it all, similar to the player he is now, maybe less explosive, but still very key to our team. If management can get his confidence up and make him understand his importance, I believe we'll see a difference in his game, that is key in seeing a difference in our team.

- Van in Anderson, Ind.

When this team was winning in the ‘90s by playing the "right way," all these "fans" whined about not having that true superstar because the Pacers were too cheap to spend the money. Then the Pacers spend the money and what do we have? Bringing up the antics of the players is simply an excuse or these fans never really followed basketball in the first place. The fact of the matter is that in Indiana everyone likes to talk about how much they love basketball, but, in reality, most fans know very little about the game, except which team won or lost. Pacers fans have got to be among the worst fair-weather fans in the NBA. I truly did not know that over 99 percent of the Indiana population was perfect (the difference being the criminals that play for the Pacers). Up until recently, and with the exception of the brawl (which had way more to do with the officials, Ben Wallace, and the out-of-control fans than with Artest and the Pacers -- face it and get past it), any NBA team would have laughed off every incident that these "fans" keep crying about. If you do not like watching the NBA, fine don’t watch it, but quit using this same, sorry excuse. Look at this way: if it wasn’t for Artest, Tinsley, and Jackson, the rest of the country would never have realized that the rest of the Indiana population is, in fact, perfect.

- Travis in Columbus, Ind.

Well, I feel better about the Pacers now. At least Isiah is not here!

- Tim in Columbus, Ind.


Sept. 20, 2007

Subject: Give Dunleavy more than half a chance

People keep saying Dunleavy is slow yet, at the end of last season whenever there was a fast break on, I think the majority of the time it was Mike who was leading the break. He is sound in his fundamentals, can shoot the three and handles the ball pretty well. It seems to me that fans just look for something to be negative about instead of giving a player a chance. Come on folks, the man has only been here for less than half a season. Give him a chance to learn his teammates, let him get at least one camp under his belt then if he does not produce feel free to chastise him. Otherwise, give the guy a chance!

- Will in Indianapolis

I think the Pacers could use a guy like Mike Dunleavy. He is a smart player who plays a fundamentally sound game. He has had some trouble in the past shooting, but he will be the first one to admit to that. A lot of NBA fans don’t like him because he is not a walking highlight reel! The reason he came off the bench for the Warriors was because he didn't fit into Don Nelson’s system. Nelson doesn’t really adjust well to players that don’t fit into his system. Dunleavy is a great guy to have in an organization. He doesn’t get into any off-court trouble and is a team player. The way things are in the NBA these days, it is hard to find a player that isn’t selfish and only looking out for themselves! Dunleavy is a really good player. His main problem is his confidence. Sometimes he hesitates or over-thinks a play. I am looking forward to this season because I think the fresh start will be good for Mike.

- A.J. in Mountain View, Calif.


Sept. 19, 2007

Subject: Lineup needs Dunleavy's fundamentals

There have been many complaints over the last few years indicating that Indiana fans feel that the Pacers don't play Indiana basketball. Yet, a guy like Mike Dunleavy gets no respect. He has the fundamentals that are so sorely lacking on this team. I think that a lack of fundamentals is the primary problem with the recent Pacers teams. Dunleavy should start because he, along with Granger, strive to play the game the way Indiana fans claim they want to see it played. Also, it would help if the leader of the team would become more fundamentally sound, or step down and support an emerging, fundamentally sound leader.

- Travis in Columbus, Ind.

I do not understand some Pacers fans' obsession with Mike Dunleavy. He was benched by his previous team for being slow and unable to defend. After being traded the same held true but his shooting percentage went down. Why all the love for a player that, if he had a different last name would not even be in the league? He is slow, a very poor defender and by the end of last season appeared to have lost all confidence in his shot. With his lack of footspeed he is not capable of putting the ball on the floor like Michael in Houston would have you believe. If he tried that he would have more turnovers than points. Mike Dunleavy has an excellent understanding of the game and how it is to be played and would probably make a great coach. However, he lacks the physical tools necessary to be anything more than a backup. Anybody that believes he can be more has just never really watched him play objectively.

- Rex in Madison, Wis.

As far as a lineup goes with the set of players we currently have, I am going to have to disagree with some of the suggested lineups. I think Dunleavy is entirely too slow to be at the two spot. He is a good spark off of the bench for the three and could be figured into some interesting lineups featuring three forwards. I think the two spot should be between Daniels and Rush. I think Foster absolutely deserves the starting center spot. He may not score in bundles, but his hustle, grit and determination are invaluable.

- John in Huntingburg, Ind.

Jamaal Tinsley should be the starting point guard. Period. He has put in the time and effort, and has always done whatever has been asked of him. In the suspension year along with Fred Jones and Jeff Foster, Tinsley held the team together, becoming a primary scoring option and was a regular on the highlight reels. When people questioned his toughness, he tried to go a full season without missing a game, and only falling short after it was apparent the season was a wash. When our offense became the predictable, "dump it into JO, stand outside and wait for the three," he did that, too. He's done everything asked of him on the court, and done it well. Now we should let him do what he's always wanted to do, be a pass-first point guard in an up-tempo, motion offense. He's been in a restrictive set offense for much of his career, and now he has the opportunity to show what he can really do. While I love the potential on our team, right now Tinsley is still the best player on the team besides O'Neal. Give him the ball and the freedom to call plays, and turn him loose. We won't regret it.

- Xavier in Indianapolis


Sept. 18, 2007

Subject: Daniels needs to play point guard

I hope this is not the case, but am I the only one who understands that Daniels can and should play at the point for this team? The ability, quickness, skill and determination that he showed in Dallas should be more than enough. Dunleavy is a guy that should at best be coming off the bench not starting for a struggling team, we need to see Rush in his spot. Danny Granger is a guy that is more than deserving of a starting position this year. Danny put in a lot of work this past year to prove himself and has been doing the same in the offseason. Bird wants young: this is the guy we need to start with. I don’t feel as if we even need to question the six-time All-Star O’Neal, and starting him with a clean bill of health this year is at minimum priceless. And last but not least, I feel as if Ike and Harrison need to share the final position until one of them shows a sure sign of determination and want for that spot.

- Briley in Miami

I agree with Paul in Medford, Ore. I'm not a huge Mike Dunleavy fan, and if we give the Pacers a chance then they can show us that hopefully under Jim O'Brien they will have a better and faster offense.

- Drew in Indianapolis


Sept. 17, 2007

Subject: Much debate on shooting guard, center starters

To start the season I’d use the lineup we finished with. They will be most effective out of the gate. But I would like to see a quick transition to our most effective long-term solution. Starters/first substitution: 1: Daniels/Tinsley, 2: Dunleavy/Rush, 3: Granger/Williams, 4: O’Neal/Murphy, 5: Harrison/Diogu. The biggest adjustment will be at the bookends, 1 and 5, but these are the keys, our most under-utilized potential. We need to get our big man Harrison under the basket. Also remember, Diogu has a 6-11 frame from tip toe to fingertip. I see more in Dunleavy’s game than most. He was in a transition where his shots weren’t falling. When the coaching and confidence pick up, I see him as a more skilled Rip Hamilton. I love Foster’s hustle and scrap as much as anyone, but we need to get our more production out of the low post. I see him as a sub getting lots of spot minutes.

- Alan in San Diego

I agree with Mark from Montana on four of the five starting positions. I would replace Kareem Rush with Marquis Daniels at shooting guard. And I think that Mike Dunleavy and Granger are interchangeable at small forward, depending on who's on a streak. Hopefully David Harrison can stay healthy and come into his own to provide some offense from the five spot, something the Pacers haven't had since Rik Smits (except for a cameo from Brad Miller). The possibility of Murphy and O'Neal starting up front is intriguing from a scoring standpoint, but the lack of size would expose O'Neal to unnecessary wear over an 82-game season. My Starting 5: Jamaal Tinsley, Marquis Daniels, Danny Granger, Jermaine O'Neal, Jeff Foster.

- Horace in Queens, N.Y.

I will probably be the first to say that I'm not a huge Mike Dunleavy fan. Immediately after the trade he started to play very well. This is because the offense was moving and rarely did we see players standing around waiting for the ball to come to them. Later on in the season the offense died and so did Mike's productivity. This season, we have a new coach that will keep things flowing. All this can do for Mike's game is give it room to improve. I say that we should give him another shot at the starting job.

- Paul in Medford, Ore.


Sept. 14, 2007

Subject: Lineup possibilities intriguing

I think the best starting five would look like this:
PG, Jamaal Tinsley: He's a veteran and knows the Pacers system. Many complaints are being quickly thrown in his direction but I believe that he is a great point guard and can make plays, doesn't try and score too much and is really actually a solid player. His decision-making is sometimes poor but he was one of the more consistent players last year.
SG, Kareem Rush: Rush is the best outside shooter on the team now, his ability to stretch and defense and hit the outside shot will help open up Jermaine, Foster, Ike and even sometimes Granger in the post. This alone is a good enough reason to start him. He's a team player and doesn't try to do too much, plus if he gets hot, watch out.
SF, Danny Granger: Is there any competition? Possibly the second-best player on the team, Granger can do it all and he's still young. He can post and shoot threes, he can rebound and play good defense.
PF, Jermaine O'Neal: J.O. prefers to play the four spot as opposed to center, he scores better and his talents are put to full capabilities in this spot. He's got a good shot for being big so he can play outside or take it to the hoop down low. On defense he can be switched on and off centers and power forwards depending, or can help from the weak side and block shots.
C, Jeff Foster: Foster is a workhorse, what can I say? He works as hard as anyone, hustles for rebounds, plays hard defense and knows the Pacers. Although maybe not as talented as say Troy Murphy or Ike, Foster brings the intangibles to the team, things not many players do anymore. Bench: I believe Daniels can come off and play the one, two or even three spots, he brings energy and great slashing ability. When healthy, I think he can compete for Sixth Man of the Year award. Dunleavy and Diogu will bring solid play into the second rotation along with Murphy. It would be one of the better benches in the NBA. I am really excited about this team whoever we start!

- Mark in Missoula, Mont.

I read the remarks from Eric in Kokomo and Kyle from Anderson and they say to pull out Murphy, Dunleavy and Foster as starters. We were already the worst field goal shooting team in the league last year, do you want us to be among the worst in rebounding too? I agree that both Murphy and Dunleavy struggled last year but I am a fan that pays attention to matchups. If they would both put the ball on the floor and go to the cup strong they can create a lot of easy weakside baskets for Jermaine or even open up the outside for Rush and Granger. Murphy and Dunleavy both have the potential to be double-double guys in points and rebounding as does Ike, but what concerns me about Diogu is size and lack of body control.

- Michael in Houston

I think our starting lineup should be Diener, Daniels, Granger, O'Neal and Foster. Diener is a good player and a consistent shooter, so I think he should get a chance as a point guard. But we still need a good center.

- Paulo in Joinville, Brazil


Sept. 13, 2007

Subject: Fans weary of off-court incidents

Regardless of the seriousness of the offense in the criminal sense, Shawne Williams' arrest is a capital offense in the judgment sense. It is impossible for us to ask the Pacers to show maturity and judgement on the court when they cannot manage even the most basic aspects of their own lives off of it.

- Kit in Indianapolis

I would rather have a mediocre team or worse with a group of hard-working, respectable young men than to constantly turn on the news and hear about another Indiana Pacers player arrested. It has gotten way past old.

- Jeff in New Castle, Ind.

I am disheartened to say that I feel like the greatness of the Pacers organization will always be in the past. Gone are all of the players and morals we have all grown to love and admire in this great community. Instead, a good majority of the team has now resorted to breaking the law to cure their boredom. My compliments to the players that continually conduct themselves in a professional manner! For all of the Pacers who are in obvious need of mentoring, take notes from them. They are the ones that will lead the team success on and off the court.

- Ross in Indianapolis

Unbelievable, how could this happen again? This is why nobody ever wants to go to Pacers games, because there are players like Jamaal Tinsley who don't care about messing up their reputations. I hope the Pacers can fix this problem with Shawne Williams.

- Drew in Indianapolis

At this point we do not even know the facts. Let's not jump to conclusions. Let's all allow Mr. Williams the same presumption of innocence that our Constitution requires. And quit crying. I have and will always support my hometown team, regardless of the actions of the individual players off the court. Dislike a player if you want, but support the Pacers or simply root for another team. This will be the best year in the past three or four...you will see.

- John in Warsaw, Ind.

It seems to me that for the amount of money that these players are contracted to play for; they should be reminded that their participation with the Pacers franchise is in fact a privilege and not just a paycheck. They should also be reminded that their contractual obligations should extend well beyond not only their talent on the basketball court, but also must reflect an image that the fans can respect and can be proud of.

- C.D. in Indianapolis

I am yet another of those long-time Pacer fans who used to go to at least five games a year. I was never free enough (or rich enough) to get season tickets. Last year, due to the numerous off-court problems with the Pacers, I didn’t go to a single game. I watched a few on television. Unless Larry Bird starts showing some willingness to make the hard decisions necessary to make this a respectable team again, I won’t be watching any of the games on television this year, either. It’s time to start enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on garbage like this.

- Kevin in Greenwood, Ind.

Shawne is a young player that I thought was heading down the right track with his play last season. That all changed when this story came out; it was not just another Indiana Pacer in the news for the wrong reasons, but it was a promising young talent that now has to be dealt with and punished for his actions.

- Pat in Evansville, Ind.


Sept. 12, 2007

Subject: Williams incident sparks strong reaction

We as fans were asked just last week what it would take to get us back in to watch the games. Well, this type of stuff has to stop. ... It's a shame because there are some really great players who have done wonderful things for the game and the community they live in but there are some every year who go out and give all of them a really bad name. Until they are weeded out and gotten rid of, this will never get any better and we fans will not be coming in great numbers back to the games until they clean it up.

- Lee in Spokane, Wash.

I cannot believe this has happened again. What happened to the Pacers? I used to love watching Reggie, Rik, the Davis', and Mark Jackson play for this team with the heart and determination that we fans deserve. It's no wonder we have not and will not be making the playoffs anytime soon, our players have nothing better to do then go to strip clubs and hang out with their buddies till all hours of the morning, driving around smoking dope. Are you kidding me?

- David in Bryant, Ind.

Yet again we have another Pacer in the news for all the wrong reasons. But why should we be surprised that a young player on this roster would make bad decisions given the veterans in the locker room? ... If (Larry Bird) does not get tough on Williams he will lose what little credibility he has left. The real test will be to see if he really does anything substantial or just talks tough and hands out a light punishment. All anyone can say is, "here we go again.." The only real question to ask is "Is anybody really surprised?".

- Brad in North Vernon, Ind.

Over the years I have taken pride in being a fan of the Indiana Pacers. I thought it was wonderful when we were one of the few teams from the ABA taken into the NBA. We had not only great players, but gentlemen as well. Yes, they had some off-court issues, but nothing that caused embarrassment to the team in general or to the people of Indianapolis. Now you give us young men who are one step away from playing in some state penal league. ... Do all the Pacer players carry guns? Do all of your players have a posse who runs around with them and takes the fall when the police stops their car and finds drugs? Are the Pacers fans really expected to turn their heads and pretend that we accept this kind of behavior as a price for having a winning team?

- Jim in Indianapolis


Sept. 11, 2007

Subject: Lineup combinations offer variety of possibilities

It is an accepted fact that the Pacers roster is not stocked with top-tier talent. Even with that being the case, they still have to put a team on the floor. Given that O'Neal, Tinsley and Granger will be starters no matter what, I'd like to know who do fans think the other two starters should be? Should the Pacers go big and slow with Dunleavy and Murphy or Foster? Should they go small and fast with Daniels and Rush? Or should there be an emphasis on outside shooting and go with Rush and Murphy? I'd love to see the starting five that Eric from Kokomo mentioned but that would never happen.

- Kyle in Anderson, Ind.


Sept. 10, 2007

Subject: Fans debate merits of supporting team

When the team went through the ordeal at the Palace of Auburn Hills the fans were behind them 100 percent. When we were clearly not at our best the fans were there ... where are they now? I've been attending games for a few years now and slowly but surely seen the spirit leave our Fieldhouse. I don't really understand it. Yes team chemistry hasn't been perfect, but last season was our 40th Anniversary. Where were all the fans? The organization did numerous deals to draw fans, but they did not come. I remember listening to games on the radio and watching them on TV and hearing the arena so loud you could barely hear the announcer over the crowd noise. I'm only 18, people, this was not that long ago. Some may use the excuse that the excitement isn't quite there without Reggie. We have to move on!! I loved Uncle Reggie, still do, but one man did not incite all of those fans. The Fieldhouse is beautiful, our players are of a very high caliber, what we need is our fans to come back! Give the team a chance! Ignore the critics and come to Conseco to support your team! If you want the team to do better and have another shot at a championship it would help if they had more support in their efforts. So get out there and root for your team and things will change.

- Erica in Alexandria, Ind.

The only way I'll go is if the Pacers somehow can get Jamaal Tinsley out of here.

- Drew in Indianapolis

Winning helps yes, but it isn't enough. Look at the Colts. They give this entire state something to be proud of. It isn't just the winning, although that doesn't hurt, it is the character of the team, too. No thug mentality (and) me-first attitudes. That is why they sell out. When the Pacers get back to that kind of character, the house will once again be packed.

- Eric in Lafayette, Ind.

The fans will come back when the franchise gives them a reason to come back. Over the past couple of season there has been a real slide in the caliber of play from the Pacers. It stems from several things, players not liking the coach, players not wanting to be in Indiana and very poor personnel moves that have made the team worse for many years to come. The fans will come back but the franchise has to do something that shows they are trying to get better. ... About the only way most people would consider going to a game is if the Pacers announce a starting lineup of Daniels, Granger, O'Neal, Diogu and Rush. Fans don't want to see Tinsley, Dunleavy and Murphy play just because they are making too much money and have long-term contracts. Let those guys ride the pine and let the players that have talent and desire play. The fans will come back but it is up to the franchise to make the first move.

- Eric in Kokomo, Ind.

I gave up my season tickets this year after 13 years. Here's why:
1) I am still a devoted fan, but the cost of my tickets went up nearly 300 percent in that time. I am not naive enough to believe that ticket prices will ever come down again, but it is difficult to justify the investment when the product on the floor is inconsistent (at best), and off the floor ... well, you know what I mean. I hope it comes back, but I cannot afford to bet thousands each year that it will.
2) I think the NBA in general is looking up with a core group of great players with good character (D. Wade, LeBron, etc.), but the focus needs to get back on quality of play, not quality of highlights or quality of endorsements. Commissioner Stern did a good job of bringing the league back from the brink (with a little help from Larry, Magic, and Michael), but the focus on stars rather than teams has hurt the long-term ability of teams with poor records or off-the-court issues to draw well, especially in more fragile markets like Indy.

- Kit in Indianapolis


Sept. 7, 2007

Subject: What Will it Take to Pack the House?

Over the past couple of seasons attendance at Pacer games has steadily gotten worse. The problem has gotten so bad that the team actually lowered the price of tickets. There is plenty of blame to go around but assigning blame is not what I am interested in. I want to know what will really bring the fans back. Some claim that team chemistry is enough. Some claim that a faster, more up-tempo game will bring in the fans. Some claim that winning cures everything. I have attended several Pacer games a season for over 20 years. I miss the days of it being so loud that my ears hurt when I left. The team should have better team chemistry this season. Most but not all of the bad character players are gone. The team is looking to run and score more. Even with all of these things in the Pacers favor most people I talk to have zero desire to go watch the Pacers. People used to fight to get tickets, now most people turn down free tickets. I will go to my usual three to four games this season. What will it take to get the rest of you there?

- John from Franklin, Ind.


Sept. 6, 2007

Subject: Daniels Should Get Opportunity at Point

Don't forget Marquis Daniels. He is a true and intriguing option at the point. He is an offbeat player with size and the ability to break down the defense, and he could very well fill the point position, and not just as an option for a few minutes. Added to which, he is a good defender with the best chance to stop or slow the Wades and Co.

- Daniel in Israel

While I agree that another point guard on the roster would make sense, I do not believe that Sarunas is the man for the job. He was most effective when playing the two spot anyway. We already have two sub-par defenders for point guards. If we are going to bring in another point guard it should be someone capable of playing defense. While it would be nice to have Sarunas' outside shooting ability, currently there is no proven person on the roster that can stop a slashing point guard. Granger and Daniels are good defenders, but probably are not quick enough to guard the point. Right idea but wrong person.

- Jeff in Richmond, Ind.


Sept.5, 2007

Subject: Back to the Future at Point Guard

Although I don't know Coach O'Brien's plans for next season, I think that there is a problem in the playmaker position. We have Tinsley who had a full season (missed 10 games) after three seasons averaging 45 games. Then Diener, who is a risky decision for such an important position averaging 25 games (11 minutes playing time with one assist) the last two seasons. Daniels could be used as a playmaker under conditions, but he is clearly not a "real" playmaker. I don't know the status of McLeod and Armstrong; if they're staying or not. I do know, however, that many teams (Celtics, Cavs, Heat) are looking for playmakers and seem to be more appealing for players since they are title contenders. I believe that the Pacers should try to sign again Sarunas J. He is a player who knows the team, he is more experienced than his first pass, has winning spirit, the fans love him, and he might fit well into Coach O'Brien's plans (especially perimeter shooting). I know that he wants to leave the Warriors, and although a lot of European teams are interested in signing him, but he wants to stay in the NBA. I think that Sarunas will be a great addition to our team, filling in a position that we seem to have a problem.

- Christos in Hoffman Estates, Ill.


Sept.4, 2007

Subject: Maybe Both Sides Have a Point

I believe that both Jeremy and Aarik both made some good points. Maybe Reggie didn't believe that the Pacers had a chance to make to the Finals. He was even disappointed about management not talking to Mark Jackson for a coaching job. On the other hand, true fans should not give up hope. However, it's easy to, from seeing the Pacers' performance for the past few years. In a way, the Pacers remind me of the Hornets: a good team under the radar with talent that is riddled with injuries that just doesn't have enough to make it to the top at this time.

- Montez in Indianapolis

People tend to put the cart before the horse on this one. I tend to agree that it is better to have a team that plays basketball and conducts themselves the way we would want role models in our community to do, and talk about frustration about lack of championships is crazy. A faithful fan is proud to stand by their team through good and bad times. Why not stop the harping over who we used to have and appreciate the team we have now, a core group of young and upcoming guys.

- Jeff in Anderson, Ind.


Aug. 30, 2007

Subject: True Fan Never Loses Faith

In response to Jeremy's post about Reggie not having faith in the current team, I think that depends on one's definition of faith. He obviously did not have faith that we are more of a title contender than Boston, but so what? I think any real Pacers fan is clinging to the faith that this team is going to be more well-behaved, team-focused, and exhibit more hustle, energy and passion than in the past few years. That's all any real Pacers fan is concerned about. No talk of a championship is ever going to be intelligible until those things are demonstrated, so first things first. And I don't really care what management expects me to think or not think, I am a Pacers fan of my own accord. They never really have a say unless you give it to them.

- Aarik in Indianapolis


Aug. 27, 2007

Subject: Reggie's Flirtation May Reflect on Pacers

No one blames Reggie Miller for thinking about coming out of retirement. Every former athlete thinks they can still play and most have a hard time giving up the game that they love. The troubling part is that Reggie was going to come back as a Celtic. The Pacers are in desperate need of outside shooting and he never even considered coming back as a Pacer. What are we to conclude about the current Pacers roster if Reggie thought about playing but had no desire to do so as a Pacer? If the greatest Pacer of all time has no faith in the current team how can management expect the fans to?

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.


Aug. 24, 2007

Subject: Reggie Made Right Decision

It was reported late Thursday night that Miller said he thought about the comeback and finally made the decision to not go ahead with it. He went as far as to say "So never, ever, ever again. If anybody is ever interested in me playing again, please don't call.'' This sounds like Reggie is for sure going to call it a career and what a great career it was. He didn't get that elusive title but all through his career Reggie was a great player and a great competitor. He will be remembered as an Indiana Pacer, where his No. 31 is retired and his fans really loved him. Reggie's career was great despite the lack of the championship ring, and he has nothing to regret by not making this comeback. Although it would have been cool to see him play again, it would have been hard seeing him in another uniform and especially the green of the Boston Celtics.

- Pat in Evansville, Ind.


Aug. 23, 2007

Subject: History Shows Value of Chemistry, Cohesion

I've read the critcism from the “fan” who thinks that those of us who are optimistic about this upcoming season are thinking with our hearts as opposed to our heads. Do you not remember the squad that went to the Finals? Uncle Reg, as great as he was, never was really considered an explosive scorer. Rik Smits in the middle and the two Davises were never household names. Mark Jackson was a good point guard and Jalen Rose was a very effective scorer at times, but we were definitely no Miami with Shaq and Wade or Detroit with Big Ben, Billups and Rip or even a Dallas with Dirk, Terry, Stackhouse and Harris. It's team work and being able to trust each other on the court that makes champions. I'm not saying we're gonna win it all, but we will definitely be back in our rightful place in the postseason.

- Michael in Houston

Who let the Knick fans in here? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see, huh? Part of being a true fan is having hope in your team, even when all odds are against you. That's what marks the difference between Joe Schmoe channel-flipping and fans like myself who actually follow the team and watch every game even if it has to be recorded and seen late at night after work. Who knows? Maybe if we show this new team (for those not paying attention, I'm talking about style of play here) a little faith and a little love, maybe one of them will read it and the confidence will get passed onto the court. It's that same mindset that makes all of us yell at the TV or from the nosebleeds in hopes that it somehow helps. The difference is, it may actually work here. Besides, isn't it more fun to think positive before the preseason starts than to be thinking negatively already?

- David in Terre Haute, Ind.


Aug. 22, 2007

Subject: Optimists Thinking More with Hearts than Heads

While there are some Pacers fans that believe the current roster will be good, they are also the same fans that thought Damon Bailey could play in the pros. These people are fans with their hearts and not their heads. Anyone that really follows basketball knows that for the current roster to do anything, they will have to play far greater than the sum of its parts.

- Jeremy from Fishers, Ind.


Aug. 20, 2007

Subject: Excitement, Anticipation Build as Season Nears

I think the Pacers are truly serious about winning this coming season. Yes, all teams are, but I see that spark in the Pacers. You know, all this talk about the Celtics being a top contender and winning the championship is really shallow. Take a look at the soccer teams in Europe. If you see teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona, they aren't winning even with their All-Star lineups! They have virtually every good player on the face of the Earth on their rosters, but it just doesn't show. Why? Because of chemistry. Every player wants to out-do each other on their own team, and hence there is no production. But look at the teams that have just those "above-average" players, and few stars. Those are the teams that are winning! Look at the Pistons. They don't have any of those "superstars.". But they still manage to stay at the top. So if the Pacers are serious about winning, which I'm sure they are this year, and I see that spark in them, they can go great lengths.

- Aditya from New Delhi, India

This is no rag-tag bunch of rejects. This is right here and now, a team that could become seriously scary. J.O. is an absolute treasure - a 20/9 guy with his head on straight, a guy who leads from the heart. And he's on our team! Tinsley's a mood-swing from realizing and then proving that he is an elite point guard. Daniels is in the same mind-frame. Granger, Dunleavy, Diogu, Rush, Williams and yes, Harrison all have something to prove... and the skills to prove it. Throw in Murphy and Foster and maybe Armstrong? We've got depth, determination, a solid veteran presence and top-shelf young guys. They're going to be a tough, tough team to beat. And now the final motivating factor is in place. They're totally underrated.

- David in Toronto

I can't believe that there are still Pacers fans that think that we need to make a blockbuster trade. Do you realize how much that would destroy our team? We would have absouloutely no chemistry and we would go nowhere. I respect what we have done and I believe that we will prove a lot of people wrong. If we can stay healthy, this team can get past the first round if not even farther.

- Paul in Medford, Wis.

I think that this year will be a very exciting year for Pacers fans and I can hardly wait. I have been a die-hard Pacer fan for years and have recently relocated to the area with a job change and I can hardly wait until the season starts. I believe all of the moves initiated by Larry Bird, including the coaching change, will yield positive results for the team. The team chemistry is there and they have some awesome talent. My advice to all the fans: don’t throw in the towel on my team, they will soar this year.

- Benita in Noblesville, Ind.

I have one gnawing concern: David Harrison, wherefore art thou? He is either our team’s best-kept secret or he isn’t figuring into our plans. It was encouraging to see our svelte 7-footer running the floor late last year. But it was troubling to hear J.O.’s recent comment that Harrison is “working hard” but that we could use another big body. Does he mean another big body besides the 7-0, 280-pound one that Harrison resides in? For J.O. to move to the 4 spot, we need a c-e-n-t-e-r. Murphy, Foster and Diogu can’t take the low post from J.O. so they roam the paint as oversized threes, and we are full up at the three spot. My other concern is that our added shooting ability is great but one-dimensional shooters won’t play. They were a cheap pickup for a reason. It takes a combination of genius and luck to pull this stuff off. Overall, I’m cautiously optimistic.

- Alan in San Diego


Aug. 15, 2007

Subject: These Pacers Deserve a Chance

I will be the first to admit that I jumped to conclusions when I read the article about Jermaine O’Neal and his wishes to play for the Lakers. After reading his interview, it appears that it was taken out of context and that he would like to remain a Pacer if management wants to move forward in its quest to build a champion. I think this team deserves a chance. You’ve heard J.O. and Foster both say that the chemistry issues are long gone and that this unit was actually close both on and off the court at the end of last season. It would appear that the pieces seem to fit Coach O’Brien’s system. Tinsley will finally be given a chance to run the team. We have a center in Murphy who can hit the open shot and clear space for O’Neal. Dunleavy is an oversized two who plays heady and has a ton of court sense. Granger is entering his third year and is primed for a breakout season. I also agree with some comments yesterday that, if healthy, David Harrison could be an extremely valuable piece to this team. His size and ability to score could be just what we need. Add in Rush’s shooting, a healthy Daniels and a more experienced Williams and this team could surprise. I hope that management brings back Armstrong because he is such a stabilizing force in the locker room and his enthusiasm is infectious. Jermaine…hang in there with the Pacers. If you are the cornerstone of the team that brings us back to the elite, you will be legendary in this state and your jersey will hang in the rafters next to Uncle Reg.

- Darin in Sullivan, Ind.

Subject: Reggie more Interesting than Pacers

The other day I was thinking how cool it is that Reggie Miller can still stir up so much media hype even as a two-year retired NBA player. On the other hand, I think it is kind of sad that Pacers fans are more interested and excited to see if Reggie Miller is returning than our own Pacers' season starting. Pacers fans are just dying for something new to happen. Sure we have players that can create decent chemistry together, but who are we kidding? That is boring. This is not high school basketball, this is the National Basketball Association, we want to see fast-action basketball with a true All-Star to lead the team.

- Joe in Portland, Maine


Aug. 14, 2007

Subject: Pacers, not Celtics, Taking Right Approach

I am back in this blog after swearing it off for months a while back. The team last year flew south exactly when I said it would ... in March. I must say now, I don't believe that the triple-threat of the Celtics is near enough to be the contender that some think it will be. Granted, it will be an unstoppable trio while on the floor but, without a great bench, they go no deeper than the second round. Remember, these superstars are aging, which means the bench is ultra-important. There is no bench. With injuries, sub time, a lack of a deep bench, this is a team that has virtually no chance of a championship -- but they will sell tickets. No doubt, they will hurt people while all three are on the floor at once, but through an 82-game season, injuries, fatigue, and other factors will affect the overall performance of these superstars and destroy the season. Boston traded it all, short term, to sell tickets. Indiana did not. And, as much as I hated the eight-man trade, I must respect what I watched this spring. Management, and I have called for their dismissal, have shown great discipline in keeping this team intact. I have had time to reconsider what I think of this team, and I think I have figured it out, but it depends on some unsung heroes (of the future) that are on the team.

The way I see it, Harrison is the secret weapon, or, the key. He must learn to stand and wait for the inside game to come to him., not chase it down, which is what the opponent wants. This is essential for J.O. to be able to take a lot of minutes at center. The second thing is, Daniels must remain healthy. Without the slash, the season is over. (Do the Pacers have another slasher? Doubtful!). The third thing is Tinsley … I am sick of hearing about bars, will to win, and other things like this. The fact is that this man was held back by Rick. If I had his talent and was held back by Carlisle, I would spend time at the VIP, too! Add Granger, Diogu, Foster, and you have experience, energy, and the enthusiasm that will far exceed the trio of Boston.

I'm tired of hearing all of the crap about Boston and others. I want Bird to have this chance to show that he is a chemistry genius to go along with what he was able to do on the floor as a player. Do I believe in Bird? I'm not sure. Do I believe in the raw talent of this squad that I read has no chance? A whole lot more than most people I have seen on this blog do. Maybe my 40 years as a Pacers fan (from age 7) have affected my judgment. I don't think so. This team has addressed the shooting problem. However, the VIP factor must be stopped. I think it will be. I have the utmost hope for this team, and I believe that it will far exceed the Celtics in the playoffs of 2008. Bookmark this, and give me grief in the spring, if I'm wrong … I really don't think I am!

- Butch in Marion, Ind.

We do not need blockbuster trades! We do not need to be millions of dollars over the salary cap! We need unity, loyalty and belief in our team! J.O. is my favorite NBA player and I like everyone else was disappointed when the news broke of his supposed trade quote. However I just stepped back and gave J.O. a chance to explain. Thanks for the great classy explanation Jermaine! We are proud to have you! See you in a Pacers uniform leading our new improved team! This will be a fun year again. Way to go fans, when we all unite and believe we will be hard to beat!

- Chris in Marion, Ind.

I was also very encouraged by J.O.'s interview. I agree with him 100 percent about Coach O'Brien and his approach to things. Every NBA game is decided by a few easy buckets and a few more stops. Jim O'Brien & Dick Harter will shore up our defensive lapses. If someone would finally let Tinsley run an offense, we might get a whole new perspective of his talents (and his attitude). Being happy in any workplace is essential to success. Jamaal Tinsley hasn't been happy for four years and unfortunately for him, 15,000 to 18,000 people got to observe it each night which most of us don't have to live through. We've brought in some real shooters finally to keep the opposing defense more honest. We have some young guys like Granger, Williams, Diogu, & Diener that are only going to get better. When you add in quality, battle-tested veterans like J.O., Tinsley and Foster, I think the Pacers are going to really surprise some folks this year ... and it all starts with Coach O'Brien.

- Bill in New Albany, Ind.


Aug. 13, 2007

Subject: Debating the Wisdom, Merit of Reggie's Comeback

Reggie Miller has been my hero for as long as I can remember. He played for the Pacers from when I was one to when I was 20. He always stood out to me because I saw him as a man of integrity. He could have gone to another team and easily won a championship but he chose not to. He said he wanted to be one of the few players who played their entire career with one team because it is incredibly rare these days. He did that and became every Hoosier's hero while he did it. So to hear that he is considering playing for another team completely breaks my heart. Maybe I'm being selfish in this feeling, but he belongs to Indiana and if he were to play somewhere else it would tarnish that goal he had of playing for one team his entire career.

- Cassie in Evansville, Ind.

I would love to see Reggie shooting 3s again. I don't care if he is gonna play for the Celtics, Mavs or any other team. A real Miller fan should encourage his comeback. We love this guy no matter what!

- Darius in Romania

Reggie Miller....in Boston....even the possibility is a hard and bitter pill to swallow. At almost 18 I have grown up watching Reggie's triumphs and failures. First as a fan of the Chicago Bulls, watching him put a scare in them during the playoffs, and then for the last five years or so as a die-hard Pacers fan. I love Uncle Reggie and I was fortunate enough to see the last game he played at Conseco and attend his jersey retirement. To think of the Reggie in anything but blue and gold is very trying. I truly don't blame him for wanting to get that championship ring, but as any NBA fan knows four good players does not make a team. If one or more of them goes down, then their chances of a championship quickly diminish. So why come out of retirement, why give up a job that he enjoys, for something that isn't certain?

- Erica in Alexandria, Ind.

If Reggie wants to go for it, he has my support. It would be hard to watch, but the guy was loyal to us to his detriment and I intend to return to favor to my detriment. That being said, I don’t think he would do it if he thought about it. If Boston did win this year, it won’t be because of him. It wouldn’t be his championship, it would just be a ring. If he had done it in Indiana, everyone would point to him as the hero. You know when the confetti comes down in Boston, the cameras will be on Pierce, Allen, and Garnett. And if they lose, as Malone did in L.A., what a waste to his reputation.

- Rick in Indianapolis

Reggie Miller was loved by every Pacers fan because of his great talent and class. He represented everything that is great about sports: hard work, perseverance and loyalty. Pacers fans will never forget Reggie's loyalty -- it's part of who he was. When I think of Gary Payton or Karl Malone the first thing that comes into my mind is "ring chaser," someone who left his fans and team behind to go for a ring. Their great level of play is secondary. Karl never won a ring and Gary did, but they're still just ring-chasers and this taints their careers. Reggie was a great Hall of Fame player and needs no rings to prove how great he was. If Reggie comes back and plays with the Celtics I will be crushed -- not just as a Pacers fan, but a fan of one of my heroes who represented everything great about sports.

- Stephen in Bloomington, Ind.


Aug. 10, 2007

Subject: Idea of Reggie in Green has Fans Conflicted

I just can't see Reggie playing in the same town as the New England Patriots. Oh, God. Did I just put them in the same sentence? What words can truly reflect how Pacer Nation feels? Is the best we can say, "Well at least he's not playing for The Knicks?" The thought of him playing for anyone else is a disturbing jab to my heart and I'm sure many feel the same way. If he does come back, I'll wish him the best. But when he enters the game, I'll have no choice but to boo my face off. At least it would give me a reason to sell all my 31 memorabilia, items that I wouldn't sell for the world if he stayed with us. But at what price? The knowledge that there are no longer real life superheroes. I quit believing in Santa Claus a long time ago, but now I'm faced with a much harsher reality.

- David in Terre Haute, Ind.

Reggie Miller in green. I just don't know how to feel about it. There is a part of me that would love to see him competing for a championship, anywhere. And yet ... loyalty is a funny thing. He gave us the best years of his athletic career but I am still selfish enough to want him back with us, even if we won't be contenders for a few years. I might even be able to deal with it, unless we play each other. How do you root against the Pacers? How do you not want Reggie to get his ring? I'm 36, the two are so intertwined in my thinking, my loyalty might actually come into question.

- Kristina in French Lick, Ind.

I have been a huge Pacers fan forever and met Reggie Miller when I was like 5. He has always been my biggest hero. Whenever I have a basketball I always think of him. I'm a big 3-point shooter and always look up to him. I'm kind of on both sides of the issue. Coming back from retirement, which he spent 18 years on a team, and going to another team just doesn't seem right. But Reggie Miller does deserve a championship and he can do that on the Celtics. It's the Celtics' year this time, and I would be more than happy to support them, so Reggie could just have one championship under his belt.

- Jordan in Fort Wayne, Ind.

All I can say is that Reggie should look to the failed come back of M.J. with Washington to see what the results may be for him. Reggie, please don’t taint your reputation by trying to chase down a ring on the coattails for the Johnny-come-lately Celtics. You were a rare breed in today’s NBA, a guy who stood for class, grit, determination, and loyalty. You played with class and you went out with class. You are still the man in Indy, even with Peyton’s Super Bowl championship last year.

- John in Huntingburg, Ind.

As a big Larry Bird fan, it was always fun watching the Boston Celtics led by Bird and then watch him coach the Indiana Pacers. But seeing how the Celtics have gotten the new "Big Three" with Garnett, Pierce and Allen, it's brought back the excitement of the 1980s again! And now, to hear that Reggie Miller may come back as a Celtic is the best news yet! Even though as a Pacers fan it seems unfair, it's also not Miller's fault who worked so hard to get a ring only to fail. This may be an opportunity to get one. Who would not do that?

- Rooz in Chicago


Aug. 9, 2007

Subject: J.O.'s Words Reassuring, Reggie's Troubling

After reading Conrad’s interview with J.O., I’m also feeling optimistic about this upcoming season. Hearing that J.O. has confidence in the new coach and his surrounding cast is great. I don’t think the average fan realizes how our roster can cause match up problems for most of the other teams in the NBA at almost every position. You've got Mike D. who is huge for a shooting guard, M. Daniels who can even run the point if necessary, Big Ike and Troy can spread the floor with their mid-range jumpers and of course the versatility of Granger and Williams can create havoc for any team. I say well done Larry and Donnie, what the team lacks in star power it most definitely makes up for in versatility. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Pacers will have a better record this year than the fly-by-night Celtics with or without the addition of one of the best shooting guards of all-time, Reggie Miller

- Michael in Houston

All I can say is that Jermaine O'Neal is a class act. His new interview was inspiring and heartfelt, and there is a definite quality of leadership about him now which surprised me! I am definitely excited about the new season!

- John in Muncie, Ind.

I just want to thank J.O. for clarifying his comments and for being a great Pacer. Also, I want to thank Pacers.com for providing the full transcript so we can see that this isn't just J.O. back-tracking but what he did really indeed say. I am excited about the upcoming season and I am thrilled J.O. is part of it!

- Bethany in Starkville, Miss.

I am a Jermaine O'Neal fan and I hope he comes with a better season than ever if he's with the Pacers, but I think he's playing the wrong sport: If he can backpedal like that, he should be playing defensive back in the NFL.

- Don in Los Angeles

The beat on the street is that Reggie is contemplating a return with the Celtics, and I have to admit, I feel split on the issue! With all the turmoil that has surrounded our team the last several years, it'd be so refreshing to see Reggie drilling 3s again ... but in a Celtics uniform? I'm not certain who I'd root for: our consummate franchise player, or our franchise?

- Derek in Muncie, Ind.

What do you think the reaction in Indy would be if Reggie comes out retirement to play for Boston?

- Jason in Anderson, Ind.

The past years have been real tough to true Pacers fans. The endless controversy, Reggie retirement, lost chances, brawls, trade requests, etc. My brother and I have tried to stay positive through it all, believing that the joy of a championship will be that much sweeter after the battle of a lifetime. To some strange extent the past two weeks have been harder. Starting with the toughest blow, with the announcement that the NBA had a ref that changed the outcome of games, and then J.O made a bad move by letting reporters lure him into headline quotes, even if he was misquoted. And than yesterday evening my brother called me with a strange voice saying Reggie is thinking of signing with Boston. There was silence for a few minutes and than I just said, "I'm sorry, no words ... I'll call you later." Reggie was my inspiration as a child and even today or rather yesterday. So many conversations, I found myself saying: "Yeah, but look at Reggie, he never sold out to chase a championship." He stayed true. At home. Making for some of our most memorable moments of our lives. Now? I need a new belief system. A new hero. A new NBA.

- Daniel in Israel


Aug. 8, 2007

Subject: After Further Review, J.O.'s Message Clearer

If fans would listen to the full interview with J.O. instead of the bits and pieces that were aired on the news they might have a different opinion. You can’t blame him for how he feels when he has heard all the same trade talks all summer just like we have, even after he said he wanted to stay. He has been the best the Pacers have had in a long time and I hope we can keep him so he can help us get a championship.

- Diana from Camby, Ind.

Come on fans. Why be down on J.O.? If a player publicly “welcomes” a trade (while not officially asking for one) it will obviously serve to alienate the fan base. But let’s not be naïve. He is only reciprocating what Larry has made abundantly clear: “We will always consider a trade of any player, at any time, for anyone, if it makes our team better”. Where is the personal loyalty in that? There isn’t. The business objectives remain the same: Always get better. J.O. said that if it came to that, he would welcome it under certain conditions for reasons which he is entitled to.

- Alan in San Diego

Everyone is bringing up Reggie and loyalty through ups and downs. Reggie never experienced the lack of talent around him the way J.O. has the last few years. I have never been a big J.O. fan and would not mind seeing us bring in a new player to be our star. We have done nothing in the playoffs since 2000 and J.O. was not a huge piece of that team so why do we believe he is the key to success? We need someone who can get us at least into the playoffs and hopefully beyond the first few rounds.

- Ross in Knightstown, Ind.

In my opinion, Jermaine O'Neal lacks insight. If he is traded to the Lakers does he honestly believe he stands that great of a chance in winning a championship? Did he forget about San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, Houston, and Utah -- or even Golden State? The West is the best -- it's no secret. He stands a greater chance at making the Finals by staying put. Does he think his chances are great in New Jersey, with aging, injury-prone players? Where's the insight? I'm disappointed in his lack of insight and confidence as well with Indiana. With a new coach, system and a core of young players destined for greatness (Granger, Daniels) -- the Indiana Pacers have great potential in advancing far into the playoffs -- perhaps into the Finals. For O'Neal to assume the Pacers will have five or six more losing seasons is disappointing.

- Michael in Greencastle, Ind.

You have got to be kidding me. Loyalty! Jermaine has played his heart out for the people in this state and for the organization. He has been a role model in the community. He has played hurt; when others took nights off it was Jermaine O'Neal that risked his health and career to give this franchise an opportunity to simply make the playoffs. You talk of loyalty, Larry Bird was more loyal and respectful to Ron Artest than he has been to Jermaine.

- Richard in Portland, Ore.

Let me start by saying I'm one of the biggest J.O. fans in Indy, so it hurts me that the Pacers won't get him some help and make him happy. So I think the best thing to do is to get him some help in the form of a big-name NBA player.

- Donald in Indianapolis


Aug. 7, 2007

Subject: Fans React Strongly to O'Neal's Comments

Jermaine O’Neal’s latest plea to be traded is disappointing. I have been a J.O. supporter but maybe it is time for him to move on. He rewards a franchise that took a chance on him, made him the face of the organization and paid him like a top-tier superstar with a public trade demand. Reggie Miller is beloved by the city because of the loyalty that he showed the Pacers. He could have chased a championship by signing as a free agent with a contender but he chose to stick with the franchise through thick and thin. O’Neal has said the right things since he has been here about wanting to be the cornerstone of a championship contender and helping the organization to that plateau. I guess that was all lip service. It’s time to build the Pacers around a collection of tough-minded players that want to be here.

- Darin in Sullivan, Ind.

What happened to loyalty? What happened to leadership? The Pacers have struggled ever since the loss of Reggie Miller's leadership. J.O. has once again shown that he is not a leader. Public statements that he wants to be traded instead of being the core of a rebuilding team are self-serving and, more importantly, selfish. Reggie lived through the ups and the downs with the Pacers, always setting the example of hard work and sportsmanship. Jermaine may consider himself a great player, but I don't see it. Great players are the whole package. He hasn't shown it to me. Personally, I hope he is traded. He's not a franchise player and never will be.

- Tom in Lake Mary, Fla.

Hearing Jermaine's latest comments about wanting to play with his buddy Kobe, the guy has to go. In my opinion, as a 30-year Pacers fan, I cannot root for him anymore. He has burned this bridge. Has he already forgotten how the Pacers saved him from the Blazers bench and became an All-Star here? Has he so quickly forgotten what the city and team has done for his career? In my opinion you can not have a a guy here that does not want to be here. Trade him. I'd rather root for Jamaal Tinsley than him now -- at least Jamaal wants to be here.

- Kevin in Indianapolis

If Jermaine wants to be traded then expressing that to Larry is fine but going public with it is not because then everyone knows he is unhappy and they think they can get him for nothing. ... Larry also needs to treat Jermaine just like he is treating us: don't worry about his best interest just ours. Stand firm Larry and do what is best for us.

- Derek from New Whiteland, Ind.

I really think it's time to let J.O go. Why keep a player who doesn't want to play for the team anymore?

- Paolo in Joinville, Brazil


Aug. 6, 2007

Subject: O'Brien Must Align Puzzling Pieces

I just hope that our coach is home and the lights are on. Coach O’Brien will be dubbed a genius, knighted, and achieve NBA rock-star status if he can get meld all the roles and rotations, styles and positions into some semblance of a cohesive offense. Are we a post team, a pick-and-roll team, or a fast-break and transition team? Is the 6-8, 250-pound Diogu competing for minutes with the 7-foot, 290 pound Harrison? Is our intended four man Williams going to be a perimeter threat like … Rush? Will Granger be a Scottie Pippen type forward or will he be standing on the arc? We have a lot of pieces. What we do with them is the puzzle.

- Alan in San Diego

Subject: Pacers Years Away from Title Contention

I find it hard to believe that Donnie and Larry can continue telling us that we’re building a championship caliber team. Realistically, we’re looking at a fourth-place finish in the Central Division. Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland should all finish with better records and that means, best-case scenario, we’re looking at a six seed for the playoffs. And there’s no guarantee on that. The competition in the East has stepped it up, and there are more teams with legitimate chances at the 6-8 seeds than there were last year. It seems like our hopes for this season are riding on the belief that other teams will decline, be ravaged by injuries, or won’t be able to put it together because on paper, we don’t have a chance to win our division, much less the conference. In my book, that doesn’t make us a championship caliber team. We obviously can’t win a championship now, and we won’t win one in the near future (you can’t tell me we have a brighter future than Chicago, Toronto, and even Charlotte and Atlanta, and that’s just in the East). It’s time to look at things realistically and make a commitment. Either do whatever it takes to win, or unload and rebuild, because the status quo is not working.

- Justin in Frederick, Md.


Aug. 3, 2007

Subject: Boston Deal Has Everybody Talking

The Boston trade has everyone talking, Well, let me put in my two cents worth. Yes, they have three great players, but when one of them gets into foul trouble, or gets hurt, or just need to take a break, who is going to fill in now? They just got rid of everyone who could come in off the bench and play. That’s when a Pacers team that is as deep as it is good will jump all over that three-player team.. The Pacers have good players two and three people deep. We will give them fits and problems, I see the Pacers winning a lot more games this year and beating the Boston team in every way when we play.

- Lee in Spokane, Wash.

Where are the Pacers? Other teams are making big moves (read: Boston). The Pacers appear to be timid and unwilling to recognize that the team will not contend in the East, let alone in the league. Tinsley as the starting point guard? We've seen that failure. J.O. carrying the team? Another failure. Role players (read: everyone else)? They won't do it. The big trade last season was a bust (both Al and Golden State). Sorry Larry, but you may need to be the next one to go. At least your teammates (read: Kevin and Danny) are willing to do big things.

- Tom in Lake Mary, Fla.

You need to understand that Boston is trying to win now, while our focus is directed a few years away. And I don't think that anyone who is a true Pacers fan dislikes J.O. Those of us who are saying that we should trade him are those of us who do not think that we will be able to contend with the squad we have now and therefore can only get better by bringing in new blood. You say, "trade Tinsley, Dunleavy, David Harrison, and Murphy, if anyone," but do you realize that someone has to want them in order to trade for them? You can't just decide to trade someone and then go out and do it, you have to find someone who is willing to take them (and I don't know of any team in the NBA who would want any of those players without getting something bigger in return). J.O., Granger, and our other young guys are the only guys who other teams would really be willing to give anything up for, and we are saying trade J.O. because we are looking to improve our future (and trading young talent like Granger would not improve our future). If we were to trade the players you have mentioned, we would be trading our problems for someone else's, which would get us nowhere.

- Craig in Lincoln, Neb.


Aug. 2, 2007

Subject: Celtics' Deal Flashy but not Threatening

Everyone wants to talk about how good Boston will be next year and that Indy needs to conduct a trade to match the moves of others in the Eastern Conference. One must realize that Boston took a serious risk and now has no bench. If any of Pierce, Garnett, or Allen go down with an injury, that team will suffer tremendously. They also lack talent outside of those three and question marks remain in relying on a very young PG (Rondo) that can't shoot and a C that can't stay healthy (Perkins). I believe, however, the Pacers have tremendous strengths including depth. This team has experienced veterans (Foster, Murphy, Dunleavy) as well as young talent (Granger, Williams, Daniels, Ike, Harrison, Diener, and Rush). Throw in a superstar post player (J.O.) and a pass-first PG (Tinsley) and a new coach with a new philosophy (O'Brien) and a new-old coach to restore team defense (Harter) ... This team has tremendous potential and I as a fan am excited about what this team will do next year and the years to come.

- Martin from Tolono, Ill.

Look, the Pacers need to keep J.O., especially with the arrival of K.G. and Zach Randolph to the Eastern Conference. J.O., one of the few talented, athletic big men, is needed to match up down low with these newly acquired frontcourt powers. With all due respect to Rick Carlisle (and I think he's an excellent coach), I think a coaching change was needed. I think his message was wearing thin on the players. I also think he didn't get fair chance to use the team to its full potential because of injuries and incidents beyond his control (malice at The Palace). But with a new coach who sports a winning record and some new players, I think the Pacers have the ability to surprise the entire league in the upcoming '07-08 season.

- Horace in Queens, N.Y.

The problems the Pacers face on the court are not the supporting cast but J.O.‘s tentativeness when it comes to taking the rock to the cup. He is still getting excellent position in the paint consistently but as opposed to going toward the rim he tends to settle for fadeaway jumpers. If J.O. takes the ball strong to the rim you more than likely have a bucket or a foul. There are not many people in the league that can match up with him one-on-one. I say take it to the hole and leave the 15-foot jump shots to your guards.

- Michael in Houston

Jermaine O'Neal is the only "superstar" we have on this team, so why would you want to trade him? Enough of this crying-for-him-to-be-traded stuff. Trade Tinsley, Dunleavy, David Harrison, and Murphy, if anyone. Don't get down just because Boston is doing big things fast. They are mortgaging their future. In addition, they traded away their entire depth. They probably would have done just as well before the Garnett trade, because they gave up some really good young talent and have the luxury of being in a weak division and conference. We, on the other hand, already have good young talent. With O'Neal and Granger, we will have a fighter's chance for years to come. The emergence of Shawne Williams this year will also be key. He could contend with Rush and Dunleavy for the starting SG job, and I wouldn't be suprised if he got it. Tinsley is as much of an underachiever and off court distraction as you can get, but he's better than anyone else on our squad at the point, so get over it. Remember, there is a new coach in town, and that is pivotal in keeping J.O. and Tinsley motivated. I know they both really disliked Coach Carlisle, and now they finally have their wish, and thus, no more excuses. ... Take it from someone who actually watched every game last year. We will only get better with age. Boston will only get worse.

- David in Indianapolis

I know it's easy to envy the Celtics right now, with three legitimate franchise players, but Indiana basketball is not primarily about glitz, glamour and big names. Sure, every team needs good players to start with, and we have that, but the beauty of basketball, especially Indiana basketball, is that when played right, the sum is greater than the parts. Don't forget how the USA All-Star National Team got beaten by a well-executed Greek pick and roll offense. If the Indiana Pacers play Indiana basketball, which is fundamentally sound, unselfish, hard-nosed, hustle basketball, they will not only rise to the top of the Eastern Conference, they will inspire a state.

- Paul in Charlotte


Aug. 1, 2007

Subject: Garnett Deal Could Launch J.O. Sweepstakes

With K.G. finally moving to Boston, the J.O. sweepstakes will begin. Kevin and Jermaine were the two big men available this offseason and most teams thought that K.G. was the better player. Now with K.G. no longer available, the bidding for O'Neal will begin. This could actually help the Pacers. With Garnett no longer available, O'Neal becomes the only star big man left. That means teams that feel they have to make a move will have to pay for it. O'Neal is a good player and has been good to the city of Indianapolis. I hate to see him go. He is not and has never been the problem in the starting lineup. The problem has always been the supporting cast. Jordan in his prime could not have won with the likes of Tinsley, Murphy and Dunleavy in his starting lineup. It is unfair to blame O'Neal for anything that has happened to the Pacers. However, no one in their right mind is going to trade a starting caliber player for either Murphy or Dunleavy. So the only way the Pacers can get better is to trade O'Neal and hopefully get more than one starting caliber player. With Garnett officially off the market O'Neal is the only quality big man left. So let the bidding begin.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.

Why is everyone looking for a big move when a big move could put us ahead or behind a few years? I say the squad we have right now is good and can help us win and get into the Conference championship. You guys forget that you also need teamwork and dedication to win. And I think that this roster we have right now is dedicated to winning.

- Deuce in Houston, Texas

Well, I know "a quick-hitting offense with J.O. inside, Daniels slashing and Rush hitting threes will be all any team in the East can handle." However, that isn't much compared to a better quick-hitting offense with Garnett inside, Paul Pierce slashing and Ray Allen hitting threes. Simply put, the Pacers aren't bad, but many teams in the East have better talent. The Pacers need to make some big moves, or they are just going to be a decent/mediocre team once again.

- Paul in Fishers, Ind.

I think we should seriously consider moving Dunleavy and Murphy to the second unit to open up more opportunities for the young guys who are our future. We would open up the SG for Daniels, and I think pushing J.O. to center and playing Ike at PF would be very interesting to watch. It would also give us one of the best second units in the East, with Dunleavy, Murphy, Rush, Foster and Williams. Plus, I could stop hearing everyone whining about Murphy and Dunleavy because I think they would be very productive in shorter minutes. I also think that Garnett finally being traded will make it more likely for O'Neal to go because he will become the top name in trade talks now.

- Craig in Lincoln, Neb.


July 31, 2007

Subject: Boston's Big Move Kindles Offseason Debate

The Pacers desperately need a top-notch shooting guard. The recent signings might make for a good second team but are far short of the big move we need to make. When I look at the big moves Boston has made it's obvious they are committed to win. Is the Pacers' management as committed?

- David in Houston, Texas

When I think about it, the Pacers are actually not having that bad of an offseason. We added some solid shooters and some nice backups to complement our pretty talented squad. What I think that we all seem to be forgetting is that after the trade we were playing good basketball. Our offense was scoring very well and our defense wasn't half bad either (that was until the horrible 11-game losing streak). I really think that we could contend in the Eastern Conference if we continue to play at the level that we were playing at before the losing streak.

- Paul in Medford, Wis.

J.O. is not only a class act but an outstanding player. I am excited about the new look, but moreso about the new coaching staff. A large part of the problem over the past two years is a slow, predictable offense with little or no threat from deep. A quick hitting offense with J.O. inside, Daniels slashing and Rush hitting threes will be all any team in the East can handle. Dont give up yet, Pacers fans. This will be the best season for at least three years.

- John in Warsaw, Ind.

I like J.O. but this depending on one guy has to stop. J.O. has been on the brink of a great player for 3 or 4 years, but can't quite get over the hump. Correct me if I’m wrong, but J.O is going to make $20 million this year! That can’t be good for the team! He wants another superstar player, but I haven’t heard him want to renegotiate his contract! He wants to be traded, but at what cost to the team?

- Ricardo in Dallas


July 30, 2007

Subject: If Pacers Want to Win, J.O. Must Stay

We need J.O., the reason being he's the one superstar with experience on the team. If we want to go get that ring right now, then we need him to stay. If we don't want to win a ring now, then he should leave.

- Joe from California


July 26, 2007

Subject: Without a Big Move, J.O. Could Leave

The Pacers do need to make a big move. I remember Jermaine saying that if the Pacers are rebuilding, he wants out. What the Pacers are doing now doesn't even resemble rebuilding, so why is he staying? The Pacers need to get a player that is not an underachiever with a huge contract. The Pacers have a good shot at the playoffs right now, but if we all want a championship, something big has to happen.

- Therese in Appleton, Wis.


July 26, 2007

Subject: Small Moves Nice, but Big Move Necessary

Right now the Pacers are doing a good job at making small moves, but I would rather see them make one reasonable and exciting trade that shows the fans that they want to do more than just win games. They should do something that shows that they want to get to the NBA Finals and bring a trophy back home.

- Montez in Indianapolis

Subject: More Cautious than Optimistic

Last year's offseason, the Pacers went out and got athletic players to run the court and defend. However, none of them could shoot. It did not work, so they traded starting-caliber talent and headaches for nice quiet guys who if not for their horrible contracts would have made a nice solid bench. This offseason they have picked up shooters. However, because of previous gross mismanagement they had to settle for third-stringers and castoffs and that includes the coach. With a new coach, a new offensive scheme, a new defensive scheme, and new players, there will not be any more chemistry this season than last season. Be cautious, because every local media outlet will be trying to sell the "new-look Pacers" but we have seen what that has gotten us in the past. I hope all of this works out and I am proved wrong but if things don't further change at least we have a shot at getting Eric Gordon in next year's draft. That is, unless Larry wants to trade the pick for another European player that will never set foot inside of an NBA arena. Be optimistic, but be cautious, we have been sold this bill of goods before.

- Jeremy from Fishers, Ind.


July 25, 2007

Subject: Pacers Must Overachieve to Succeed

Before we get too enamored with the intriguing possibilities of adding a third-string point guard and an NBA castoff shooter, who I really like by the way, let's remember what it will take to raise a “50-60 percent” talent team, (our win-loss record for the past few years) to a 70-80 percent win efficiency. It starts at the top with a commitment to excellence. It’s taken a few years but I can see Donnie and Larry sifting through the organization to achieve a winning team culture. Then, coaching provides a framework for success: discipline, vision, fun. The result is an overachieving team with an identity that becomes a tradition. This is what people want to be a part of. This is what sets Indiana basketball apart from the rest.

- Alan in San DIego

If Kareem and Travis can consisently hit from deep (and I’m confident they can) then our inside-out game will certainly accomplish the goal of getting Jermaine single coverage in the low post. Larry makes a lot of sense here since we haven’t had a consistent 3-point shooter that other defenses have respected. And quite frankly I watched Kareem Rush for his short stint in L.A. and he’s got the touch! He may be a bit of a head case but this could be his last shot at furthering his career in the NBA so I don’t see him screwing this up. The Pacers saw something in his personality several years ago in the draft and I’m hoping with what he experienced in the last few years, that he has matured and can stay in the NBA. Kareem, this is it! We expected this role from Sarunas and that didn’t work, but you and Travis have NBA experience and you know the drill. I admit that I’ve been real tough on the Pacers over the last couple of years but I like the new coach, the addition of these players and how they will blend in with the talent we already have on the roster. I am looking forward to purchasing an NBA League Pass for the first time in two years to watch this new squad.

- Rick in Los Angeles


July 24, 2007

Subject: Low-Profile Moves Make Sense

You do have to like the Pacers' strategy of avoiding the big hyped trade involving O'Neal for Bynum or someone and trying to acquire some people with a couple of years under their belt who might develop into pieces that the team needs. While it would have been nice if the Pacers had gotten Acie Law or someone similar in the draft, lottery picks take a while to develop and many don't develop at all (including whatever ones the Pacers might get next year if they have a bad year.) The Pacers are not going to be driven by a star like Kobe, LeBron or even Duncan. They need to be a team of depth, teamwork and for some of these other people to get better and more consistent (Granger, Williams, Diogu, or Daniels are the most likely candidates) -- more like Detroit than L.A. Three good players and decent role players willing to put out gives you a playoff contender if people stay healthy. People the Pacers can acquire obviously weren't all-pros in the past and aren't all-pros on paper, but a smart GM can pick players who work out. Unfortunately Murphy and Dunleavy are overpaid but they aren't terrible players. Last year's Pacers did not have enough and certainly did not have the right coach for the team they had. But things don't have to be as bad as most people seem to think think they will.

- Stan in Dayton, Ohio

I think the additions for the Pacers were great, exactly what they've needed and I believe it does put them back in the playoffs. Missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years doesn't make a good team totally disappear. Most people are forgetting only a few short years ago the Pacers were preseason picks to win the title. Although many things have happened, I believe this team is still seriously chasing the title. They have a good roster and may not win this year, but should make the playoffs. The Pacers are good, and with the young players they have, should be good for a long time. They are definitely a playoff team.

- Mark in Missoula, Mont.

Subject: Don't Trade Diogu, Pair him with Jermaine

Trading Ike Diogu would be a huge mistake. I have the opposite feeling, being that I don't think the Pacers really know what type of talent they have with him. I vividly remember one play Ike had against the Heat at the end of last season. He posted up Shaq and faked one way, came back the other and lofted a beautiful fade away right over him (who is a good 6 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier than Ike). This play told me a lot. Nobody posts Shaq up, but Ike had the confidence, and more importantly, the skill to do so. He proceeded to score about 10 impressive, hard-earned points that game but still only got about eight minutes of playing time. I submitted a question a few months back when the season was almost over in which I proposed the idea of playing Ike and Jermaine together. I highly question Jermaine's offensive efficiency because as a post-up big man, he really has a poor shooting percentage. Ike's offensive efficiency with Jermaine's defensive dominance (something that would be missed more than people think if here were traded) would be a great tandem in the frontcourt. They did this only once last season that I saw (against the Grizzlies) and the two of them completely dominated, playing off the attention that both command around the rim. Bring Troy's shooting and Foster's great overall play in the second unit, and that is a very complete complement of big men.

- Ben in Miami


July 23, 2007

Subject: Signings Make Sense, but Much Work to be Done

Just want to say that the last few additions we've made to the team make sense both in basketball terms and financial terms. We have addressed our shooting woes and have not spent much money doing so. Although I think our team will be better than what most people think, I dont see us getting higher than a six seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. A few concerns I have are that we still don't have a point guard that can defend a quick scoring point guard, which can cause problems because a quick point guard can get around Jamaal and Diener to score or create scoring opportunities for others. Another thought is that if we are trying to play a little more up-tempo, I think we should have matched the offer for Maceo Baston. Even though he didn't play much last year, he was probably our best finisher in transition. I still don't see how we are going to play up-tempo at all with the players on the roster currently. Daniels and maybe Granger are the only guys on our team that can score in transition. Also, I would like to go on record as saying Ike Diogu is not ever going to be anywhere close to the type of player he is hyped up to be. I say trade him when his stock is high. Another obvious comment is that we aren't going to contend in the East until we replace either Murphy or Dunleavy's contract with someone who is worth $8 million a year. Two comparisons: Jermaine makes the same as Kobe Bryant, and Dunleavy makes close to what Gerald Wallace makes. Come on.

- Matt in Indianapolis

Kareem Rush was a nice addition for the Pacers. Seriously, how often can you pick up a starting caliber player and not have to invest a lot of money? Rush will be an improvement over the starting shooting guards the Pacers had last season. The move also sends Dunleavy to the second unit where he is much better suited to play. It gives him an opportunity to score without feeling pressure to live up to his over-priced contract. It adds depth to the second unit which was sorely lacking. Adding Rush was a good move but still not one that puts them back in the playoffs.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.


July 18, 2007

Subject: Rush Complements Playoff-Caliber Roster

First of all, great pickup in Kareem Rush. Next, keep Jamaal at point and give him one last shot. Danny is a great overall player and reminds me of Reggie a lot -- meaning a great work ethic. Mike Dunleavy is a great player to have on the floor, but lacks in knowing his talents are greater then he thinks they are. Troy, what can I say about this kid, so much talent, he’s a Chris Mullin at power forward (and) needs to take more shots. David Harrison, great size and great upside, but needs to stay healthy. Williams is a great overall young player that needs to learn the game a little longer, he’s young but stay with him. Daniels, I believe if he stays healthy, then the Pacers will be back in the playoffs. Ike, well he was a great prospect at ASU, needs a little more playing time to learn the NBA game, but great solid future in the NBA. Foster, what I can say about this man. Hard worker, a machine when he is healthy, more than 18 rebounds six times in his career, blocks shots, everything you need. J.O., great player, great work ethic, blocks shots, rebounds, dunks, shoots the 10-15-foot jumper, keep him at least one more season. Well, the Pacers should get to playoffs this year.

- Tylor from Anderson, Ind., currently stationed in Mildenhall, U.K.

Subject: Give McLeod Another Chance

I think the Pacers should bring back Keith McLeod . Keith showed in Utah and during his short time here with the Pacers that he is a solid backup point guard who can fill-in and start and help his team win games. He played as well as anybody on this team the final few weeks of the season when it mattered most and we were trying to make the final playoff spot.

- Julie in Massillon, Ohio


July 17, 2007

Subject: Expectations Should Be More Realistic

I think all of you are expecting too much this year. Our chance to win a championship was the 2004-2005 season. However, a brawl in Detroit was the beginning of the end for that team. That team needed to be dismantled and given a new direction, and that's what we've been experiencing. Next year's draft is going to be almost as deep as this year's, with 3 bona fide centers. Along with the young players being assembled and a new coaching staff in place, all we need now is a lucky bounce of the ping-pong balls. I think the 2008-2009 season will find the new Pacers back on track.

- Steve in Fort Wayne, Ind.


July 16, 2007

Subject: Summer Signings Nice but Not Enough

It appears that the Pacers who were once at the forefront of trade speculation are now noticeably out of the rumor headlines on various sites. Fully aware that we had no draft picks and little salary cap flexibilty, is it still possible that the franchise will make a meaningful trade? I read that Bird was quite impressed by our summer league additions. I am sure management (or lack of) will have to do something more significant to make the Pacers fans forget the recent past and return to their days of raising the Conseco roof.

- Ian in Greenwood, Ind.

The Pacers have talent that needs to gel. Patience. Patience, please. I like the way Bird's going about keeping a hand on the rudder. Keep trying to get better every year. In the face of the truly exhausting process of putting together a championship team, "rebuilding" is just the way uneducated basketball fans say, "I'm tired."

- David in Toronto

Well, Larry promised to get a shooter and Kareem Rush is one of the best pure shooters. I think the Pacers had their eye on him when he got drafted but the Lakers traded for him earlier than anticipated. Thinking he was a good fit for the shooting-challenged Pacers, I’ve followed his career a bit. Apparently, the Pacers kept him on their radar as well. He’s a southpaw with a nice fluid stroke, a nice arcing jumper and his balls get a lot of net. You can’t teach that. Hopefully Kareem can fill the void left by Peja’s departure and even better, Kareem’s minutes won’t keep our next generation “big three,” Granger, Williams and Diogu, from continuing to develop. He will trade off with Dunleavy and Daniels. I can live with that. Picking him up was a savvy move. Hopefully, there is more where that came from.

- Alan in San Diego

Subject: Pacers Should Keep Baston

We can't let Baston go to Toronto. He is one of our best big guys. He had the best field goal percentage on our team when we were the worst field goal shooting team in the league. He didn't get to play that much last season or the season before but that is not because he wasn't any good. He was one of our best contributers, but Carlisle just didn't play him.

- Matt in Quincy, Ill.

Subject: Don't Misinterpret Opinion on O'Neal

Well said Eric in Indianapolis on the July 8 blog. Jermaine would be a good number two option in the clutch, but he is not the "go to guy." Jermaine is also not good as the primary team leader. He would be much better suited as one of the secondary leaders. I know this may sound like I am slamming Jermaine, but I am not. Jermaine is a good player and seems like a good person. I just think that the Pacers are expecting too much out of him.

- Bruce in Kokomo, Ind.


July 8, 2007

Subject: If O'Neal Stays, Role Should Change

With all the trade rumors flying around about Jermaine O'Neal, one never knows what to believe or take serious anymore. One thing, however, I do know: if we decide to keep Jermaine, we have got to stop treating him as the "go-to-guy" down the stretch. He is simply not a crunch-time player. That's not saying at all that he's not any good -- quite the contrary. He puts up very solid numbers and can be an excellent No. 2 option. But if you're waiting on him to make the big play or hit the winning shot at the end of games, things that No. 1 options do for their teams, we are going to be sadly disappointed once again this next season. Not since Reggie Miller left, have we had that player with "ice in his veins" that can hit the big shot down the stretch. I understand that a player like Reggie isn't a common find, but if we expect to get back to the high level of play we were at a few seasons ago, we have got to have someone (or maybe even a couple someones) eagerly step into that role, because Jermaine is not the answer in that capacity.

- Eric in Indianapolis

Subject: Rebuild with Youth and Potential

To be honest ... I as a fan for fourteen years with my own opinion am ready to just rebuild. I chose not to attend any games this past year due to the product on the court. I would like to see the Pacers find that new cornerstone! The player that in 15 years is leaving the same way Reggie did: Many years of great Pacer basketball, championship or not! I would much more enjoy watching young potential and promise develop over the next few years than watch a patched-up team spin its wheels. I am sure the fan numbers would decline while rebuilding, however the attendance has been falling for a couple years now! Quick-patching this team can result in more future failure that will also result in the continuing decline of attendance!

- Jason in Elwood, Ind.


June 27, 2007

Subject: One Wrong Move Could Ruin Next Decade

With the draft approaching and rumors flying, it is well to remember what has gone before. What was the worst trade in Pacer history? Some would certainly think of what might have been had we not traded a future draft pick for Tom Owens, but I'd nominate the trade that sent a young player with potential to Denver for a very veteran George McGinnis. It was a late-season trade made at a time when we were nearing making the playoffs for the first time and thought a veteran would put us over the top. George was far from what he had been in his ABA days, the other frontcourt players never welcomed him destroying team chemistry, the trade eventually was a big part in current radio icon Bobby Leonard losing his job as coach and general manager, and the young player we gave up on, Alex English, turned out to be Denver's all-time leading scorer with a career total better than even Reggie Miller's. Let's not repeat history and trade Granger, Williams, or Diogu. And for those wishing to blow up the team and start over, I'd like to remind you of the dark days before Donnie Walsh when they had to curtain off the upper deck of Market Square Arena so that the place wouldn't look so empty. Being at the bottom was not fun. One horrible 11-game stretch ruined last year. It need not ruin the next decade as well.

- Frank in Indianapolis

Subject: Debating the Merits of a Draft Deal

For all the people who think we should avoid the draft, do you realize the damaging affect of missing such a great draft would be? The Pacers didn’t have any picks in the last truly great draft, the draft of 2003, while a lot of players from that draft are prospering, the Pacers are slowly falling behind, the Pacers need to get a first-round pick badly so they can start building a contender. The goal shouldn’t be to get to the Playoffs to take an early exit, it should be to try and build a real contender.

- Jordan in Plymouth, Ind.

The thought of adding Mo Williams to the Pacers is a great idea. We would acquire him through, like Larry said, a sign-and-trade (not free agency). I agree and disagree with Matt in Quincy. This year's draft is strong, but likely the highest draft pick we could get is a late first-round pick, when most of the productive players are taken. I said it once and I'll say it again, this is a good draft but why take the chance?

- Paul in Medford, Wis.

With all the top picks the the draft I found a player that nobody has really said anything about. This player looks like he can be the next Reggie Miller. Last season this player averaged 26.4 ppg. and about 6.6 rpg. He also shot about 50 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line. He also shot 45 percent from the 3-point line -- the best 3-point shooter in the draft. He is a 6-6, 215-pound guard from Rice. His name is Morris Almond.

- Matt in Quincy, Ill.


June 26, 2007

Subject: Draft Class Too Good to Miss

All the people that are saying that we need to dodge the draft don't know what they are talking about because we obviously don't have the cap room for signing free agents. The good thing about getting draft picks is that when you get someone from the draft usually nobody knows if they will be ready for the NBA or if they will be as good as they were in college. I think this draft is going to be the best draft class in a long time and it would be a shame to miss it. We don't want to be left out of one of the best drafts in years.

- Matt in Quincy, Ill.

Subject: Rebuild Around Granger, Dunleavy

I believe that the Pacers should look to rebuild the team around Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy, who are the second- and third-best scorers on the team. They have the ability to be leaders on the Pacers and find ways to step up their game in tough situations. Second, the Pacers should not be afraid to trade players, especially in the same conference. Last, the Pacers should go into the draft. Take advantage of teams who want give up draft picks. Make a deal that will benefit them and us.

- Montez in Indianapolis


June 25, 2007

Subject: Time to Dodge the Draft

Here is what the Pacers need to do when draft time comes: nothing. Why take the risk of another European player? What the Pacers really need to do is sign a productive free agent and we'll go from there.

- Paul in Medford, Wis.

The Pacers should be cautious with the acquisition of international players. More often than not international players are soft and do not adapt well to the number of games played in an NBA season and the physical nature of the NBA. San Antonio has done a good job finding them but international players are still long shots. For every Rik Smits or Detlef Schrempf you get a dozen Primoz Brezecs, Bruno Sundovs, or Sarunas Jasikevicius’.

- Jeremy from Fishers, Ind.

I totally agree with the notion that the Pacers should try to find talent in the free agent market. There seems to be a lot of quality free agents out there. I think adding a scorer or a point guard that can score, like Mo Williams in Milwaukee, we can have a pretty good team next year. We've got a lot of basketball I.Q. on this team, we have guys who can score (J.O., Daniels, Murphy, Granger, even Tinsley), we have big bodies as well (Foster, Murphy, Diogu, J.O.). Maybe add a guard who can D-up a good, quick point guard and/or a scorer that will take pressure of J.O. and not make Granger play outside himself and we wil be right back in contention.

- Matt in Indianapolis

I agree to disagree with Rick from Los Angeles. The pacers don’t have the cap to compete in free agency to get anyone that could make a splash, also, this team doesn’t have enough talent to be a contender, they should rebuild because the goal shouldn’t be making the playoffs in the pathetic Eastern Conference with a mediocre team, it should be to build a team that can contend for a championship.

- Joe in Indianapolis


June 22, 2007

Subject: Pacers Need Players, Not Prospects

I totally agree with Donald in Indianapolis. The Pacers should look to the free agent market rather than take a chance on another player from outside the country if they are looking to rebuild and grow now. Sarunas was billed as the next pure shooter on the squad and that was a bust. Then there was Primoz Brezec and that proved to be worthless. Larry Bird and management has to get this team back in to the playoffs this upcoming season. Doing it with “new kids on the block” won’t work. Either trade up or trade out to get new and experienced talent on the team.

- Rick in Los Angeles

I think the Pacers should just take their lumps and stay pat during the draft. It's not like we're going to get a good pick, unless we trade J.O., Granger, or Shawne Williams, which would be foolish.

- David in Terre Haute, Ind.


June 20, 2007

Subject: International Prospects Should Appeal to Pacers

With the NBA Draft a week or so away, it's only right to start looking at players to fit the Pacers' needs, even though we are without a pick (as of now). When you look at the needs for a shooter, two international players really stand out. Rudy Fernandez of Spain and Marco Belinelli of Italy really seem to fit the bill. Both are projected to be mid/late 1st-round picks, an area I feel the Pacers should be able to get into. Another position that seems to be unstable is the point guard spot. Tinsley is a really good point guard but injuries and inconsistencies have tarnished his time with the Pacers. One point guard whom may be availible in the late 1st round/early 2nd is Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen. He hasn't gotten much coverage, but he's young with loads of potential, and seems to be rising up draft board. I hope passed international experiments don't turn Bird/Walsh off of these porspects!

- Pierre in Indianapolis


June 19, 2007

Subject: Is Bird Scouting Next Ginobili?

I just looked at the video for Rudy Fernandez and he looks like he could be another Manu Ginobli in the making. He can jump and has a nice shot. The only problem is he is a little skinny. Still, he is exactly what the Pacers need, a slasher who can score. In the video I saw a close up of Larry Bird. Maybe Larry knows something we don't.

- Jahmal in Indianapolis

I say forget the draft this year. Check out and see what is in the free agent market, I am sure there are some players who have playmaking ability looking for a chance to prove it.

- Donald in Indianapolis


June 18, 2007

Subject: Top Priority Should Be Strengthening Middle

I don’t think our priority should be to get a pure shooter. Did I say that? I am tempted to whack myself with my laptop for even thinking that. But we don’t have Reggie Miller and the days of a true shooting specialist might be gone. We have several above average shooters who are also long and athletic. We are committed to building around that. We need to get our outside shooting boost from the point. Dribble penetration and outside shooting need to go hand-in-hand for a point guard to be effective. Defenses can play off or body-up a guard to shut down one or the other, but not both. Now how about a shift to center? We have a good bevy of small forward types, but other than Jermaine, we really aren’t a big team. This has to be the year for David Harrison. I think quickness is the issue for him. The Pacer’s game is only going to get faster. I hope our trainers will use every technique and method known to mankind to help him get that 7-0 body lean and agile. After a good shooting point guard, having a back-up big man in the middle is our “biggest” need. Thoughts?

- Alan in San Diego


June 14, 2007

Subject: New Names Enter Draft Discussion

If the Pacers are looking for a shooter in the draft they should aim for Rudy Fernandez. He is a 6-6 guard who can pass well, shoot from beyond the arc and he is a leaper so he can bring some energy to the team. Fernandez can solve the Pacers' problems for a shooter and possibly a point guard.

- Montez in Indianapolis

If the Pacers get a pick they need to draft a pure shooter. They need to trade away Dunleavy and get Florida's sharpshooter Lee Humphrey. If you watched this kid, he was one of the most consistent shooters and can shoot off screens or if he was set. He shot a very high percentage from the 3-point and has the capability of being the best shooter in the league. Humphrey should be better than Dunleavy and he could also have a chance of winning the 3-point shooting competition on the All-Star weekend. He will help the team immensely because they will have to worry about him shooting a high percentage and worry about Jermaine and the post. Also he will free up other players like Danny Granger, Marquis Daniels and other penetrators or shooters. It will also make room for Jamaal Tinsley to be creative and do what he has to do to help the team to win. Lee Humphrey will make everybody's stats better and make the team better as a whole on the court. If coach O'Brien works with him on defense he will be a lot better player and won't just be a one-dimensional player.

- Kendall in Indianapolis


June 13, 2007

Subject: Backcourt Talents Law, Conley Intrigue Fans

This is said to be one of the most exciting draft classes in years. It seems to be very deep as well. I think if the Pacers were wanting to make a move, now is the time. Whether it is to trade O’Neal or to trade whoever for draft picks. I think the Pacers need to target two guys out there, (Acie) Law and (Corey) Brewer. Both of these guys are players the Pacers desperately need. They can both shoot the rock and seem to be great leaders! These two players seem to make a lot of sense to me. ... Something has to be done with this team, it's not exciting to watch and will lose much of the Hoosier fan base if something is not done.

- Nick in Vincennes, Ind.

We need to go after Mike Conley Jr. or Acie Law. Picture this line up in a few years: Mike Conley Jr., Marquis Daniels, Danny Granger, Ike Diogu, Andrew Bynum and Shawne Williams as a sixth man.

- Mark in Vincennes, Ind.

I agree that the Pacers should look to acquire Acie Law. He's the right point guard for the job and after we get him we could trade Tinsley for a center or another shooting guard.

- Darien in Indianapolis


June 12, 2007

Subject: Draft-related Trade Could Bring Deep Threat

If the Pacers get a pick in the draft there are many intriguing options. However, it really depends on what Larry Bird’s mission is. If his attitude is “Win Now,” then the Pacers desperately need a reliable deep threat. They need someone to take that game-winning shot and to take the pressure off O’Neal in the post. However, if the Pacers trade O’Neal and start rebuilding, a real point guard should be first priority. Tinsley’s skills and flaws have been greatly debated on this blog for a long time but the general consensus has it that he is better than average but not great and certainly not championship-caliber. Armstrong would be a great mentor for Mike Conley Jr. or some other talented young floor general. Larry Bird has said on multiple occasions that the Pacers need better outside shooting and someone that can get his own shot. If the Pacers can find those qualities in a point guard, then figuring out how to obtain him should be the first priority. The Pacers have not been afraid of making draft-day trades in the past so this year’s draft should be interesting.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.

I agree entirely about Acie Law. I think he's is the perfect fit for the Pacers, he can create, he can hit outside jump shots, he can get to the rim, he's good in the clutch, and he can play point guard. If they Pacers could land Law he could be the answer to almost all of the Pacers' problems.

- Mark in Missoula, Mont.


June 11, 2007

Subject: If Pacers Get Pick, Law Rules

OK, I know the Pacers may or may not find a way into the NBA Draft this year and, if they do, it will be a mid-to-late first-round pick at best. However, I would love to see the Pacers find a way to ink Acie Law. I feel he is the darkhorse of this draft, and most "experts" pick him to go anywhere from 11th to 14th but I think he is destined to be one of the greatest clutch shooters by the time his NBA career is finished. I think he would be the perfect fit for the Pacers, because we need a shooter, and this guy is a shooter and a go-to guy in the clutch. Mark my words basketball fans, by the time his career is over, his name will be mentioned right along with Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan, Robert Horry, Steve Kerr and the host of other great clutch players who find a way to hit the big shot.

- Jeff in New Castle, Ind.


June 8, 2007

Subject: O'Brien Could Bring Out Tinsley's Best

While there continues to be a massive diversity of opinion of the value of Jamaal Tinsley I feel that this is a player who has never really shown us his top-level side. Coach O'Brien may be just the man to bring this out. His declared methods and thinking could very easily unlock this ballplayer's best side. I say give him another season and see if this will happen. If not, then I think we should be done with him.

- Bob in Greenfield, Ind.

I think Tinsley's less a variable than seems to be widely believed on this blog. Tinsley's got lots of skills but, like I've seen in blog after blog, he's an above-average point guard, not top-of-the-line. Indiana's got challenges in the amount of money we can throw around but one thing remains unquestioned: Bird's quest for excellence. After a season of arguable reliability in the health arena, Tinsley's got value on the trading block for the first time in years. In the quest for a championship team and a point guard that can shoulder that kind of responsibility, mark my words: Tinsley's gone.

- David in Toronto


June 7, 2007

Subject: Opinions Divided on Tinsley Issue

The question which is Tinsley is an important one. When I looked at the pre-trade lineup, I saw two problem positions: coaching and point guard. That team was fast, aggressive, attitudinal (to a fault) and ready to rumble. The coaching was mired in a traditional mindset that could not exploit it. That team is now embodied by Golden State. Tinsley was a problem because, not only could he not push the team up the floor, he had to be dragged along behind it. He wasn’t leading the attack. The other problem was lack of leadership. Tinsley is too passive to command respect. He doesn’t bark out directions and make people get where they need to be. He has recurring poor judgment. These are critical failures for a point guard and floor leader. Tinsley’s key shortcoming in our current lineup is his lack of speed and shooting. We know he can dribble. But we desperately need an outside shooting threat, and who better to drain shots on the perimeter than the point guard – especially when our 6-9 Dunleavy, Granger and Williams need to be slashing, filling the mid-range space, and rebounding. We don’t want them loitering out at the arc. Tinsley isn’t fast enough to create at the point and he is a liability on perimeter defense. Mr. Bird and Mr. Walsh said they have skill needs, not positional needs per se. They identified outside shooting, shot creation, discipline, energy, and leadership, and if multiple skills can be filled by one position so much the better. What better place to fill all these needs than at point guard?

- Alan in San Diego

Keep Tinsley, but put him on probation. There is no question that he has the talent. With no improvements in his game or attitude he is already an above-average starting point guard. His problems have been his health and his attitude. Last year he almost beat the health issues that have derailed his career. Hopefully he learned his lessons last year and off-court issues will become a thing of the past. If he matures as a person and corrects his attitude his talent is great enough to take him to the highest levels. Perhaps a coach like Jim O’Brien whose record of building his systems around his players’ talents can re-ignite Tinsley’s career (Unlike Carlisle who tried making the round peg Tinsley fit into the square holes of his system).

- Alan in Boca Raton, Fla.

Whether Tinsley's foolish off-court choices should be a factor in his future with the Pacers is debatable (I think such things can negatively affect team chemistry and morale), but he has had plenty of time to show what he can do for the Pacers on the court. I think the bottom line is that Jamaal is not consistent enough in his decision-making ability during games in the position every team most needs consistency in order to succeed.

- James in Greentown, Ind.

I agree with Matt from Indianapolis (June 6)! Give Jamaal a chance. He's a good point guard!

- Jenny in Centralia, Ill.

Jamaal is not the long-term answer at point guard. There is no denying that he can be a very good pass-first point guard when he wants to. Unfortunately, he has very poor decision-making skills when it comes to getting his own shot. He continually goes one-on-one with the opposing point guard if he got beat in the previous possession and almost always at the worst times. He is no rookie anymore. By this point in his career he should be beyond that. He is the same player he was as a rookie. He has shown absolutely no growth as a player. Also he plays very poor defense. Yes he does get a lot of steals but most of them come from him poking the ball loose from behind once the defender is already by him. It is a very lazy attempt at defense that often ends in a reach-in foul. Then, there are all the off-the-court distractions that he has been a part of. We have a young team and do not need the few veterans that are left on the team to be bad role models.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.


June 6, 2007

Subject: Debating Tinsley's Future

If we can't come up with a better point guard, I think we should hold on to Jamaal Tinsley and give him a chance with the new coach and probably new personnel. We all hate the lazy demeanor and the off-court problems, but Jamaal hustles for the most part and is a very creative point guard. What will it help if we trade Jermaine and get a couple good big guys with no point guard? Jim O'Brien will let Jamaal be creative and will use him to score on the post, where he is the most affective as a scorer. We could see a side of Jamal we haven't seen since his rookie year. We all know he has talent. Let's not lose another talented player because we won't give him a second chance due to his off-court troubles.

- Matt in Indianapolis

Since Indiana's not drafting anyone, they should start thinking about who they want playing for them or who should be traded. I think that Jamaal Tinsley needs to be traded because he always shoots the ball when there are guys guarding him.

- Mike in Long Island, NY


June 4, 2007

Subject: O'Brien's Track Record Good News for Pacers

Congratulations to Larry on making a solid coaching selection. Hiring a coach isn't easy. With the rare exception of a Phil Jackson or a Pat Riley, most experienced coaches that are available are retreads with a ton of bad baggage. Promoting college coaches has repeatedly been disastrous. Newbies are usually nothing more than a crapshoot. Jim O’Brien is an intriguing choice. He had success turning around the post-Bird Celtics and later managed the Sixers' Allen Iverson -- no mean feat. His record has been positive at every place that he coached. Add to it, his mentor and father-in-law Jack Ramsay makes a habit of reviewing every game with him. If you read the Boston newspapers online, you see he left Boston because he didn't see eye to eye with Danny Ainge. Given Ainge's record that is a major plus. Philly papers show that he left the Sixers when management chose to support a non-productive under-achieving player, Dalembert, over the coach. Now look at the mess that is known as the Sixers. Versus the competition he is a no-brainer. Stan Van Gundy was forced out because the players, i.e. Shaq, didn't respect him. His brother is best known for his ankle-biting stunt while with the Knicks. The rest of the presumed candidates have no experience. Let's give Jim a chance.

- Daniel in Boca Raton, Fla.

O’Brien is a stop-gap coach. No desirable coach wants to coach the existing Pacers team. The Pacers found the only guy that would take the job. This guy was hired because he won’t cost much and is willing to coach a team that has no chance of going anywhere. I bet he will be one of the least-paid coaches in the league. Once the Pacers get some talent and have a shot at the playoffs this guy will be fired and a good coach will be brought in.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.

A while back, I had said that selecting a new coach for the Pacers should be done as though we were selecting a surgeon. Now that the selection has been made, all I have to say is we should be on our way to recovering.

- Dave in Terre Haute, Ind.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the announcement of the Pacers hiring Jim O'Brien as our new head coach. I think this was a pretty good move by management Jim O'Brien is a great coach and has a reputation for being a disciplinarian which I think we need for our team. He did a pretty good job in Boston and Philly. I have heard people mention the fact that he was fired from both jobs but let's first remember he was the first coach to get Boston in the playoffs in several years and got them to the Eastern Conference Finals and in one year in Philly he improved that team by 10 wins and got them back into the playoffs; how many coaches have a year like that and get fired?

- Derek from New Whiteland, Ind.


June 1, 2007

Subject: Hiring O'Brien The Right Move

Gotta give it to Donnie and Larry. Jim O’Brien is a great choice to coach the Pacers. Being the biggest Pacer fan born in Philly and living in Los Angeles I know I’ve been hard on the team and its direction, play, management and on and on. But you have to give the team their props. I really like this choice. Gee, I gotta admit that I haven’t felt this good about the Pacers in three years.

- Rick in Los Angeles

First of all I was a fan of Rick Carlisle and I think it is unfortunate that things played out how they did. That being said it definitely appeared to be time for a change and Jim O'Brien was a great move. Completely unexpected so far seems to be the only term to describe the last year. Unfortunately still reeling from the drama over the last few years Mr. Bird has done his best. Jim O'Brien is the kind of coach we need and hopefully will help us recover as he did for the Boston Celtics. Simply put I am very hopeful as should all Pacer fans that given another move or two we will be back in contention with a hard nosed defensive coach at our helm.

- Brian in Bloomington, Ind.

I like the hiring of new head coach Jim O'Brien. I believe Coach O'Brien had two very tough teams to coach in Philly and Boston. Now with a new head coach I believe it is time to start looking for a new starting point guard. Tinsley may have stayed healhty but made poor judgment off the court last season that has pushed longtime fans away!

- Jason in Elwood, Ind.

Subject: Mixed Reviews For Kobe Speculation

People seem to forget he has a no-trade clause. He wouldn't accept a trade to the Pacers due to a simple fact that so many fans are in denial about--Indiana is not a title contender in its current state. The team couldn't make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and that says a lot. Instead of Kobe the Pacers need to figure out how properly rebuild to get an cohesive and competitive team out on the floor. This team needs to start from scratch with their young core (Diogu and Granger). This team also needs draft picks due to a couple moves that turned sour. I think it should start with getting rid of Tinsley and O'Neal. Face it, this team can't win it all. Time to start building a team that can.

- Seth in Billings, Mont.

If you think Kobe Bryant would be willing to go from L.A. to play in Indiana you're off your rocker. The Pacers should deal Jermaine and start rebuilding entirely with some young players, giving the team a fresh start and Jermaine a chance to win some championships with a team who can support him right now.

- Peter in West Lafayette, Ind.

I know we can't live in the past and that teams change and develop their own personalities over the years. Having said that, I must express my vehement objection to anyone within the Pacers family even thinking about taking on Kobe Bryant. There is no doubt that he's a fabulous and talented basketball player.....but he's also a spoiled ball- and attention-hogging diva ... the exact opposite of that which was embodied by Reggie Miller. If Kobe Bryant is even courted by Indiana, I may have to walk away with my memories of the days when I was deeply proud of being a Pacer fan.

- Lorraine in Austin, Texas

Kobe Bryant and Jermaine O'Neal may very well end up playing together, but it will be in L.A., not Indiana. In order to get a guy like Kobe, we'd have to trade at least Jermaine, and it doesn't appear that Kobe would wish to play in a "small market" such as Indiana. Trading Jermaine to the Lakers might not be a terrible thing for the Pacers, just so long as they are well-compensated. I'm thinking a young guy like Bynum and a veteran team guy like Odom for starters. Without those two in the mix, Jermaine should stay put.

- Bryan in Avon, Ind.

I agree that Kobe could potentially be a great asset to our team. Unfortunately I don't think there is any possible way we could trade for him. Even if the Lakers are forced to trade him, they won't trade him to us, we don't have anyone good to give back to them.

- Dave in Lafayette, Ind.

Kobe in Indiana, that's a very interesting idea ... but in my opinion not one that the team should actively pursue. While I acknowledge that Kobe is an amazing player and has a talent for scoring and shooting he is quite used to being the main guy, the main option, for a team. He tends to be somewhat of a ball hog and in a team like the Pacers, who are truly at their best when they can pass the ball 3 to 4 times in a play, this would not work out well. There is also the wonder of how we (as a team) would lure such a high caliber player to Indiana. Kobe is paid an extremely high salary and if I'm not mistaken at the moment the Pacers don't have much cap room to work with. Trading Jermaine O'Neal for Kobe would be a likely idea, and I'm sure a reasonable fit for both teams, but what would that do to the morale of the fans? Jermaine has been here through a lot and if memory serves the last time the Pacers traded players that had been with the franchise for a long time morale lowered and team chemistry was almost shattered. So Kobe in Indiana, a noble idea, but more than likely unattainable.

- Erica in Alexandria, Ind.


May 31, 2007

Subject: If Kobe's Available, Pacers Should Call Lakers

I am pretty much the furthest thing in the world from a Kobe fan, but reading the headlines today I can't help but wonder what he and J.O. could do together. As much as I hate to say it, he is exactly what we need here in terms of a player and scorer (though I still think he shoots too much) to take charge and lead a team to that elusive "next level". Having said that, the logistics of such a deal are difficult to imagine, and so is the idea that L.A. would trade Kobe for anything less than J.O. himself. Any thoughts?

- Jason in Pendleton, Ind.

Subject: Defending The Defenders

In response to the remarks about our players not physically capable of being able to play defense, I'm going to have to disagree, especially with those made about Mike Dunleavy. He has great smarts, size and length for a two and his effort is never in question. He may never be a one-on-one lockdown defender, but I think he can offer great help and will more than hold his own in the team concept once he gets a chance to practice with his team in training camp. Likewise, Tinsley just needs to put forth more effort on a consistent basis and gamble a little less on steals. If anything, more important for Jamaal is to not go into a one-on-one battle after he has been scored on as he often does. He needs to resist that temptation better. Jermaine is a presence in the lane, and I think Baston would be with more playing time. Once our guys get a chance to mesh, we will see the product that Larry and Donnie originally envisioned and not the one that we saw at the end of the last season. We weren't even that healthy, either, not to mention we have some young guys who are going to develop nicely for us. Let's give our guys a fair chance before throwing them under the bus.

- Aarik in Indianapolis
Aarik, Indianapolis, IN


May 30, 2007

Subject: Defense Big Part Of "Old-School" Style

The idea that the Pacers need to go old-school is almost correct. Many fans think that if we pass the ball more and more players get shots that some how the team will magically get better. The “Old School” value the Pacers need most is the one they are not physically able to do and that is play defense. The Pacers have no one in the paint that is an intimidator. Yes, O’Neal blocks shots but he never puts anyone on their backside. If you look at any championship team in history the one common denominator is defense. The Pacers do not have the one enforcer in the paint. They also have the likes of Tinsley and Dunleavy playing bullfighter defense on the perimeter. Those two are so bad on defense they look like they get out of the opponent's way on purpose. Once the opposing guards have walked past our terrible perimeter defense they have free run to the basket without fear of being put on their butt. A little intimidation in the paint goes a long way on defense. The Pacers do not have to score 110 points a night to win. They only have to score one more point than the opponent. Until the Pacers address the serious lack of defensive talent and effort they are not going to get any better.

- Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.


May 29, 2007

Subject: Pacers Need To Regain "Old-School" Values

I know in the "infamous" mid-season trade many fans feel like the team lost out. But I think what they did was acquire at least one player that harkens back to old-school values: Mike Dunleavey. I would like to see the franchise concentrate on getting more players like Mike, who embody the hard-working spirit of the NBA days of old: the unselfish, hard-working basketball player who can actually see through the stars in his eyes. You know - like Reggie Miller, Rik Smits and Brad Miller. I know there are players out there with similar attitudes. Steve Nash, one of the best point guards in the league is rife with old-school attitude. So maybe when Donnie and Larry are looking to try to re-enter the draft they might do so hoping to find a player(s) who can bring back the days when fans could love the team again. Let's get rid of what's left of the bad taste in Indiana's basketball mouth held over from the Ron Artest days. Move on and move up ... back to the future (as it were.)

- Jack in Louisville, Ky.

Maybe now we can focus on the real task at hand – building teamwork in such a way as to get the most out of every player. No doubt we need to add outside shooting and no doubt there are times when we need for someone to create their own play. But our bread-and-butter needs to be teamwork. When one looks at Utah, Detroit, San Antonio, you see teams that have a plan for teamwork and they execute that plan. The players become virtually invisible within the overall team play and you hear about their star players “scoring a quiet 35” or getting a “20/20 night”. When you see players like Lebron, T-Mac, Kobe, Dwayne Wade, you see towering talents but you also see payers loping up the court with the ball, waving their teammates to the side, or backing into the basket with their signature three dribbles to the left followed by three dribbles to the right, offering up a plethora of head and ball fakes, slowing down the game and throwing up outrageous shots that only elite players have any hope of making. I’ll take the former any day. I think our players, if they play as a team, if they have the right leadership on the bench and on the floor -- especially at the point -- will be up to the task. But if our mindset is to acquire some great talent to put us over the edge, it will be all downhill.

- Alan in San Diego


May 23, 2007

Subject: Maybe Lottery System Should Be Changed

I was thinking about how certain teams tanked at the end of the season to get a more favorable position in the NBA Draft Lottery and that maybe if others hadn’t tanked, our Pacers would have a better than 3 percent chance at a top 10-pick with their less-than-impressive record. People have talked about re-weighting the odds to be less favorable to the bottom teams to discourage dumping. Perhaps a better scheme would be to rank teams in the lottery in the order in which they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Most teams already play hard before they are eliminated from contention, and all teams will have no reason to dump after they’re eliminated, since they’ll want to get the best possible gauge of what the team is ready to do the next season.

- Drew in Redmond, Wash.


May 21, 2007

Subject: It's More Important To Be Good Than Feel Good

I've been following the debate on this forum about who should be the next coach, and I'm reminded why Indiana basketball is so much different than anywhere else. We put more of a premium on "feel-good" than winning it all. It would certainly feel good to see Reggie Miller or Mark Jackson on the Indiana bench again, but if you owned an engineering business and you needed to replace an engineer, would you hire an English teacher? These beloved Indiana basketball figures have no experience coaching, so why don't we just skip those options, even though Mr. Bird pulled it off: He inherited a veteran team that was at its peak, which is entirely different than now. The Indiana Pacers should do whatever it takes to hire the suddenly available Jeff Van Gundy: He's the best coach available, has a 'defense first' mentality, and is exactly the right fit for us. Time to earn your money, front office: Give Pacer basketball what it needs, not necessarily what will make us all feel good.

- Don in Los Angeles

We Pacers fans have every right to dream, especially after all the nightmares we have experienced. Perhaps we should settle for dreaming of a season free of chronic injuries to our key players. If we can somehow shed this yearly "injury curse," this would definitely help the team chemistry thing along.

- Earl in Terre Haute, Ind.

I can appreciate the respect and loyalty people have for former players like Reggie and Mark, but people need to think straight on this. The last thing you would want to put on this beleaguered team is a rookie coach! We really need a proven winner at the helm. Filling the stands does not matter if the team still has no respect for the leadership. W e need a Stan Van Gundy type, or the equivalent, in order to restore the respect that Carlisle apparently lost. We need a defense-minded coach, and not Sam Mitchell, who was voted worst coach in the NBA last season by his own players! We need a veteran.

- Butch in Marion, Ind.

Jeff Van Gundy. Now that he has officially left Houston, he should be considered our top choice for coach. He has the no-nonsense, no-excuses style the Pacers so desparately need. He has a defensive coaching style which would be perfect to jump start the transition, running offense the Pacers are trying to achieve. He inspires loyalty and work ethic in his players. He's taken rebuilding teams to the playoffs. He's exactly what we need.

- Xavier in Indianapolis


May 18, 2007

Subject: Dreams Won't Bring Reggie, Jackson To Bench

I like the fact that everyone is throwing out all these names like Reggie Miller to become the next Pacers coach. Reggie Miller is not going to coach any time soon if at all, and I seriously doubt he'd want the challenge of dealing with this team that we have right now. Mark Jackson has said he was not interested in the Pacers job b/c he doesnt want to be the coach of a rebuilding team. So fans need to realize alot of the names being thrown out there are just dreams.

- Patrick in Indianapolis

I think Reggie deserves to be our head coach. After all he did for our team, I think he could do a whole lot more as coach. He has played with some of the guys on our team. I think with Reggie for our coach and some new players, we can give him the ring he deserves.

- Caleb in Fredericksburg, Va.

A coaching staff comprised of former respectable Pacer stars, as another fan suggested, sounds like an excellent idea that could work and fill the stands with noisy fans. We could also add Darrell Armstrong to the coaching mix somewhere whenever he decides to retire as a player. Hopefully, he can play another season or two first, so they can have the veteran leadership on the floor. The Pacers still have plenty of talent, but they desperately need leadership, discipline, team chemistry, and healthy players. Find that "injury bug" and squash it! They need a coaching staff who makes all the players play to their potential every night with pride (something else that seems to be lacking), and will not tolerate any less.

- Earl in Terre Haute, Ind.


May 17, 2007

Subject: Former -- And Current -- Players Suggested For Bench

When I look back at last season, there is one and only one bright spot. That is Darrell Armstrong. When we got Armstrong he had only one year left on his contract and said he would like to get into coaching once he retired. That's why I believe he would be a great head coach. Virtually the same thing happened in Dallas with Avery Johnson. If Darrell could instill the same effort and determination into his players that he played with, I don't think it would matter who was on the floor.

- Jonathan in Greenwood, Ind.

Has anyone given Reggie Miller a thought on becoming the new coach? Not only is he an Indiana Legend {like Bird), he also has the leadership qualities. Everyone respects him. When Reggie talks, everyone listens.

- Greg in Westfield, Ind.

Here is the coaching group that will bring back fans to the games and a championship in Indy:. Reggie Miller as head coach; Mark Jackson, Rik Smits and Derek McKey as the assistants!

- Rohun in Indianapolis

The Pacers should try and lure the general, Robert Montgomery Knight, to the pros as their next coach.

- Hilliard in San Diego


May 16, 2007

Subject: Coaching Recommendations Still Coming

P.J. Carlesimo should be considered for the coaching position in Indy. He is obviously much of the strategy on the Spurs bench and deserves to move forward beyond the Sprewell mess.

-Andrea from Estero, Fla.

I think the Pacers needs a coach who is not intimidated by his own players. I think a Del Harris or Stan Van Gundy would be great. I am not a big Sam Mitchell fan. I think he has a lot of talent but not a lot of coaching skills. Reggie or Mark would always be welcome back in Pacerland, but some time as an assistant would benefit both first.

-John in Huntingburg, Ind.


May 15, 2007

Subject: Fans Recommend Coaching Candidates

I had the opportunity of watching a lot of Raptor games over the past couple years and Sam Mitchell would be great on the Pacers bench. He has the ability to get the most of his starting lineup and secondary players. The Pacers' inability to play consistent basketball at home and on the road would strongly benefit from Mitchell basketball. The Pacers have a couple underachieving big contracts and Mitchell would challenge those players to live up to the potential.

-Graeme in Vancouver, British Columbia

My choice, if I were making the decision on coach, would be Stan Van Gundy. Look at what Stan did with Miami. A remarkable job. Regardless of what Pat Riley or any others say, Stan was forced out because Riley wanted another ring. I don't see anything like that happening with a class orginization like the Pacers. Let Van Gundy win his ring in Indiana. Yes it will take some time to get it done, but a great coach like Stan and a great franchise like the Pacers deserve that ring.

-Eric in Lafayette, Ind.

With all of the motivation problems that we have experienced over the last three years should we consider a by-the-horns type of coach. We have no one that has taken over as team leader so let that responsibility fall on the new coach until someone emerges. For the last few years all I hear is we have a young team, then why are they outhustled by veterans? I have been a Pacers fan since day one and can tolerate mistakes made by young players as long as they are hustle mistakes but to see the lack of any type of hustle in numerous games is unacceptable. We need a coach that will light a fire and let these young players take the torch and run with it.

-Larry in Indianapolis

I would like to see Sam Mitchell, Brian Shaw, or even Mark Jackson. I think these guys can and will demand respect and hard work. A head coach has to be a positive leader, and someone who people want to follow and work hard for. Assistant coaches can be anaylst and Xs and Os guys. A head coach needs to be a strong leader who knows how to bring guys together for their best result.

-Matt in Indianapolis

How about Reggie Miller? He is familar with Indy, knows what the fans and organization expect. I think he would put fans back into the stands. Althought he isnt an "experienced" coach. but i think he would discipline the players and not take any crap.

-Kohner in Kokomo, Ind.

I haven't seen any names that really knocks my socks off yet, but of the names that I have seen I think my top three would be Marc Iavaroni, Mark Jackson and Brian Shaw. But like I said, I haven't seen anyone to knock my socks off.

-Bruce in Kokomo, Ind.

You should hire Thad Matta from Ohio State. This guy is the best coach at any level in America. And the players love him!

-Bob in Roswell, N.M.

I think the next Pacers head coach should be Sam Mitchell because he made the Raptors work harder and become a team.

-Mike in Long Island, N.Y.

I am excited to see who the next coach will be. However, I think we are putting the cart before the horse. We need to know what kind of team we are going to have before we see who the coach will be. A coach needs to match the talent. Currently, the Pacers starting lineup has slow, non-athletic guys like Murphy and Dunleavy. As much as I like the idea, the Suns assistant coach does not fit the personnel the Pacers currently have. Sam Mitchell has been mentioned quite a bit but remember that it was only one year ago he was voted (by the players) the worst coach in the league. I do not think veteran talent will respect or listen to Mitchell. While I respect Reggie Miller and Mark Jackson both very much neither has ever coached before even at the collegiate level. I think hiring either of them would be more of a publicity thing to get fans in the seats. I would like to see a veteran coach capable of teaching the young players but also able to treat the veterans like veterans. I do not have a front-runner but I would like to see someone like one of the Van Gundys or Del Harris or someone along those lines. Most of all I hope the coach matches the roster.

-Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.

I do feel Sam Mitchell has performed well in Toronto, and I am sure the other candidates are qualified, but I am a huge fan of Mark Jackson. I feel he was a terrific point guard in the NBA, and I feel he has a definite basketball mind. I think he is a quality individual both on and off the court, and I think he will instill the will to win, demand 100 percent of his players and I think he is the one that will bring Indiana basketball back to life. I loved Chuck Person in his playing days and was thrilled to see him on the bench this past year, but I feel he needs a few more years as an assistant before he can truly be viewed as a head coach. Marc Ivaroni is a quality name, as is Johnny Davis, Van Gundy and even Brian Shaw, but I really think that if the Indiana Pacers wish to undo the past three years, it all begins with Mark Jackson.

-Jeff in New Castle, Ind.


May 14, 2007

Subject: Asking Fans Who They Want As Coach

I just wanted to ask everyone here who they would like to see as coach? Marc (Iavaroni) out of Phoenix is quite intriguing if he would put in place a similar program like Phoenix has. (Sam) Mitchell seems to be a good coach, considering that he had a lot of young players (just like the Pacers), but I never saw Toronto play this year so I'm not sure about what kind style he brings. Reggie Miller, I think, would make a great coach, but maybe not so soon. Who knows? It worked for Avery Johnson, though he does have a great team so who can honestly say? ... I'm sure the Pacers will make a good decision. I never really cared for (Rick) Carlisle, he reminded me too much of Isiah Thomas, but he was a much better coach than Thomas and I wish him the best wherever he ends up. What does everyone else think?

-Aaron in Peru, Ind.

Subject: Carlisle Better Analyst Than Coach

I found it a tad alarming the other day while watching a playoff game to see Rick Carlisle in a studio analysis position with ESPN. To me, it wasn't the analyzing I found disturbing, but it was how well Rick fit into the position. It showed to me that maybe Rick is more of an entertainer than a coach. Watching his ear-pleasing ability to talk during halftime showed to me he isn't the type of guy that can get guys to play together, he seemed very distant and didn't look like the coach I recognized over the past few years. Maybe letting Rick go was for the best, and opening the Pacers head coach position will be the pivotal factor of getting this team back to playoff basketball.

-Mike in Scarborough, Me.

Subject: Playoffs Show Value Of Balance, Chemistry

The teams that are successful in the 2007 playoffs so far are showing a distinct trend: team homogeneity, for lack of a better word. Detroit, Utah, Golden State, Chicago, do not show a traditional “first option”, “second option” offensive priority. Any and every player will get the shot, make the pass and run the floor without much of an apparent bias or priority. Now, look at the teams with the “star and supporting role players” model and there you see teams in trouble: Lakers, Heat, Wolves, and…Pacers. I think the notion of building a team and an offense “around” a so-called franchise player is going the way of tight short and set shots.

-Alan in San Diego


May 11, 2007

Subject: New Coach, New Approach Will Be Big Help

I am not nearly as worried or angry as some of the other posters. I think that getting a new coach who brings in a simpler system (which doesn't run through J.O. so often) will go a long way towards getting the Pacers back in the playoffs and in contention for the Eastern Conference title. Even without a draft pick or changes in the roster, we'll have a team that is a year older and wiser next year. That said, there's work to do. Mike Dunleavy needs to spend a good part of his summer working on his 3-point shot. Troy Murphy needs to be working on his footspeed. David Harrison needs to spend some time in the gym with Jeff Foster learning to rebound. And there are many who need to improve their overall fitness.

-Donald in Tokyo, Japan

If I have to hear about one more so-called Pacers fan deciding not to watch the team anymore I think my head might explode. If you disagree with moves that have been made, fine. If you think they should get rid of certain players, fine. Even if you want to speak out about how bad certain moves or players are, fine. But to stop supporting them just shows absolutely no loyalty and you should be ashamed. We didn't make the playoffs for the first time in the last 10 years and people are already jumping off ship. Show some loyalty or just go ahead and openly become the frontrunner you are.

-Chris in Asheville, N.C.


May 10, 2007

Subject: It's Not Bickering, It's Healthy Debate

We do need to stop the bickering. But, is it really bickering or just good old-fashioned debate? Sounds more like debate to me. With that said, the starting lineup that Bryant mentioned is pretty good, with one exception. Tinsley. If Tinsley doesn't go this offseason, I will never watch the Pacers again.

-Eric in Lafayette, Ind.

If the fans are quiet it means they have stopped caring. Pacer fans have come to expect the team to be more than just competitive. The Pacers do not have a nice group of players. We have O’Neal and Granger and that is it. Murphy and Dunleavy are both soft. Any team that has to start either of them is not a playoff-caliber team. If they both start the Pacers should be in the D-League. Dunleavy would make a good sixth man but Murphy is completely worthless. Williams is coming along nicely but is still very young. Diogu plays the same position as O’Neal so he is no help in the starting rotation. Tinsley is good on the offensive side of the ball, that is, when he decides to try. However, Tinsley is a joke on defense. Bryant needs to understand the difference between bickering and telling it like it is.

-Jeremy in Fishers, Ind.

Subject: Pacers Need Another "Armstrong" Move

I now understand why the Pacers made the trade to acquire Darrell Armstrong from Dallas. I was reading an article on Sports Illustrated and they were emphasizing how they need a player to get in people's faces and lead a team, and they lost that when they traded Darrell to us. How else can the same (Dallas) team that went to the Finals lose in the first round next year? Nice move, Pacers. Now make more happen.

-From Jeremy in Indianapolis


May 9, 2007

Subject: Bothered By All The Bickering

We need to stop all of this complaining and bickering. We have nice collection of players, and many options in the offseason. A starting lineup that could consist of Tinsley, Dunleavy, Granger, O'Neal, and Murphy and a bench with players like Daniels, Foster, Diogu, and the emerging Shawne Williams need not worry. Sure we need another shooter and we need players that can create their own shot but other than that we are in great shape. So stop all the complaints. Let's get us a coach (hopefully Sam Mitchell) who can bring this team together, and make them play hard all the time and see what happens.

-Bryant in Indianapolis

Subject: Granger Headed For Stardom

I just saw Danny Granger's season report on the Site and I have to say Danny is the next Pacer who'll be a big star. I have a good feeling I'd be seeing him wearing the All-Star white, blue and red pretty soon.He has matured as a player so soon that it hardly seems like he was playing college ball a couple of years back. I hope the Pacers instill more confidence into Danny because the only time I saw a lacking in him (seldom) was the time he had to defend an opponent who was pretty well known for his offensive abilities.The new coach should be one who can do just that; Carlisle had too many problems on his hands to be able to instill confidence into the players. Hopefully a new era begins with the advent of a new coach. And with that new era, we'd have a new star born. That, too, in the form of a player who was the 17th pick in the draft. Imagine!

-Aditya in New Delhi, India

Subject: Recommending A Wardrobe Change Brunner is at it again. Justifying the trade? The Pacers aren't worse off? Please, Mr. Brunner, how much more obvious can the truth be? I think Mr. Brunner should scrap the suit and don a cheerleading outfit, because that's about all he seems to be.

-Mark in Bloomington, Ind.


May 8, 2007

Subject: Pacers Need Coach That Can Beat Nets

We need a coach who can beat the Nets. The Nets beat us in the playoffs last year and ended our last hope to make the playoffs this year. We were 0-4 against them this year. Sam Mitchell is a good coach but he couldn't beat the Nets when it counted. We should consider another coach. Or maybe the Pacers can sign Vince Carter?

-Stephen in Indianapolis


May 7, 2007

Subject: Advice For Next Coach, Whoever He Is

News flash for our next coach: Look at what other teams are doing in the playoffs and imitate what works. Look in the dictionary of NBA catch-phrases under “long, lean, versatile, and athletic” and you will find the very picture of the Golden State Warriors. Find the words, “balance, discipline, and efficiency” and you will see the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs. The entry for “team chemistry” shows the Detroit Pistons. Selflessness and ball movement? Chicago Bulls. All we need is brilliant coach who can fashion our team into a conglomeration of these images, or even better, into a unique one of our own.

-Alan in San Diego

After the departure of Rick Carlisle, a coach based especially on the defense, it is necessary to find a new coach, a coach who plays the attack and is based on speed. Larry Bird understood this and was put in the search of a coach that resembles him, therefore an offensive coach. I support it 100 percent because all the teams which are distinguished in the league are strong offensively like Phoenix, Golden State.

-Hamza in Morocco


May 4, 2007

Subject: Either Complement O'Neal Or Move Him

Since Reggie Miller retired it seems the Pacers lost stability. I'm a fan of this ballclub for many years now. I (chose) to support this club over the likes of the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas and Phoenix. Those ballclubs have a better records than the Pacers but I still believe that a Pacer fan is the best fan in the NBA. It seems that Jermaine O'Neal can't do it alone and can't handle this team (I'm a fan of Jermaine). If the Pacers don't get a good player to play with Jermaine, I think we should part ways with him. I think the Pacers have a lot to do this offseason. Please bring back the glory!

-Dandolph in The Philippines


May 3, 2007

Subject: Trade-Haters Should Watch Closely

I wonder if all those who are still incensed at the infamous midseason trade are watching the playoffs closely. Al Harrington is little more help to Golden State than he was to the Pacers. He had a good year on a bad team and the only error the Pacers made was rehiring him in the first place. On the other hand, ironically, the one that everyone wanted to get rid of is tearing up the floor.

-Anna in Switz City, Ind.


May 2, 2007

Subject: A Fond Farewell For Carlisle

I just wanted to say to coach Carlisle: "Thanks for giving it your best under the most difficult of circumstances these last three years. I don't know of very many NBA head coaches who would have fared better under the circumstances." His leaving is bittersweet. On the one hand, had he had the same core players to work with I'm certain he would have had success throughout his tenure here to mirror his first season. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. On the other hand, his coaching style apparently rubbed some players the wrong way. Regardless, it's apparent that the multitude of issues couldn't offset any adjustments he could have made. As he put it, such catastrophic events are difficult for anyone to overcome year after year. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

-Lee in Huntsville, Ala.




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