Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pacers-Rockets recap? Pacers-Spurs recap? No thanks.

I'm not going to post a recap of the Pacers-Rockets or Pacers-Spurs games because I'm still mad. Every time the Pacers win two-three games in a row, everyone gets excited and thinks that the Pacers are finally coming together only to get blown out and prove they were just pretending to be a real NBA team. I realize that Tinsley and O'Neal are hurt so you can't expect a lot, but the same thing happened last year to force Carlisle out and things have not changed with a new coach.

So if it's not the coach's fault, whose fault is it? The players' faults? It's easy to blame them because they're making millions of dollars and not winning, but I think the blame starts with Bird and Walsh. For the past few years we've been promised improvement through off-season and in-season trades, but it just hasn't happened. Maybe they just don't know where to start?

Well, first let's decide who we would keep. Granger for sure. Young, talented, and even though I would never try to build a team around him he would be able to fit into any plans for rebuilding the team. Who else? If we can sign him to a reasonable contract, Kareem Rush. Sure he jacks up a lot of 3s, but that's the only way the Pacers can stay in games and he hits them 42% of the time. It's a contract year for him and he'll undoubtably want more than the $700k a year he's pulling down now, but if we can sign him for 4-5 years at a fair price we should keep him.

Everyone else? Get rid of them. Blow the team up. Do whatever it takes to get Mike Conley from the Grizzlies (who don't seem to mind trading away their stars) and try to get as many 1st and 2nd round picks out of the other guys as you can. Tell Pacers fans the truth: It will probably be a few years before we are playing like it's 2003, but we're committed to building a young team who will come out and play their hardest for you. Come out and watch Mike Conley play in Conseco again! Who better to build your team around than a guy who grew up in Indiana and is going to sell tons of jerseys? And you won't have the problem of him getting bored of Indiana and wanting to start shooting people, because he grew up here and is already used to it.

So you have Mike Conley, Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, and Kareem Rush before the draft even happens. What Pacers fan isn't excited about this core already? What season ticket holder is going to give up his tickets and risk not having good seats 2-3 years from now when this team is running by everyone in the league? This team will be instantly fun to watch and will be a team Pacers fans can be proud of and grow to love.

Ok, so who do we draft? I say a guy who has proven to be a defensive stopper. We need a guy who can lock down the other team's best guard or forward. We'll probably never have someone as good as what Artest was in terms of the range of sizes he could defend, but we need to find someone who can take the other team's star out of the game.

So there's Step 1 Larry Legend. Go make this happen. I'll go order my Mike Conley Pacers jersey, now.

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