The only analogy I can think of with what Larry Bird did to the rest of the league on thursday was a fighter giving a giant upper cut to the rest of the league. Don't get me wrong, I feel it took a little more than I wanted to give up to get George Hill. Their 29th pick would've been nice to have in that deal to gnab Jeremy Tyler or some other big. But Larry also brought Brian Shaw on board, the main assistant on a championship contending Lakers team, oh and by the way had the blessings of Phil Jackson. Shaw will also be a great tutor for our young guards.
So we need to look back on what Larry has done. Not when Donnie was here....
Hired Jim O'Brien: Okay...... this one blew......
Drafted Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert: Rush has mostly been a bust. His rare glimmers of potential on the offensive end have not outweighed his seemingly zero drive during games and his failing of drug tests. Roy has been a very solid center. There have been questions about his toughness inside and we'll see how that does after he gains some more weight back. That one can be blamed on O'Brien wanting a 7'2 guy to constantly sprint and stay at the top of the key.... what an idiot.
Drafted Tyler Hansbrough and AJ Price: I admit this is the only time I started to really have a problem with what Larry was doing. Yet this could've been one of his best moments. He selected Tyler Hansbrough against all the "experts" saying he could never play in the NBA. After the weird vertigo thing, Tyler was practically a rookie and he did a fantastic job. He needs to work on his defensive rebounding and a few more go to moves, but where he was picked at, there really wasn't anyone better. AJ Price was another guy who was said to not be able to play in the NBA, but he's a second rounder who has given us solid minutes, you can't ask for much more than that.
Drafted Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Magnum Rolle: I mean none of us can argue what Paul George can become. Larry dropped his love for upper classman for a draft and went potential gang busters on the NBA. Paul George is the future and can guard practically anyone. Lance needs to mature..... but in the middle of the second round.... that's a fantastic find. Magnum got let go as a victim of circumstance, but Larry had an eye for his talents and I think he has a very nice future.
Traded Troy Murphy for Darren Collison: I don't need to explain that one...... just read it a couple of times and it still shocks me. Wonder what Darren can do learning under Brian Shaw and actually having one coach for a whole season. It's his third year so look out.
Traded for George Hill: I mean it's just one more great piece...
Getting Brian Shaw: Big name guy possibly getting starting jobs with contenders, now our assistant. The Pacers must be getting pretty attractive to get him to come in.
So this is what he's done. Yes, it was a rocky start but it seems Larry has had some things to learn and he's learned them. But the most important thing Larry has done for this organization isn't in that list and hasn't been in the papers. Despite probably getting thousands of calls about people unloading big contracts for our expiring ones, Bird has said "no" every time. His persistence and discipline are putting this team back on the map. I can't wait for free agency.