While the lockout will continue to dominate the coming months, the Pacers have plenty of talking points to keep things interesting in anticipation of its ending. A message is being sent by the Pacers organization that they’re willing to improve, and more importantly, willing to take the steps necessary to get this once proud franchise out of the doldrums of irrelevancy.
The Pacers have been quietly making a push since the end of the season that began by trading their first round draft pick for Broad Ripple native George Hill. The acquisition of Hill provided the franchise a healthy, stable backcourt along with good will leadership from a young veteran who has been a part of and surrounded by considerable success in his short career.
Alongside that was the hiring of Brian Shaw as the lead assistant, a championship assistant who successfully worked for the Lakers under one of the greatest coaches in basketball’s history. That to go with the talks of adding in Jim Boylen as the assistant, who has a solid pedigree as an assistant working under Rudy Tomjanovich for the NBA Champion Houston Rockets and under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, and the Pacers will iron out their coaching staff along with upstart fan favorite Frank Vogel and returning assistant Dan Burke.
The addition of former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, who helped turn the Portland franchise around following their own bad stretch of cancerous players and losing seasons, has a wonderful ring to it as well; helping to complete a stretch of moves and additions that Larry Bird, a winner in his own right, sees a necessary step.
Bird certainly feels that now that the franchise has considerable options moving forward, to go alongside a quality group of young players who cut their teeth by being part of the fabric that made the 2011 NBA Playoffs as great as they were, it’s time to start adding people who know what it takes to win, who understand the approach necessary to take the next step, even if they can’t help directly with putting the ball in the basket.
Whether the addition of these pieces results in considerable success for the Indiana Pacers franchise in the coming years remains to be seen and has little effect on this point in time, where everything is frozen. But there’s little to suggest Indiana isn’t doing everything they can, with regards to the mistakes of franchises in similar positions, to push forward, and make themselves a threat in the Eastern Conference once again.