Hard to believe that a month ago I was the most pumped I'd been about the start of a Pacers season since 04. We'd just gave the NBA champs a run for their money, the whole starting 5 was coming back, and the bench had been 'improved'. Here we come 2013! Now, a handful of games in and we look like the Colts last year. So naturally, we've been looking for the 'reason' for this collapse. I thought I'd put together a few ideas, some ridiculous and some possible.
Reasons the Pacers are laughable.
1) Larry Bird - I had to even think of putting any blame on Larry Legend. He leaves, leaving us with Kevin Pritchard to take the reins. Was last seasons success due to Larry's aura? Players just wanted to play harder for the Legend? Did he foresee what this season was going to become so skeedadled out of here before it struck? He knew that Hill and Hibbert were going to be tough decisions to resign that would decide the future for this franchise.
2) Kevin Pritchard - Might as well. Mr Trade Happy GM arrived and immediately made moves that the fans questioned. Draft Miles Plumlee (When there was a potential athletic wing player available who would have been invaluable with Danny out right now) and Orlando Johnson. Traded Collision and Jones for Mahinmi. And let Barbosa, Fasenko, Price, and Amundson walk. The second unit that was supposed to be better than last year hasn't shown any improvement. I miss Barbosa's instant offense.
3) Second Unit - Let's go there too. DJ looks like he doesn't like being in Indy. Playing with no sense of urgency. I remember when the Pacers were thinking about drafting him. If Charlotte didn't put up much of a fight to let him go, what does that say. He's supposed to be a pass first PG who can hit the 3. I've only seen one game so far where he's come close to that. Gerald Green. Mr Highlight real. While he's been every bit of that; that is all he has. Mixed in with some boneheaded plays.
4) Roy Hibbert - Everyone's favorite answer. Big Roy signed the 4 year $58 Million dollar contact before the season started and since then has look like David Harrison. Soft, only good for blocks and occasional rebound. I've found it hilarious to watch his twitter feed. Beginning of the season he was all talk with his Area 55 people. Super happy. Now he hasn't posted anything in days. This season is definitely in his head. Shame too. The way he played last year and treated the fans; he was approaching my new Favorite Pacer levels. Now the man needs a sit down with a head doctor to get his confidence back.
5) Area 55 and G2 - Definitely not there fault but have you heard anything about these sections? Granted I haven't been to a game yet this year but did the creation of G2 hurt somehow?
6) Frank Vogel and the Coaches - Not his fault. Frank's a defense first coach. And so far, we've gotten great defense. Toronto, 5 points allowed in the 4th quarter. What we haven't gotten is offense, of any kind. Isn't that why Brian Shaw is there? Sorry Mr. Shaw but maybe teams have passed on you as a Head Coach because they wanted to see you with a full year running an offense like this. Doesn't look so good now.
7) Danny Granger's Knee - We all have been reading the trade Granger rumors for years. Now does this change our mind? I agreed. I never put that much stock in what Danny means to the team. It looks like just his presence on the floor made a difference plus his 20 pts per game. Get well Danny. I have a feeling you'll be retiring a Pacer after this season's flop.
8) Paul George - I have never seen a player with such expectation for greatness placed on his shoulders. We the fans and media have been hailing him as the next superstar in Indy. Is it time to acknowledge that he'll never be one? 3 years in and this may be all we get. Shame too, because he has the athleticism and potential to do it. I just think he can't handle the pressure. Look at DeRozen in Toronto. Yes he was drafted high and there were expectations but not PG expectations at superstardom. And now he's having a breakout year.
9) Stars Alignment/ bad mojo / curse - something else I didn't mention? Let me know in the comments.
It may be a combination of these or none of these. But regardless, this isn't a fluke and the team will magically 'turn around' until something is done. Either in these guys heads or to the team. I really want this team to do well and right the ship. But if not, get ready for a top 5 draft pick this year fellas. Cody Zeller anyone? Man I hope I wrote this depressing article too soon and the Pacers prove me wrong the next game.