Hey there Indy Cornrowers! I've been regularly checking out this site for a long time and have enjoyed reading what you all have to say. Admittedly, I have rarely posted anything myself, and although it may be hypocritical of me to say this, I'm kind of disappointed in the lack of activity on the site (namely fan posts) this season. Part of this, I am sure, is a direct result of the new layout of the site...it flat out sucks compared to the old one. I am also sure that it has a lot to do with the fact that the team has been extremely disappointing so far. Based on our play last season, especially in the playoffs, and the development of our young players, we have come to expect a a lot. These expectations we have are realistic and justified. The team itself has set the bar high, and it is on them to meet them, and even surpass them.
However, we fans need to stick with them, especially when they are playing so poorly. I doubt any of the players read blogs such as this one, but they undoubtedly are aware that many people have lost interest. That obviously puts a lot of pressure on them to turn things around. I know these dudes are making tons of money playing a game, and they are expected to perform highly to make these salaries justified (to some extent), but pressure tends to have a negative effect on most people, and although they may seem larger than life, professional athletes are after all still human. This team is a perfect example of this - last season, and to some extent the prior one after JOB was fired, we had very low expectations. When there was little pressure on the team, based on the fact nobody outside of the diehard (maybe a little delusional at the time?) saw them as a threat to anyone, they overachieved to the point that they legitimately had a chance to challenge for a championship. Anything in excess of maybe a winning record or a playoff berth would probably have been enough for us to give them some slack and show they were at least making progress. They delivered magnificently, and that success led to extremely high expectations going forward.
This team may simply not be ready to challenge for a championship. They are still relatively young and for the most part unfamiliar with the role of being the hunted. We were dealt a big blow right before the season was to begin when Danny Granger was ruled out for an extended period. Danny has been our best player for quite a while, and he proved last season, as well as his lack of presence so far this season, how important he is to this team. 22-year-old Paul George has all the sudden been thrust into the role of trying to be our main guy, and relatively inexperienced guys like Lance Stevenson (although he is playing great) have been expected to step into major roles. This is not to say this team is not good enough to be at least a few games over .500 and we should absolutely not be losing to teams such as the Bobcats and Raptors. However, I think some growing pains should also be expected to some extent.
We are now 14 games into the season. So far, we have been hard to watch for maybe 12 1/2 of those games. But we do still have 68 more to play, and that's a lot of time to turn it around. They cannot possibly get any harder to watch than they have been so far, and I think they will soon get back to playing exciting winning basketball that we came to expect last year. A lady I work with used to clown on me all the time about how bad the Pacers were. When we turned things around two season ago and ended up making the playoffs, all the sudden it was "Oh my gosh, that is so great.I need to get a tee shirt"!!! Now of course, I am sure she has torn that tee shirt to shreds (if she still knows where it is). We cannot turn into this type of fan-base! Again, I'm speaking in general terms - I'm not saying anyone here is or has. All I'm saying is we need to keep our hopes up that things will get better.
I am not basing this all simply on the fact that there has been very little interaction on this site this season. I understand this can be a result of many different things. This team has been very frustrating so far, and the same can be said for those people turning on the team we all love so much. Let's embrace the fact that we have a great group of very talented young players on this team who are very capable of performing much better (Roy Hibbert) than they currently are, and they will not let us down in the long run. We should do the same for them.
If you have stayed with me this far, I am impressed. Many have probably already tuned me out, and I am okay with that. As I already said, I think this new layout sucks, and wish there was a fan-meter thing like there was on the old one. Since there is not, how are you guys feeling about this team? I know they are sucking right now, but do think they can turn it around and become a team that nobody will want to see come playoff time? Or do you not even see the playoffs in their future?
Personally, I think things will get a whole lot better very soon, beginning with tonight's game against the Lakers. To again be contradictory, and for the sake of discussion, I think we should EXPECT them to win tonight, and to return home from this road trip with 2-3 wins.
Thanks, and I hope to continue reading all of your awesome future posts!