Pacers Issues

[From the FanPosts: I asked for some potential solutions to the Pacers problems and JP knocked it out of the park including some supporting evidence for his coaching options. My quibble with the trade option is that I think the Knicks like Gallinari too much to make that deal. He seems to be a great fit with D'Antoni in the Garden.]

The Pacers have recently been left to scratch their heads. When a team and more importantly an organization is scratching their head its even worse for the fans. The Pacers (9-20) have lost six in a row overall and five straight on the road heading into Tuesday's game with the Bulls in Chicago. It looked like at first during a recent road trip, head coach Jim O’Brien might have stuck gold making the switch of guards Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones to the starting line-up. It worked very well for a couple of games but recently, the starting lineup has been outscored 160-61 in the last two and 471-280 in the six-game losing streak. Then bench gained dominate fire-power over the same stretch that had guard T.J. Ford and Luther Head showing more impressive showings off the bench. But for a team that has lots of young talent and is very deep, the Pacers have began to settle for mediocrity.

Solutions after the jump.

O’Brien is a career 49% winning coach and has yet to make major noise in the playoffs with the exception of his 2001-2002 run with the Boston Celtics, which wasn’t great going 9-7 in the post-season. Larry Bird took a chance on him. So far it hasn’t panned out. O’Brien went 36-46 in back to back seasons in his first two seasons at the Pacers helm. Despite that there was a show of potential. Which was why O’Brien’s 3rd year option was exercised, a completely understandable move by Bird. But now, at 9-20, the Pacers are on pace for an estimated 25-57. In the NBA you have one option has a coach on how to control your players and that is playing time. It is coveted. If some starters aren’t performing to their potential and aren’t giving it their all, put someone in there that will. But JOB doesn’t like sending messages which in his mind is what that would be. But yet he moved Ford to the reserve role and he has performed superbly off the bench. With Coaches like Byron Scott on the market (who by the way knows how to run an up-tempo offense i.e. when he was with the Nets, that was supposed to be what the Pacers ran when JOB came in). Or how about Avery Johnson who took Dallas and had a 73% winning percentage with the Mavs in 4 years! He would be an excellent mentor to Ford and future point guard AJ Price. I think Austin Croshere or Reggie Miller would be fine selections at this point.

Many fans have been calling for Bird to be fired as well. But I disagree with this sentiment. The major moves that he has done like getting rid of former players to rebuild and freeing up cap space for 2011, not to mention he got rid of all the "Bad Boy" Pacers of the early decade. No one was critiquing Brandon Rush last year when he scored 29 points twice in back to back games or when average 18.5 points in the final 10 games. He has potential and yes he has garnered minutes this season but maybe the reason he hasn’t performed up to par is because of Jim O’Brien and his role to Rush in the offense. Mayhap JOB doesn’t like Rush moving on offense like Dunleavy does. The other major problem I have with O’Brien is this; yes injuries happen, but it seemed like he has forced Dunleavy to hard to fast. During the recent Bucks game it seemed like Dunleavy was forcing to much, not to mention he is on a major cold streak shooting wise. He doesn’t have his leg strength back yet following the surgery, but yet he is starting in the line-up. Also Dunleavy is still on a minute cap and Jim O’Brien that has pushed that over the max to much this season. The Pacers have the 7th youngest experienced team in the NBA and have a pool of talent on the bench to develop. So far Jim O’Brien hasn’t been the one to develop them. Has far as the off-season acquisitions go, Bird picked up Dahntay Jones whose production is up this season more than any of his other seasons, Earl Watson is right on par with his career averages, Solomon Jones is having a career year in limited game time, and Luther Head is coming on strong has of late. All of these moves added talent that have shown potential. Injuries have plagued this team and slowed down the development of where this team is capable of being in the standings.

Bottom line is if a move must be made has people seem to be demanding look at this trade:

Knicks get:

TJ Ford, Anthony Randolph, and Corey Maggette

Pacers get:

Nate Robinson, and Danilo Gallinari

Warriors get:

Solomon Jones, Eddy Curry

It fits within the cap giving us a salary cap of 57.70 million, and a hard cap room of 31.59. Leaving us room to possibly get a coveted free agent in the off-season to accompany Granger. We get Robinson who needs a change of season and has a desire to prove himself and a 3 point marksman in Gallinari who can help spread the floor even more with Murphy and Granger. We also keep our core young talent intact.