Larry Bird: Do Something...Or Leave

Written by Chad Smith

This was originally posted on January 20th, but it still fits for where they’re at now.

Another night in the NBA, and another loss for the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers are at .500 in their last 10 games, but find themselves in 26th place in the NBA standings at the halfway point of the season.

Everyone realizes that the Pacers have been in a rebuilding mode ever since Ron Artest and company decided to go postal on Detroit fans.

Despite Danny Granger’s success over the last few seasons, there is no Reggie Miller on this team, and he is not coming back. Larry Bird didn’t coach the Pacers for long, and now that he is officially running things without Donnie Walsh in the picture, some think he is doing a good job.

The Pacers seem to find themselves in the same position at the end of every season.

They are bad enough to not make the playoffs, but nowhere near bad enough to get a top three lottery pick in the draft. Stuck in the middle, this is a problem.

The Pacers have done okay in recent drafts. Grabbing Danny Granger was obviously their best one, and it looks like Roy Hibbert has some potential. The problem is they have missed more than they have hit.

Brandon Rush showed signs of promise towards the end of last season, but without those 20 games or so, he has been a bust. Tyler Hansbrough, who wasn’t a popular pick here in Indianapolis on draft night, seems to always be injured and can’t provide valuable minutes.

The real miss the Pacers had in the draft was when they drafted Jared Bayless, but traded him away to Portland in the Rush deal.

Okay, so the draft thing hasn’t been working out, so now what?

Well, most franchises would go out and sign a big free agent or make a trade or two to put them in a better position. Now, I appreciate the hard work and dedication Dahntay Jones has showed this season, but when he is the “big free agent” that you landed in the offseason, you aren’t improving much.

Obviously the main focus for this team is defense. They seem to have plenty of people that can score, but they can’t score more than 120 points almost every night, which is what they always seem to be giving up.

Despite the horrible start for the Pacers this season, Larry has said that coach Jim O’Brien will keep his job, and anyone that has a problem with that, can leave.

Well, hopefully some players have a problem with it, like I do.

Larry, if you are drafting the players for this team, then obviously the problem lies within the coaching right? If it doesn’t, then you need to get better players in here to coach; it’s that simple.

The fact that the Pacers are doing so horribly in virtually every aspect of the game is bad enough, but when Bird fails even to take notice, or do something about it, that frustrates me even more.

If he were to just come out and say that they are going to tank the rest of the season for a high draft pick, then fire Jim in the offseason and bring in a new coach, I would be more satisfied with that than him just pretending everything is fine and it’s going to change overnight.

I give the players credit for not letting the frustration of this franchise get to them, and I hope for some, such as Foster and Murphy, that they are able to move on after their stay here and get with a winning program.

The Pacers actually have a couple of trade bait players, like Murphy and possibly Dunleavy. They have already turned down a few offers for Granger, so let’s hope he is actually the franchise player everyone thinks he is.

There is nothing more I would like to see than Larry come back down and coach this team. If he is picking these players based on his eye, then who better to coach them and turn things around?

I am just getting tired of seeing Larry sit back in his chair, and watch the games with no emotional expression on his face at all during the game.

Whether it be a trade before the trade deadline this year, or tanking the rest of the season to improve their draft position, something different needs to be done. This routine of finishing ninth or 10th in the East every year and getting the 13th or 14th pick in the draft is probably the worst position to be in.

With the competitive spirit and drive that he is known for, you would think Larry would be motivated to do something to turn this franchise around.

If he isn’t going to do that, it’s time for him to go.

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