Larry Bird is telling Pacers fans to stick with Indy though with them struggling. Indiana now stands at 18-34. Bird says the team will go heavy into the offseason after their freeing of cap space.
“We knew that we had to clean it out and rebuild it, and we knew we were going to go through some tough times,” Bird told The Associated Press this week. “Nobody likes to lose, and everybody wants to be a part of a winner. We think we’re on the right track to get there.”
The Pacers are under Jim O’Brien, who has not yet led the Pacers to the playoffs since he came to Indiana. He has been 36-46 in his last two seasons. The Pacers haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, under Rick Carlisle.
“The one thing Jimmy bought into when he came here was that we were going to rebuild, and we were going to struggle at times,” Bird said. “I always say the losses are on me because I want him to work these guys hard, develop the young guys we have and keep moving forward with what we have.”
The Pacers have also struggled with injuries like Jeff Foster, Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, and Mike Dunleavy.
“Even if we were healthy all year, I thought we could win 36 to 41 games with this team,” he said. “In a rebuilding phase, which I think we’re on track with, we’ll just have to go forward with it.”
Bird also thinks the Pacers could play better, he tells AP:
“The one thing about this team is that we stand too much and we settle way too much for the outside shot. If we get to the hole and put the pressure on the defense, we’re a lot better. When we stand and just take outside shots, we have a tendency to struggle.”
The Pacers are looking to give it all they got after All-Star break. Entering the second-half, they’ve seen improvements from Brandon Rush and T.J. Ford. A.J. Price has been impressive and with Granger back, there is like a 2% chance of reaching the playoffs.
“Jimmy’s done an excellent job of doing the things I want him to do,” Bird said. “It won’t show in wins and losses, but it will show in the long run.”
I think Indy will keep O’Brien for one more year in 2010. If he fails to reach the playoffs, it’s over. Get him out of here. With the news going on with Rick Pitino of not coaching the Nets and saying “he will never coach professionally again,” I don’t believe it. Come on, it’s the Nets!
So if O’Brien leaves, the Pacers can look at him. How about Avery Johnson? I wouldn’t mind seeing that guy coming in to coach. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. Let’s just hope for the best right now at the end of the season. Looking to get some tickets and have fun.
Also, stay tuned on March 21st as I might interview Kevin Durant when the Thunder face off against Indiana. The interview will be posted on Durantulas.com, my Thunder blog me and my friend made up (he’s a Thunder fan). I might interview a Pacers player if I get some time, and a chance. It looks to be fun.
Pacers fans, hang in there. I am sensing something good in the next couple of years for this team.