The Pacers key players have been exposed for what they really are.
It took firing Jim O’Brien to confirm what many of us had already suspected. You can’t build a good team around Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert. You can’t expect other players to reach their potential if Granger and Hibbert are your cornerstones.
It’s bad enough that these guys are not leaders, but it’s more concerning that they are not mentally tough enough to help pull this team out of a funk.
There’s a reason for this. If the Pacers were a good team, what option would Granger be? If you were generous you would say number three, but the reality is more like number four. Same question for Hibbert. He’s the fifth option on a good team.
That’s a big problem. However, all hope is not lost.
The Pacers are finally staring at financial freedom at the end of this season, with lots of cap room to remake the team. They also have young assets in Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough and Darren Collison that could be part of a better future. Or they could trade some of those players packaged with Granger or Hibbert to get better pieces. The good news is that the Pacers do have players that can be traded for a reasonable return.
The collective bargaining agreement needs to get done. Larry Bird’s future needs to be decided. This team must move forward. This may be the most important offseason since the Pacers were holding a telethon to fight for survival in their early NBA days.
Tough decisions will have to be made. Mistakes will need to be kept to the bare minimum. It’s exciting. It’s frightening. It’s going to determine whether the Pacers will be relevant over the next five years.
And, if that’s too much to worry about we can get all get excited about snagging the eighth seed in the East with 33 wins.