(Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

The Pacers Suck and Keep Talking About Each Other to the Press

It’s been a long time now since the Pacers were any good. They gutted out a gritty victory over the Heat last Wednesday and many hoped that this would be the big win that snapped them out of their trance. But after more listless play and impotent offense in back-to-back losses to the Wizards and Cavaliers this weekend, the promise offered by beating Miami seems a distant memory.

No, the Pacers don’t appear to be uniting behind a win over their biggest rivalries.

They appear to be further splintering, instead throwing jabs at each other while answering reporters’ questions rather than bolstering the once-lauded chemistry that glued this team together into something better than the sum of its parts.

Roy Hibbert pulled no punches after the loss in Washington on Friday, according to a report by NBA.com’s David Aldridge.

“Some selfish dudes in here,” Roy Hibbert muttered Friday night, after getting eight shots in the Pacers’ loss to the Wizards. “Some selfish dudes. I’m tired of talking about it. We’ve been talking about it for a month.”

Hibbert also said this.

“I was letting the lack of touches on offense really affect my defense,” he said. “So I came to the conclusion, I said, if I [only] get one or two shots a game, I’m just going to get back on track for Defensive Player of the Year … and not worry about offense, let Paul and Lance and David take over the helm in terms of scoring.”

So, other guys are being selfish so let me get back on track to win an individual award.

I’m being a bit of a jerk in highlighting that sentiment. I think Roy mainly means, since he can’t pass himself the ball, he’ll just focus on what he can control. But we also have a guy here saying essentially “I was doing a lot of pouting before and not doing my real job because I didn’t like how my teammates were playing.” Also of note is the fact that he hasn’t used his lack of touches as motivation to attack the glass and become a contributor that way. Mainly, all this just speaks to the overall lack of accountability the players on this team have been spouting for months now.

This is essentially Roy reiterating what he said less than two weeks ago about his teammates. Then, he singled out Paul George and David West by name as players who could freelance and do what they want on offense. So his frustration seemed to be directed pointedly at Lance Stephenson. Now, it feels like he thinks everyone who isn’t him is doing stuff wrong.

It should be noted that West seems to agree with Hibbert about the lack of ball sharing from the team’s perimeter players.

West offered this in the Aldridge report.

“I just don’t know if we’re handling success and being out front the right way,” West said. “When we don’t share the ball, we have 10, 15 possessions [each game] where we don’t make a single pass, and you’ve got four guys, or nine guys on the floor watching one guy, watching two guys, it’s on us…we’ve had that same sort of conversation over the last month and a half or so. We just haven’t been able to apply that on the basketball court, particularly on the road.”

Paul George offered an interesting comment of his own after the loss in D.C.

Dug up by Kevin Zimmerman of SB Nation, George had this to say in a CSN Washington video.

“Gortat is probably defensive player of the year. You couldn’t get nothing. He was just excellent at the rim.”

Again,we don’t want to overreact to a offhanded mention of an award. But two months ago, there is no way Paul George would mention anyone but his boy Roy as a contender for this award. Now, he was quick to throw Marcin Gortat’s name into the mix as someone who has been a better defender this year than the Pacers’ center. Which is interesting.

Also interesting: Paul George looks at his 6-for-22 shooting performance and wants to praise the opponents’ defense more than take himself to task for being a professional basketball player who missed 16 shots in a game.

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that PG might have been being sarcastic here. If you watch the video on the Washington Comcast site, that seems altogether possible. He adds, that Gortat “was just excellent at the rim — for whatever reason.” After re-listening, this actually does sound more like a guy who is complaining about getting fouled then singling out Gortat’s great defense. Then again, that only makes this a guy who shot 1-for-5 from 3-point range and committed 5 turnovers criticizing officials rather than putting the burden on himself.

Where is the accountability? Where are the guys saying “I need to play better?”

Right now, this team is a wreck and we have players looking to other players as the reason.

Perhaps instead of picking up Andrew Bynum or trading for Evan Turner, Larry Bird should have just acquired a mirror. Because unless individuals start looking at themselves as part of the problem, I can’t see this team fixing its problems.

Tags: David West Indiana Pacers Paul George Roy Hibbert

  • Michael Overbeck

    Locker room talk bleeding to the public media: First major signs of this group falling apart. I’ve been a fan for most of my life and I’ve got to say that I’ve never been more frustrated with the Pacers than I am now. This isn’t a “blue collar, gold swagger” group anymore.

    Can we just experience another brawl? That would ease the pain.

    • Earl Malmsteen

      jeeez. I think the big guys are just speaking the truth. It’s stupid to expect a team that should win 60 games and be a contender to not be upset when they’re playing awful, so I don’t think there’s anything they could say to make people happy. The fact they’re pissed just means they have a pulse. I’m glad Roy is saying something, and even though I wish he weren’t shooting 40% while doing it, he’s still got to be a leader on the team.

      This is the biggest test of Vogel’s career and I hope he can get them to work through it. I think the problem has a lot to do with the offense evolving slowly into being a little more perimeter-focused based on PG’s blazing hot start to the year. Over the course of the year that has not proven sustainable and the ball movement is clearly way down. If they move the ball better and play inside out more than so much PnR, I still have hope that they can pull it together. It seemed to me that the Miami game brought out the good ball movement and team oriented play that they’re successful with. But it sure would be nice to see that the rest of the regular season.

      The #1 seed would be nice, but I think anyone who watches this team knows if they’re playing well, they can beat Miami in a series and if they’re playing like they are now, they’ll be lucky to win one game.

      • Special K

        I think that the point was that they should be pissed at themselves instead of everyone but themselves. That includes Vogel. This team has been spiraling for weeks, and Vogel has either done nothing, or what he’s doing isn’t worth it. Let’s not forget this team was all buddy-buddy, brotherly love early in the season. Either way all the projecting and all the slow starts and miserable finishes prove one thing – this team is mentally and emotionally weak. They can have all the physical toughness they want, but they are dealing with adversity like children.

  • llcoolray3000

    What caused this to happen? From the opener through most of January, this team was a well-oiled machine. Maybe the offense wasn’t pretty (turnovers, crappy shooting), but they played together, and the defense was always on point. Then they just started playing awful basketball, settling-for-jumpers, and playing uninspired defense. What was the trigger? Is Bird going to have to pull a Pat Riley and put himself on the bench to get these knuckleheads to start playing up to their potential rather than squander the best chance at a championship this team has had since 2004?

  • Joe Betz

    So, C.J. Watson is someone who the Pacers desperately need back…who would have thought that would be the case? Big Question: When the Pacers lose the #1 seed in the playoffs (which they just did), does that motivate them, or does it push them further into “I didn’t get my touches” mode?