Indiana Pacers: Herb Simon and the clunky art of the golden mean

Indiana Pacers, Herb Simon - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers, Herb Simon - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

With a poignant season under their belt so far, the Indiana Pacers seemed on the verge of realizing that what they currently have in store is simply not enough to be a viable contender in the league. Following a turmoil of news about the franchise’s intent to make some grand changes to the roster, one key figure has already crashed the party—sending the team back to its mundane footing.

Herb Simon, the NBA’s longest-tenured owner, recently dished on the current state of the Pacers. Despite earlier reports of the franchise becoming more congenial to a rebuild, he immediately shut down those rumors by, well, harping a similar tune—that the team is neither retooling or rebuilding, instead heaping praises on what he calls “a hell of a team” assembled by the front office.

Well, that’s just the culture embedded in the soils of Indiana basketball. Putrid record and lack of postseason success be damned, the Pacers’ ownership, which effectively steers the wheel for the entire engine, has been utterly disconnected from the reality—that the franchise badly needs to move with more conviction, and be more grandiose regardless of direction.

The Indiana Pacers engine, led by owner Herb Simon, is lagging behind the times

Herb Simon can deflect all talks about the Indiana Pacers’ conservativity as much as he wants, but settling with something that is clearly not working, under the guise that they can “build on the go”, is a tribute to mediocrity.

With the Pacers’ time-honored brand of continuity now tripping them, do not be surprised if Domantas Sabonis is not the last player to express his intention to walk away from the franchise. Surely, talented players will not be willing to commit to a fangless program, where the luxury tax is deemed as the lastest of last resorts, and trades only happen when the push comes to shove.

How long the ownership will be content with being just another team seems like a question with an automated answer—as long as they’re there. If another losing season doesn’t prompt a striking change to the franchise’s direction, or at least to the roster, under their enveloped influence, then we could be in for another long stretch of being an average team with average goals.

The golden mean is a blueprint of everything that’s ideal in the tangible world, but in basketball, it has represented one of the stalest analogies in recent history—that is, the Blue and Gold and their seeming infatuation with, well, being average.

And pointing fingers is not that difficult.

Next. One blockbuster trade to give the Pacers a new centerpiece. dark