Pacers Just Getting Started?

***

Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Don’t bother trying to dissect that four-team, five-player deal that sent players in every direction and has executives from all four teams smiling and claiming victory.

(Besides my main man David Aldridge of TNT already broke it down for you.)

All you need to know is that the Pacers were the big winner of the day, though we love Trevor Ariza alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans and Courtney Lee in Rick Adelman‘s system in Houston could produce major fireworks for Rockets fans.

Whenever one of these multi-team, multi-player trades go down people start gushing about cap space gained or luxury tax thresholds avoided, but none of those (very important) things can … A) run a team, B) make a shot, or C) grab a rebound.

The Pacers snagged the best tangible piece of the deal in Darren Collison, a franchise (I didn’t say All-Star, yet, just franchise for now) point guard that would have been the first point guard taken in the June draft had he spent five years at UCLA instead of four.

It’s been a while since the Pacers had a player with this kind of talent, stability and clear-cut leadership potential at that position — someone suggested this morning that Mark Jackson was the last point guard to wear a Pacers uniform with the complete package of skills and make-up that Collison brings.

Pacers boss Larry Bird certainly seems pleased.

“We liked him coming out of college. I didn’t think he’d have the year he did last year,” Bird said (check for more of his thoughts in the video above). “He’s solid. He likes to defend. We know he can shoot the ball. He did a great job in college of putting the ball in the hole. We think he’s a complete player. He’s a young point guard to go with the rest of the core group we have, and we’ll just keep building on it.”

The locals seem pleased with the move as well, not to mention what could come next. Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star heralded the move as a “great deal” for the beleaguered franchise:

What’s not to love?

They get their point guard. They get a veteran with a defensive mind-set. And they rid themselves of a lousy contract — although, it should be said that Murphy was relentlessly productive here.

This is what the Pacers were planning for when they embarked on their long-term rebuilding plan. They knew they couldn’t count on hitting some kind of free agent bonanza next summer, not with the dearth of big names out there — and good luck getting Carmelo Anthony to Indiana. But they knew their increasingly favorable financial status would put them in a position to steal players from teams desperate to get under the luxury-tax threshold.

Like the New Orleans Hornets.

And this is just the beginning of the wheeling and dealing.

The Pacers still figure to go into the season with several players in the final year of their deals — Mike Dunleavy ($10,561,984), T.J. Ford ($8.5 million) and Jeff Foster ($6.655 million), and Jamaal Tinsley‘s $5.5 million will come off the books. They can trade them now, trade them near the trading deadline or hold onto them and watch their dollars come off the payroll at season’s end.

It’s been so long since the Pacers were a factor in the Eastern Conference playoff chase that one current NBA player laughed Wednesday night when we tried to explain to him that they were a power on par with the Utah Jazz, in terms of consistent playoff appearances, as recently as five years ago.

I know it sounds crazy to anyone with long-term memory issues, but there was a time (before LeBron James showed up in Cleveland and before the Detroit Pistons seized control of the East for half a decade) that the Pacers were considered a model franchise.

They had a blend of veterans and quality young talent, a stable front office and marquee value around the league.

Then the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills happened (in 2004). The Pacers long road to recovery has been going on ever since, but we must admit that the road got a lot smoother with the addition of Collison.

He’s the first young, franchise-pillar they’ve added since they lucked into All-Star swingman Danny Granger with the 17th pick in the 2005 draft (courtesy of the miscalculations of a dozen teams that drafted ahead of them).

So if the Pacers are indeed just getting started with Granger and Collison as their main cogs, we like where this is going.

***

28 Comments

  1. JJG says:

    I believe the pacers could make it to the playoffs. They will be probably at 7th or 8th seed as long as the players are healthy. They just need to be consistent on their outside shooting especially the three ball. If they are shooting well, they are very hard to beat and they could even beat the Celtics on a regular season game.

  2. kobron says:

    Pacers finally made a nice move.

  3. Shelby says:

    This team will not make the playoffs, contend for a playoff spot, or even have a close to winning record, it should be pretty easy to determine that,lol…If you could get into the playoffs with potential, this team still wouldn’t,lol, just not enough there, unless bird comes back then they have a shot…

    • Nick Hawn says:

      Shelby,

      I want you to explain to me how the Pacers who barley missed the the playoffs and barley missed out on a winning record are going to worse now then they did. Danny missed 20 games last year and another 20 where he wasnt 100% the Pacers won without Troy Murphy in the line up and they have a point gaurd now. I think you just want to get fans all wound up. That or you know nothing about basketball. If you have such a gauranteed statement. Back it up with facts.

  4. ME says:

    What most people here doubting the pacers playoff chances are missing is the fact that everything they claim they DON’T have, they do indeed have, and lots of it. Defensive role players .. dahntay jones, brandon rush(look up his defensive numbers last year … %-wise he was a top 5 defender, there was actually an article written about it somewhere but i don’t feel like looking for it) and they also got james posey in this trade. Players to defend the premier PFs, jeff foster is expected back healthy and he has always been a great post defender even with his age and injuries, throw in mcroberts athletic ability and size he can also cause problems if he focuses, and much the same if they’re able to make room to sign magnum rolle. And when it comes to the 3 point shooters … are you serious? That is the strongest part of their roster, Granger, Rush, AJ Price, Collison, Paul George, and Mike Dunleavy are all great shooters, even James Posey, Josh McRoberts and Lance Stephenson can shoot threes. So if having a defensive role player, defensive power foward, and 3pt shooters are your only criteria for a playoff team, then you’ve pretty much solidified them a playoff spot.

  5. Come On says:

    Ok, I’m a Pacers fan, but I’ll be honest, the Pacers may still not make the playoffs but I think they may now legitimately be able to contend for the 7th or 8th seed, they may get swept in the series even but they aren’t one of the worst teams, they were the 10th worst team last year, which means there were still 9 teams that did worse than they did and last year was their worst year so now with the addition of Collison and Posey they can really only go up from here. For those who say they don’t have the other pieces, heres some news for you, they have several young power forwards, on the top of that list is Tyler Hansbrough who was injured most of last season but when he did play he was productive and the Pacers were actually winning, also in the case of a 3 point shooter, has everyone forgot that Danny Granger was a contestant in the 3 point contest last year? And finally they have two very good defensive role players in James Posey and Dahntay Jones who actually showed a lot of surprising talent on the offensive end last year as well. I’m not saying they’re gonna win a championship next year, but you have to believe they will be better than they have been in quite a few years.

  6. JGFQ says:

    Number 5-6??? You gotta be kidding me. Where is the defensive role player? A decent power forward to fight Bosh, Boozer, J-Smooth, even Garnett? A three point shooter?? Indiana is lacking many important pieces yet even to make it to the playoffs (Boston, Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta…) Pacers have to beat Charlotte, Milwaukee,.. . I agree Collison can be a nice pick, but Indiana needs an identity yet. Best wishes for the Pacers and fight for playoff spot!!!

  7. Branden Box says:

    I dont know what that Roert Zendon guy is saying, if Collison wasnt any good he would have not put up those kind of numbers, he is gonna shine with the Pacers, they have the best young group of talen you can ask for. He’s going to make everyone around him better, I see the pacers in the Playoffs with this move as a possible 5 or 6 seed, So look out , the Pacers are coming back, good job Larry Legendary.

    • Calm down buddy they’re not that good….they’re definitely not makin da playoffs this year.

      • Nick Hawn says:

        Da Kid,

        The Pacers missed the playoffs by 4 games last year. So lets see what different this year. Danny with Olympic experience, Roy Hibbert went to Bill Waltons center camp, played some International ball and he has gotten into better shape, Brandon Rush is looking better(not hard), Mike Dunleavy is healthy(not last year), Tyler Hansbrough getting healthy, and the 3 rookies well they look really really good. So to recap: They got better and barley missed the playoffs and the only teams that improved in the east were Chicago, Knicks, and the Heat. Two of the team made the playoffs so they dont count…WAIT! STOP THE PRESSES! THE PACERS ALSO GOT A POINT GAURD!!!! Yea. Put the hateorade back in the cabinet and use your brain. The Pacer might not be the #6 seed but they make the playoffs for sure.

  8. DC says:

    Pacers win,Hornets lose..Collison was putting up Chris Paul numbers while Chris was injured.silly move for New Orleans..

  9. think says:

    This Indiana team was so good before “the brawl” that they cn contend for the Eastern Finals that year (the only threat to Detroit at that time)…

    Moving on, Granger is an Allstar, but I think he doesnt have it to carry a team on his shoulders. Having a nucleus of a playmaker, a scorer and a big man is definitely good for any team. Although Indiana still lacks that identity in them. Hopefully they’ll bring in “blue-collar” vets that are tough (kinda miss that Artest, O’neal, Jackson tough guys back then, and also the Davises during Reggie’s time). I think Ford is a tradeable piece since some teams might need backup PGs. They could still play Dunleavy and Foster and hopefully they’ll get better this year (especially Dunleavy) to become baits at the trade deadline. Keep the Tinsley contract for future use (in case Collison fits Indiana well for extension).

  10. JTreke says:

    NOH makes a BIGTIME mistake of not trading CP3 intead of Collison.

    • awill14 says:

      I totally agree with u CP3 is obviously not happy whether he said he was ok now with the teams direction by wat the owner said or whatever but collison proved he could play in the league and he will be a great PG. CP3 is likely to leave in 2yrs wen his contract is up neways then whos gonna take his place?

      • think says:

        a DECISION II? lol

      • tingyman says:

        agreed, collision would have been a better piece to build upon than chris paul. im beginning to see the signs in chris paul that i saw in lebron james a few years ago. not to mention that lebron is close friends with paul.

      • Josh says:

        I agree they could have got more for Chris then Collison. They could lose both and have nothing. I am a Laker fan i love Ariza but he is a great defensive player and that is it a good role player nothing more then that should have never lef the Lakers look at him now bouncing around team to team again could be a world champion going for three took that instead. To bad for him and Laker fans,

  11. Sekou Smith Jr. says:

    Sorry but Darren Collison would not have been taken as the first point guard last June if he stayed at UCLA for 5 years. There is a man by the name of John Wall who also plays at the point guard position who would easily been selected ahead of Collison.

    • Nick Hawn says:

      Not to be a John Wall hater because I think he will be very good…Down the raod. He averaged a near triple double in summer league. That triple double being points, assist, and TURNOVERS. A point gaurds job is to faciltate the basketball to control the tempo of the games and for the ball to be where he wants it. Unless John likes the ball in the other teams hands I’d be weary of starting him. Lucky for the Wizards they have the most underated point guards in the league(not best-just underated) Kirk Hienrich. He should help John be the player he is cabable of being.

  12. lakerfan since 19 O' Long says:

    WHOO? This guy Mr. Collison should use this season to showcase his ability as a go-to-guy on offense if he wishes to cement himself as an up-in-coming Allstar. There was nearly no mention of him hardly last season, but he can give them something to talk about this season if his game is at that level.

  13. robert zenon says:

    Ok Ok I like my boy Collison too, I’m a big UCLA fan, but come on, no body was high up on this guy until he played ball in replacement of Paul. Now he is the darling of the NBA up and coming guards. I seen him play at UCLA and watched him back up and play with a few great players at UCLA and I was surprised at how well he played in his first season in the NBA. The Hornets looked pretty good with him at the helm. Dang I wished he could have went to the Lakers, LOL, now he is going to languish in obsecurity with the Pacers, shoot!
    But don’t you guys start yappin about how great he is, no body was on his Jock during last years draft.

    • JD says:

      Get over yourself.Just because it isn’t LA doesn’t make it obscurity.

      • tingyman says:

        the pacers are one of the least recognized teams in the nba, people know more about the nets, clippers, grizzlies, and the timberwolves than the pacers.

        just saying

    • Zach says:

      That is the most retarded thing I have ever heard. Just because the Pacers have had a string of poor seasons, does not mean they can’t rebuild and contend for a title, which is exactly what they are doing. Hibbert is going to explode this year…Granger is an All Star..Collison will be better than CP3…and the Pacers will have more than enough cap room at the end of this season to full in the rest. The Pacers will be championship contenders the entire decade (starting 2011). Don’t forget where basketball originated baby!!! THE HOOSIER STATE!!

    • English Ball Player says:

      So we can’t comment about how we seen this guy explode onto the NBA scene i don’t think many coaches had him. I think i would of picked him over jonny flynn going off the games collison put up nearer the latter stages of the season

    • Nick Hawn says:

      I am a huge Pacer fan and I was shocked on the players the Pacers passed up in the drafts. That includes Darren. Bird is always saying he likes to draft the 3 and 4 year players because they are more ready to play…..He is a fail. He didnt get the trade to work the Hornets wanted to prove to Paul it was still his team. We were just lucky to be there when they wanted to prove it. Bird did openly say he did not think Darren was that good going into the draft and he also admitted to being wrong. So he is growing. Hopefully he brings in a decent power foward to play some D and catch some of D’s under the basket dishes!

      • Nick Hawn says:

        Darren was splitting time with Paul and the ball wasnt running through him anymore. You cant just look at boc scores. Paul was scared for his starting job. That why he wanted to be traded.

  14. English Ball Player says:

    Indiana should definitly trade those 4 guys and see if they can get some good younger talent in to grow with collison, they need an ariza type of sf and a shooter to copliment his drive and dish sort of game, and as you seen in the clips he gets emeka the ball under the rim so lets see if hibbert can finish around the rim with that kind of authority