HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’re talking about active players that have been in the NBA the longest without so much as sniffing the playoffs, leave Mike Dunleavy out of it.
He’s free now.
The Pacers forward will make his playoff debut Saturday when he and his teammates travel to Chicago for Game 1 of their first round series against the Bulls. It’s going to be a glorious day for Dunleavy, whose playoff drought lasted a staggering nine years. More from my main man Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:
After nine years, 627 regular-season games and a major knee operation, Dunleavy will make his playoff debut when he comes off the bench in Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at United Center.
“It felt like a long time in some regards, but in some ways it’s gone fast,” said Dunleavy, who trailed only former Pacer Troy Murphy for most games without reaching the postseason. “Realistically, looking back, I don’t feel like I’ve been on a playoff team.”
Dunleavy came to a playoff-rich franchise when he arrived in Indiana in January 2007. The Pacers had been to the playoffs in 16 of the previous 17 seasons before Dunleavy joined them.
But Dunleavy has been part of a rebuilding project that is on its third coach. Dunleavy said the Pacers would have made the playoffs in the 2007-08 season if he had not been limited to 18 games by a major knee problem.
“They changed course, putting more of an emphasis on character above talent,” Dunleavy said about going through the rebuilding phase. “I was ready for what would happen. How I look at it is, I still made it as a Pacer and I’m not sure what will happen next year or where I’ll be, but this is a big accomplishment.”
Welcome to the playoff sir. You are free now!