Blogtable: How to fix the Pacers

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Buying into the Spurs | Fixing Indiana | West 5-6-7-8

VIDEO: Sam Mitchell examines the recent freefall of the Indiana Pacers

> You’re Frank Vogel. Your Pacers are crumbling, inside the locker room and on the court. It’s time for some bold, major moves. Isn’t it? Got any?

Steve Aschburner, Look, it’s probably too late for clever coaching tricks: a lineup shake-up, a mini-boot camp where there are 2-3 loose days in the schedule or even the counter-programming and pressure release of taking the team to Vegas for a night. Frank Vogel has fiddled with his rotation to no real result. At this point, all that comes to my mind is going all-in on inside-out play, demanding that the offense find Roy Hibbert and David West down low, pounding the ball down low and cutting the temptation for hero ball from Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Keep the wings and guards moving and cutting — Indiana has been standing around an awful lot lately. Get C.J. Watson back, because his outside shooting is a scarce commodity with this club. Oh, and if Andrew Bynum can get with the program and stay available, great. If not, bye-bye.

Fran Blinebury, Major moves?  Like a UFO from Darryl Dawkins’ home planet of Lovetron landing in an Indiana cornfield and delivering a young Reggie Miller or Larry Bird?  Other than swinging a big club in the locker room, Frank Vogel’s only play is to calm things down, go back to basics and remind his team that they were good enough to build the league’s best record for most of the season.  Teams are always telling us that the regular season means nothing once the playoffs start.  Now the Pacers get to hit the reset button and walk that walk.  Maybe a team viewing of highlights of the 1995 Rockets (No. 6 seed) would help.

Jeff Caplan, All that’s left is for Frank Vogel to confront his team, demand they look each other in the eyes and ask them how they want to be remembered. Do they want to go down as one of the biggest collapse jobs ever, or as fighters? We can go through a litany of on-court issues, particularly on the offensive end, but this is now all about the players playing for one another and figuring out how to get their mojo back. If not, it’s lights out — maybe even in the first round.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Yes, it is time for something bold. No, I don’t have any. This is about attitude and approach, so Vogel needs to manage personalities. Seven games to go before the playoffs isn’t the time to make drastic changes to the offense that is grinding gears or to the lineup. The rotation has worked for much of the season, so it can work again. But Vogel has to be an assertive leader to ensure the locker room gets back to a good place. He can’t let this fracture more.

John Schuhmann, “This was the best team in the league for four months with a defense that was able to stop the most potent offenses. They could certainly find their footing and get back to that level.” – John Schuhmann, March 26, 2014. Yeah, they stink right now, but April 2 isn’t the time to be making changes. The Pacers will never be a great offensive team, but they have a system that works well enough when guys are playing well and playing together. I don’t know if they’ll get there in time to make it out of the second round, but it’s more likely to happen if they stick to their identity rather than try to recreate it.

Lang Whitaker, All Ball Blog: Actually, I think it’s time for the opposite. The Pacers have gotten to where they are by mostly being deliberate. They’ve had this core intact for years, including coach Vogel, as the team organically developed into Conference contenders. This season, actually, has probably had more upheaval than any recent season, between signing Andrew Bynum and trading Danny Granger for Evan Turner. To me the last thing they need is something else to shake things up. I say they trust the infrastructure they have in place and let the new guys embrace their roles the last few weeks of the season. In many ways they seemed to treat this season like a sprint instead of a marathon, and perhaps they can use a few weeks “off” before the playoffs get started.

XiBin Yang, NBA China: First, I’d break the so-called privilege of a superstar. Maybe George could become a genuine superstar someday, but he has not reached that level yet. You could give him a chance to make it happen now, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get there…yet. He’s had a fantastic year, by and large, but he has not been ready to confront everything, which a superstar has to go through, such as how to deal with a double- or triple-team for a whole night, and get to the basket all by himself, or make clutch shots whenever the team needs. The Pacers were established by all kinds solid role players. Before George confirms to everyone that he is the guy that the front office of the Pacers wants him to be, he still ought to play team-first basketball. To break the spell, everybody needs to know his role and play within his role, just as the Spurs do.

Philipp Dornhegge, NBA Deutschland: At this point, I think you have to roll with what you’ve got. You can just cross your fingers and hope that the guys will return to form come playoff time. You could, of course, think about taking Lance Stephenson out of the first unit, but I don’t really believe that it would resonate very well with him. And the Pacers need him. I think you can trust the guys that if the going gets tough in the first round against the Bobcats, guys will step up, overcome adversity and take some momentum into the next round(s). You have to.

Iñako Díaz-Guerra, NBA España: To me, a bold move was the beginning of their fall: the Evan Turner trade. I believe that this isn’t something that Vogel can fix, it’s a locker room issue. Perhaps the leadership of Danny Granger was more important than they thought and now they need one of their younger players to take control of the team. Is Paul George ready for it? Hibbert, perhaps? They need a new leader and the only thing that Vogel can do is wait and pray for it.


  1. Soul Man says:

    Indiana will be fine once the playoffs begin. That’s what will count. Forget the rest, Miami doesn’t want to face the Pacers
    come Eastern conference. That’s where the Pacers will overcome and win in the end.

  2. IKE (Bulls Fan) says:

    the pacers are going to play OKC in the finals… the pacers will get the act together in the playoffs….. but i see you heat fans… smh the heat arent gunna do it this season… honestly they most likely are gunna play the Bulls in the second round and they might not even survive that. and since we talking about the pacers, the Bulls won the season series against the pacers so….

  3. jdub455 says:

    still a solid solid team but definitely wont beat miami 4 times in a series… =)

  4. okc2014 says:

    The Pacers will be fine. The playoffs count, not the regular season…

  5. Nuster says:

    they needs to fire all the Pacers team leaders or the head coaches. they made the mistakes, At the beginning they wins and now they lost 5 games straight. they will not win the East Conference.

  6. Marco29 says:

    From what I saw in the game against the Spurs, George is not a franchise player yet and West has lost some confidence. Vogel needs to work his magic and psychology to reboost these 2 players. they should play more on Hibbert who is a real force inside.
    They need to return to their old self as the best defensive team in the league. They are not agressive enough and not playing for each other.
    Timing is really bad and the rematch against the Heat in the East final is less obvious than it used to be. They could have a hard time against teams like Bulls or Nets or even Toronto.

  7. m cunningham says:

    I agree with Blinebury…It’s time for Vogel to shake his coaching stick, and sit his starters on the bench for a full game or two. It’s obvious that West, PG, and Hibbert are trying to gather this team together. The trouble with them is they have no real leadership skills, and George is about his stats, so sit them all down.
    I hate to say this because I bleed Red & Black Bulls, but that Indy team is imploding fast, and they look defeated losing the top playoff seed.

  8. dustydreamnz says:

    I don’t know, this is bizarre! Andrew Bynum dare I say it?

  9. OscarBent says:

    They need to turn back time to the time before the broke their chemistry, trading away old dog Danny Granger. Trading him sent a message to the players: “This is not a family, this is business, so you better get your game right if you wanna stay” … now there´s nothing to be done. That´s my view.

    • gg says:

      not the exact words I would use, but I agree. Danny Granger’s stats may not have been great seeing as he just returned from injury to a completely different team, but he brings a lot of the intangibles. Stuff you can’t measure with just numbers alone.

  10. Troy says:

    The day they made Evan Turner trade, I said this trade will damage Pacers’s game. Why do you make that type of trade while you are on right track and considered to be best team in NBA at that point. They could be way better and stronger with Granger. That was a mistake they will pay this season. Miami Heat lost in Indiana but won Haslem, Lewis. Look how Haslem stopped Hibbert, and Lewis stopped West. That is good sign for Miami Heat, does not matter if they lost there/

  11. carvin says:

    Still being a relative young team it seems that forgot it’s a 82 game season. the early winning street might have caused them to think you could put the game on auto-pilot and win,

  12. That Guy says:

    Make them watch this over and over again to remind them of why they should be hungrier and more focused now more than ever:

  13. standard says:

    agree with the dark side post
    too much softness and complaining
    need to get a killer instinct
    a go wild and dunk on ppl.

  14. Mike Davis says:

    I find that the Pacers are mending around the last bend of the regular season. It is as if they began this decline due to the fact that had already solidified a spot in the playoffs early in the season. I agree that they need to play to their strengths and stop throwing glory shots around. It is as of they have lost sight of what the true goal is and that being the title. You can’t win a championship if you don’t go all in game in and game out.Because when the playoffs come you can’t just reignite the flame that was apparent earlier in the season. So go back to the basics and the fundamentals and build from there.

  15. rukidnsports says:

    Heat and Pacers would be the 4 and 5 seeds in the West and only a game ahead of Houston. No other East team would be in the playoffs. If the Heat and Pacers played in the western conference, would they make the playoffs?

  16. Jkwon says:

    The great player like ( PAUL GEORGE ) is tired physically and mentally lack of ( experience ). It’s too late to fix the problem.
    MIAMI HEAT will win coming out of eastern conference because of ( strong Leader ship from big 3 )

    The problem with indiana is point guard???

  17. NewYorker says:

    I agree with XiBin Yang.

  18. Erlo says:

    This is what happens when your only game plan is to stop the Heat. Once other teams figure out what you are doing, they will just counter. Indiana is only made to beat the Heat, not anyone else. They will not make the Eastern Conference final.

  19. Kiwi ballet says:

    Of all the comments Inako Diaz-Guerra’s is the most insightful. Since the Granger/Turner trade there has been a leadership vacuum. George has tried to fill it & come up short at the moment.

  20. thespectator says:

    im sure they can win at least 1 more game before the season is over…however this epic flop and fail has opened up a lot of eyes for teams that will potentially face indy as the season ends and into the playoffs…dont think indy can beat miami and make it to the finals in a 7 game series…playoffs is more of a mental game than anything…talkin big about homecourt/#1 seed this whole season…and they dont even have it…this is a marathon not a sprint race…miamis been resting key players thruout the entire season…messed up on d and have lost a lot this season and still managed to be number 1…we have yet to see a long stretch with all the players healthy playing together this entire season for miami…but thats what miami does…they come at full force during april – june…pacers dont have the luxury of resting players…well they could but they are desperate for that number 1 seed…what a sad story…but should be entertaining to watch them try to get it together…chokin at the wrong time..but again lets hope they turn it around…they are giving the world too many easy reasons to show how weak of a team they are mentally…

  21. Paul&Jack says:

    PG needs to go to the basketball dark side
    I mean for the bad boy player list: Kobe, Barkley, Rodman, etc…
    Too much smile PG
    Too much softness