Larry Bird’s rebuilding job aimed at reversing the Pacers’ public image is finally complete with the news that the team has finally waived disgruntled guard Jamaal Tinsley. Now, it appears Bird will soon have another rebuilding job on his hands.
Thanks primarily to Tinsley and Stephen Jackson, the Pacers’ public image took a hit in the years following the “basketbrawl” in 2004.
Tinsley was involved in three off-court incidents between 2006 & 2007, including a bar fight that resulted in a felony charge of intimidation, misdemeanor battery charges, and a disorderly conduct charge.
The Pacers told Tinsley not to report prior to last season and entertained a few trade offers before banishing him to the island of misfit point guards for the entire season.
Pacers fans should applaud Larry Bird’s efforts to clean up Donnie Walsh’s mess, but a glance at the team’s roster suggests there won’t be much to cheer for on the court next season.
Everything revolves around rising star Danny Granger. The All-Star averaged 25.8 ppg last season while playing in 67 games. After that, it’s pretty much a disaster.
The core features Troy Murphy, T.J. Ford, and Brandon Rush. Mike Dunleavy is expected to play, but nagging knee problems could end his career at any point.
The rest of the roster includes Tyler Hansbrough, Dahntay Jones, Earl Watson, Josh McRoberts, A.J. Price, Travis Diener, and Roy Hibbert. Jeff Foster is a free agent and could return to provide another big man.
The Pacers have assembled what is without doubt the least talented roster in the NBA. Jim O’Brien will have to work miracles to keep his team from finishing with the worst record in the league next season.
It looks like it’s time to wait until next, next year.