Real problem with the Pacers, since the NBA trade deadline
Prior to January 30, 2011 the Pacers’ W-L Record was 17-27/.386.
After firing Jim O’Brien, however, the Pacers immediately began to play much better basketball.
Conventional wisdom says that this immediate uptick in performance was simply a temporary upsurge which typically occurs for a relatively short time-period, before regressing to the mean, based on the over-riding abilities of the players on their roster, rather than the abilities of their newly appointed head coach [i.e. Frank Vogel].
Then, when the NBA Trade Deadline came and went …
with a failed effort to complete a three-team trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Hornets which reportedly would have:
- Josh McRoberts/PF [starter]
- Brandon Rush/OG [back-up]
- Solomon Jones/PF-C [back-up]
- OJ Mayo/PG-OG ['quasi' starter]
the Pacers subsequently crashed down to earth in their last 8 games:
and are now, supposedly, experiencing a variety of internal problems:
that have caused their team to fail to compete on a game-to-game basis.
Looking closely at what has happened with the Pacers this season, and especially since the events of February 24, 2011 …
Is a simple case of regression to the mean really what has caused this team to lose 7 of their last 8 games?
PART I, Games played from October 27, 2010 to January 30, 2011 => 17-27
PART II, Games played from January 31 to February 23, 2011 => 9-3
PART III, Games played since February 24, 2011 => 1-7
Or, is there another equally simple but, possibly, even MORE plausibe explanation for this?
When an otherwise solid NBA team – i.e. based on the relative quality of its player personnel - experiences a sudden and major decline in performance, it is frequently attributable to the absence of one [or more] key player[s] from their line-up, who is [are] primarily responsible for creating and minimizing a slew of individual mis-match advantages for their team when playing against average-to-above-average-to-very-good opponents.
As far as the Pacers are concerned, Mike Dunleavy is, in fact, this type of player and this corner would simply suggest that:
#1. Indiana has a much improved chance to play the type of game it wants to play under the direction of Frank Vogel … and win! … when it has a 6-9, 230 lb, relatively agile, multi-dimensional OG, like Mike Dunleavy, in its starting line-up, beside:
PG, Darren Collison [6-0, 160]
SF, Danny Granger [6-9, 228]
PF, Josh McRoberts [6-10, 240]
C, Roy Hibbert [7-2, 278]
[with a supporting cast of AJ Price, TJ Ford, Lance Stephenson, Brandon Rush, Dahntay Jones, Paul George, James Posey, Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Foster and Solomon Jones]
than it does when forced to play without him against the likes of Utah, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia;
#2. When Indiana tips-off against the Raptors later-on this evening, it should come as no surprise at all to see the Pacers get back in the W column, since some combination of Brandon Rush [6-6, 210], Dahntay Jones [6-6, 210], Lance Stephenson [6-5, 210] and Paul George [ 6-8, 210] should be more than capable of competing effectively, at the OG position, against Toronto’s troika of DeMar DeRozan [6-7, 220], Sonny Weems [6-6, 203] and Leandro Barbosa [6-3, 202].
Tags: AJ Price, Brandon Rush, Dahntay Jones, Danny Granger, Darren Collison, Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers, Jeff Foster, Jim O'Brien, Josh McRoberts, Larry Bird, Memphis Grizzlies, Michael Heisley, Mike Dunleavy, OJ Mayo, Paul George, Solomon Jones, Tyler Hansbrough