Category Archives: t.j. ford

Can Indiana Pacers Make The Playoffs?

The Indiana Pacers are currently 22-28 and hold a one game lead for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. They have a good shot landing anywhere from the 6th seed to the 11th seed in the conference. They are on a roll since firing Jim O’Brien and promoting Frank Vogel to head coach. Depending on what other teams do before the trading deadline, can the Pacers finally make the playoffs with Reggie Miller?

Since Frank Vogel took over head coaching duties, the Pacers have only one loss to the Miami Heat. They were leading much of that contest, but lost in the last minutes of the game. Vogel has done away with the “small ball” that O’Brien was trying the last few weeks he was in power and has been starting Tyler Hansbrough &

Josh McRoberts at that position. He also said that he will start playing rookies Paul George & Lance Stephenson more. George has been playing a lot off the bench, but Stephenson has yet to see minutes this year. Indiana has responded and are playing with a fire and passion that was lost under O’Brien.

Larry Bird has been held under fire the last few years. He has been scrutinized about the personnel that he has acquired and seems to have changed his focus this year. He went with the best players available in the draft and didn’t choose the “good character” guy over a risk. Stephenson was a huge risk, but in the 2nd round, not so much. I still think he could be a factor on this team, but he hasn’t been given a shot. He could be useful in the D-League, but the Pacers haven’t been apt to use that option in the past.

The Pacers have a few chips that they could try to move before the trading deadline. Mike Dunleavy, T.J. Ford, and Jeff Foster all have expiring contracts and are very capable players. Dunleavy has been starting, Foster has been coming off the bench, and Ford has been a healthy scratch. All three players can contribute to any team, but doesn’t seem like the Pacers have them in their current or future plans. If they could get a serviceable power forward or defensive help for any of those guys, Bird should jump on it.

It looks like Indiana will be fighting the Knicks, Bobcats, Sixers, Bucks, and Pistons for the last three playoff spots in the East. The Bobcats and Pistons have been rumored to be sellers at the trading deadline, so that could end those teams hopes of making the playoffs. You never know what surprise team will jump up the standings after some trades. Can the Pacers make the playoffs this season? Absolutely, they have as good of a shot as any of the mid-level teams in the East. Will they make it out of the first-round? That is another story…I don’t want to be positive right now.


A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

Josh McRoberts: My New Man Crush?

If you have read anything on this site over the last few years, you know my stance on Josh McRoberts. I hate Duke, he made a horrible decision by going pro when he did, and he had a failed relationship with “The Hills” actress, Lauren Conrad. When he landed on the Indiana Pacers a few years ago, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. He was a throw-in when Indiana traded Jerryd Bayless to Portland for Brandon Rush on draft night. Not many people expected that the Pacers would keep him around, but he has kept a spot on the roster since and even earning a few starts, due to injury, last season. He has made the most of his opportunities. Has he changed our mind?

The only player that has received more negative publicity on this site than McRoberts has been Adam Morrison, so what I’m about to tell you might surprise you. I am a fan of Josh McRoberts. I “liked” his page on Facebook to prove it. You have to like a guy who knows his role. He isn’t going to light it up and take 20 shots a game, his job is to eat up minutes and grab rebounds. He only takes 3-4 shots a game and most of those are put backs on rebounds. It’s something that other Pacers players should relish, because a player like Dahntay Jones, another Duke player on Indiana, has done so far this year too. Jones signed a 3-year deal before last season to become the Pacers defensive stopper, but he ended up trying to become Ron Artest and jacked up ugly shot after ugly shot. It was so bad that the Pacers tried to package D. Jones with Solomon Jones in a 2 for 1 trade, for anybody, so they could keep their 2nd-round pick, Magnum Rolle. They didn’t receive any offers, so they had to keep the Jones boys and cut Rolle loose, who is now doing well in the NBDL.

Going back to McRoberts, he should be a fan favorite. He is from nearby Carmel, Indiana and he’s white as a camera flash. Larry Bird may have went a different route in the draft this year and tried to take the best available players instead of playing it sage. Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and Magnum Rolle were all acquired on draft night. George plays the same position as Danny Granger, but his upside was the highest of any player left on the board. Stephenson was once known as “The Lebron of NYC,” as the best prep player in the city, but bonehead decisions and lack of motivation dropped him into the 2nd round. McRoberts is a player that Bird imagined that he would go out and acquire. A “gritty” and “scrappy” role player that he can plug in and do their job.

No one expects McRoberts to do anything on this team, no pressure at all. Hibbert trimmed down and he’s a beast inside this season, Granger is the leader and will lead this team in points, and Darren Collison is a slasher and can do whatever is left. The Pacers don’t look that attractive on paper, but on the court, they are pulling off some improbable wins.

Within the last week, the Pacers smoked the Heat, pushed the Thunder to overtime, easily beat the Lakers on the road, and dominated the Kings at Sacramento. If you told me that the Pacers would be 9-7 after 16 games, I would have asked you to pee in a cup. This team could easily be 10-6 or 11-5, if a few balls bounced the other way. The production on this team is essentially the same team as last season, minus Troy Murphy and adding Collison and James Posey. Why is this team winning games? You have a few players on contract years (T.J. Ford, Mike Dunleavy) and Jim O’Brien came into this season fighting for his job. Players are accepting their roles and Ford seems to be happy and not sulking on the bench as the 3rd PG option. He has been very productive as the backup PG and looks to be mentoring Collison.

Are the Pacers a playoff team? In an Eastern Conference that looks very top-heavy, absolutely! I project that the 7th and 8th seeds in the East will be 4 or 5 games under .500. If they complete this Western Conference road trip undefeated or with a lone loss, they are setting themselves up for a pretty nice December and January. You can’t win a season this early, but you can definitely lose a season this early. If Indiana headed into January with a horrible record, O’Brien would be a sitting duck and the Pacers would start looking for trade partners to move their expiring contracts for assets. It is setting up to be an interesting season in Indianapolis, if they can make the playoffs without Reggie Miller, maybe the fans can finally move on and accept this team. If I can accept Josh McRoberts, there’s hope for peace in the Middle East.

I leave you with an alley-oop by McRoberts that happened last night against Sacramento, click here to check it out.

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.

2009-10 NBA Preview: Indiana Pacers

As many of you know, I write for a Pacers site over at Fanball. You can read my stuff at As part of my 2009-10 NBA Preview posts, I wrote one about the Pacers that can be found there. I have copied it here on my site too and here is the 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have barely missed the playoffs the last few years, could this be the season when that streak ends? Danny Granger is a stud, but could he possibly win the MVP award? Troy Murphy is coming off the best season of his career, can he keep up those numbers this year? Can Mike Dunleavy make a comeback from his knee problems? Can Tyler Hansbrough, Brandon Rush, and Roy Hibbert take the next step and become legit NBA stars?

Additions/Subtractions – There are quite a few new faces on the Pacers this year. They did well in the draft when they picked up Tyler Hansbrough and A.J. Price. They were both winners in college and this team is starting to be filled with players who excelled in college. The lost Jarrett Jack and Marquis Daniels via free agency, but they picked up Luther Head, Dahntay Jones, Solomon Jones, and Earl Watson to fill their roster. They look to be a better defensive team than they were the last two seasons.

2009-10 Expectations – They have been the 9th best team in the Eastern Conference the last few seasons, but they look to change that this year. They have been in a transition mode since Reggie Miller retired. Indiana has been lucky that they haven’t bottomed out like many teams have during their rebuilding process. Head coach Jim O’Brien has played an offensive style that has fit this team and he should get the credit for the Pacers not falling completely into a void the last two seasons. Larry Bird could be on the hot seat this year if the team doesn’t improve on their record from last year, but the roster has nearly turned over completely the last three seasons. This team has a lot of former Wooden Award winners on it and it’s nearing time that many of them to mature and reach their potential. Danny Granger came into his own last year and he may even get better. If the Pacers end up in the playoffs, it will be because of his play. If he has a bad year, the Pacers could be one of the worst teams in the league. They look to him for leadership and production.

2009-10 Prediction – I look for Granger to be a possible MVP candidate and he will make the All-Star team. Tyler Hansbrough, Roy Hibbert, and Troy Murphy will be a nice three man rotation at the PF/C positions. It’s time for Hibbert to really show the league what he can do. Brandon Rush will improve, he had a pretty good last two months of the season last year. Mike Dunleavy is dealing with an nagging knee injury. He had surgery on it, but had a setback. He should be back at some point near the beginning of the season, but it could be a lost season for him. The Pacers will make the playoffs, but it could be as a #8 seed.

2009-10 Win Total – 38-44

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O’Neal Traded To Toronto – A Pacer Fan Critique

Jermaine O’Neal was traded to the Toronto Raptors for T.J. Ford and the #17 pick in the NBA Draft tomorrow night. O’Neal has been asking for a trade since Isiah Thomas was fired as the Pacers head coach. Last off-season a rumor swirled that he was going to the Lakers for either Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum, but the Pacers wanted both of them and the Lakers didn’t move forward with the trade. The trade with Toronto could be a good thing for the Pacers, only if Ford stays healthy and the player selected at #17 can step in right away and help the troubled franchise.

Jermaine O’Neal hasn’t been the same since he was involved in the “Palace Brawl” a few seasons ago. After he served his suspension, he wasn’t the same on the court for the rest of that season and last couple years he has been out with various injuries. He is due to make 20+ million each of the next two seasons and the Pacers were smart to make a move for a point guard. Indiana needed to either make a move and trade for a point guard or draft a point guard (who would have either been D.J. Augustin or Russel Westbrook). Augustin is in the same mold as their current point guard Jamaal Tinsley, he can make plays, but either have a consistent jumpshot, same could be said for Ford. The different between Tinsley and Ford/Augustin is that they haven’t been a team disruption off the court. Tinsley will still end up on the team ’cause he has a large salary, but with Ford starting and Tinsley coming off the bench, their backcourt could be pretty nice.

On the Toronto side of this, you have a GM in Colangelo that is used to winning. He plays a faster style of basketball and Jose Calderon seems like a better fit at point guard. The front court of Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal will give the Eastern Conference a migraine. Toronto takes on a huge contract for the next two seasons, but with the addition of O’Neal, if he stays healthy, can cement a playoff spot next season.

I’m not defending Larry Bird as team president, but I have faith that the moves he is making is going to eventually make sense. I admit that the Harrington/Jackson to Golden State for Murphy/Dunleavy still makes no sense, but Jackson was a distraction and they had to package Harrington with him to send him packing.

The color barrier may be broken this year if the Pacers pick another white guy with the #11 or #17 picks tomorrow. I think that Joe Alexander or Kosta Koufos are on their radar, but it isn’t certain that Alexander will be there at #11 or Koufos will be there at #17. If they pick either one, they could actually put a five white guys on the floor at once. Jeff Foster, Travis Diener, Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, and either one of the draft picks. As “America’s White Boy,” it would be a proud moment in white boy history. I am not sure what is up with Bird, but before he came in, the only white boy on the team was either Rik Smits or Detlef Schrempf (Austin Croshere was around, but I choose not to remember his tenure). Larry Bird is down with the white boy and I my friend, am down with Bird.

A Sports & Entertainment blog that focuses on absurdity in sports, snarky banter, updates on Tim Tebow’s virginity, and decent sports gambling advice.