It’s way too early to draw any conclusions about the Indiana Pacers roster just 14 games into the 2019-2020 season. It’s also premature to call for anyone on the roster to be dealt because they don’t fit – yet.
The Pacers are 8-6 despite missing Victor Oladipo for all 14 games, Malcolm Brogdon for the last two games, Jeremy Lamb for several, and Myles Turner for eight. Players who were thought to be fringe players at best heading into the season have stepped up and performed beyond expectations.
Because they share the ball (leading the league in assists per game) and play solid team defense (sixth in defensive rating), this is a fun team to watch – especially for savvy fans.
Despite the many reasons for good tidings, there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with starting center Myles Turner that is curious. There is no doubt the team has yet to find a rhythm with Turner on the court, but calls for him to be traded border on the hysterical.
No one knows at this point whether Domas Sabonis and Turner can coexist as starters with both playing better than 30 minutes per game, but a decision to end this experiment are premature in the extreme. Turner has only played in six games.
No doubt coach Nate McMillan needs to work to put all of the roster parts in a position to take full advantage of their talents. At the top of the list is finding a way to utilize all of Turner’s strengths while also not costing the Pacers their best chance to win games.
In a league where it’s generally believed players hit their prime at the age of 26, Turner is three years shy of discovering exactly how good he can be. He’s under contract through 2022-2023, so a deal would not be prompted by a belief that Turner will leave via free agency.
As with any potential trade, the return needs to at least equal or exceed the value of the departing asset, and fans have no idea what that might be. The question of trading Turner can only be answered by knowing what the other end of the exchange might be. It could only be accurately evaluated years down the road when the contributions of Turner and the pieces gathered by the Pacers are viewed.
Relax. Enjoy watching this team figure itself out while winning, and if you feel the need to voice your concern during a night when the Pacers win by 29 in Brooklyn, take a deep breath and embrace the notion that there are 68 games left in this young season.
Maybe there is no path for Turner to flourish as a cog in this wheel, but until the Pacers know that for sure, trading a player of his potential value is borderline malpractice – unless the return is so substantial it cannot be ignored.
Don’t demand team president Kevin Pritchard hurry through this process. It won’t do any good. He and his staff will figure it out in good time. Enjoy the ride.
Even with the best of intentions and motives, violating IHSAA rules that ban recruiting comes with a cost, but the penalties levied against the Southport basketball program for recruiting Nickens Paul Lemba go too far.
Lemba, a freshman at Southport, is 6’6″ and originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Southport coach Eric Brand paid tuition in the amount of $5,548.00 for Lemba to attend Southport. As a result, Lemba is ineligible for the season, Brand is suspended for two games, the program has been placed on probation, and the team will not be allowed to participate in the state tournament this March.
The suspension is just – if light. The probation makes sense. Recruiting issues always result in a year long ban for the athlete. I get those three spankings. But the ineligibility for the postseason applies a penalty to innocents.
The Cardinals have at least five seniors on its team who, through no fault of their own, will not be allowed to finish their high school careers by playing in the state tournament. Brand wrote the check, not the kids. Why punish the kids?
A postseason ban is occasionally utilized by the NCAA to punish programs that wander from strict adherence to its rules, and it makes sense because NCAA Tournament appearances bring cash and notoriety to the offending university. For high schools, there is small practical consequence for the school. Every team qualifies and the profits are scant.
The primary victims are the players who are banned from their final act of a season and career.
Recruiting is wrong because it brings a disadvantage for players who compete at schools where it doesn’t happen. But the penalty should be born by the coach who engages in it and the player who benefits, not the other players who are innocent participants.
If the IHSAA wants to suspend for a full year a coach who recruits, I’m can understand that. Even if the motive is altruistic, recruiting cannot be allowed or high school basketball will become a race to gather talent rather than teach. Sectional
The IHSAA needs to rethink its decision to impose a postseason prohibitions as it swing a punitive hammer at the wrong nail.
All over social media, IU fans are talking about how far this team has come and how this loss shows the progress the program is making. That’s the same thing they’ve done for the last half century of mediocre to poor Indiana Football.
As the old saying goes, demand success – or doom yourself to tolerate failure. Maybe tolerate should be replaced with celebrate.
Being happy Indiana out-gained Penn State 462-371 would be fine as long as the score reflected that advantage. See, the score is what matters, not the yards gained. IU turned the ball over twice, and failed to convert the worst looking fake punt since Chuck Pagano sent Griff Whalen and Colt Anderson into a suicide mission against the New England Patriots.
Before we get all misty-eyed about the effort from the Hoosiers – or blame Tom Allen for the loss because of the insane fake punt call – let’s remember the defense allowed an 18-play, 9:01 touchdown drive that included four third downs and two fourth down conversions. That came when Indiana had momentum, and trailed by just three. It ended with just 1:44 left on the clock.
To those who say IU has made strides, I agree. But progress is not enough. Others say it’s hard to win at Happy Valley. Of course it is. Yeah, they competed with Peyton Ramsey playing well in place of Michael Penix. Let’s hang a banner a banner!
The game was there for Indiana to win. The blueprint was drafted by Minnesota last weekend and executed well by Indiana 90% of the time. It was not enough.
Seven wins is a nice result for a team that tallied just five during each of Allen’s first two seasons running the program. Going to a bowl is seen as success for the Indiana program. After all IU has gone bowling just three times in the last 25 seasons.
If that’s enough, that’s all you’ll get. That goes for fans, coaches, players, administrators and everyone else tethered to the program. Demand more or get ready for more of the same!
Penn State won the game today because the Nittany Lions program at every level demands success. The same is true with Ohio State and Michigan. All those close games against Michigan don’t mean a damn thing because IU managed to lose all of them back through 1988.
Close doesn’t count.
If a one-possession loss to Michigan is the best you can demand of Indiana – and it can demand of itself – then that is the best that can happen.
Go ahead and search for the silver lining, and clouds are what you’ll keep getting.
You don’t like the reality that IU lost because they tolerate it – and you do too? Then you are a part of the problem.
Next week brings another opportunity for Indiana Football to demand success.
Patting them on the backside for coming close won’t help.
As the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped a nondescript game last night, something quite descript happened.
Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett took Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground after Rudolph delivered a screen pass that should have ended the game. Rudolph began grabbing at Garrett’s helmet. Garrett took exception and pulled Rudolph’s helmet from his head. He then hit Rudolph over the head with it.
Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro laid on top of Garrett, and Maurkice Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett. While Rudolph complained to the referee, Browns tackle Larry Ogunjobi hit Rudolph from behind knocking him to the ground.
Twitter exploded with calls for Garrett to be prosecuted, blame for Rudolph as an instigator, demands for Browns coach Freddie Kitchens to be fired, and all kinds of yelling from every conceivable perspective.
As with all incidents of sports mayhem, the level of heat with social media hot takes rose to where they barely made sense. That’s a natural evolution that we come to expect from the cyclotron of illogic Twitter becomes in these moments.
So let’s roll the heat back and take a sane look at the incidents and the potential ramifications for those involved:
Myles Garrett – Suspension for at least the rest of the season. God smiled upon the NFL (and Rudolph) when he walked away after being brained by his own helmet as it was swung by Garrett. Garrett is not going to be prosecuted. The NFL does not need on-field activities adjudicated in court. Because of the public demand for justice, the NFL will express to media and fans its seriousness in levying an extreme punishment that will appease those who might push for an assault arrest.
Mason Rudolph – Rudolph was at least complicit in escalating the fight by trying to pull off Garrett’s helmet and then pursuing him as DeCastro led Garrett away. A suspension is unlikely because the optics of sitting a QB who was the victim in the most visible portion of the melee is difficult to defend.
Larry Ogunjobi – Might be suspended for the blindside hit on Rudolph, but his true punishment will always be how his weak move will define him. As offensive linemen were restraining and pummeling Garrett, Ogunjobi chose to defend his teammate by hitting a defenseless quarterback. From the ground, Rudolph called Ogunjobi “bitch.” That’s about right.
Maurkice Pouncey – He landed several punches and kicks to Garrett as he was pinned by DeCastro. He’s going to be suspended for a game or two, but nobody in the Steelers locker room is going to argue with his actions.
David DeCastro – If anything, he was a peacemaker. If the NFL has a prize for outstanding leadership in the face of abject chaos, DeCastro should get it.
Freddie Kitchens – The coach of the Browns was not directly involved in the chaos, but the lack of discipline shown by his team dating back to training camp and the final joint practice with the Colts at Grand Park has been troubling. During that messy workout, the Browns instigated too many fights to count. They lead the league in penalties with 112 (next highest total is 97). Kitchens will not be suspended because indifferent/ineffective leadership is not against NFL rules.
The upshot of last night’s riveting nightmare is there will be a second chapter as these two teams meet December 1st in Pittsburgh. That will drive thinking as Roger Goodell metes out punishment for the participants. If he goes weak, the players will take matters into their own hands in 16 days. That’s the last thing Goodell wants.