The topic for discussion today will still be relevant no matter what the Indiana Pacers do tonight in Game 6 in Atlanta against the Hawks.
Even a victory won’t change my mind about whether this team will make it through the playoffs and compete for the Eastern Conference championship.
But what will happen in the aftermath?
The first speculation comes toward the top of the food chain with head coach Frank Vogel. It is reasonable to think that he could have and/or should have done more during the tailspin Indiana has experienced during the post All Star Game portion of the season.
If there ever was team that entered the playoffs as anything but hot, it was the Pacers.
Certainly Vogel can be correctly criticized for not attempting anything different with the starting lineup. Those five players were in place at the beginning of the game for all but one or two of the games very late in the season. That’s not to say that a change in that area would have been the magic elixir, but it does indicate a willingness not to tinker with the lineup at a time when virtually nothing should have been free from experimentation.
Even Larry Bird can’t be immune for some of the blame for this train-wreck-in-progress. He pulled the trigger on bringing Andrew Bynum into the fold — a move that has paid absolutely zero dividends.
Should the Pacers hit the ground with a season-ending thud tonight, I’d venture to say that at least 20 to 30 percent of the roster should change.
The teams who have dismantled the Pacers like a developmental team — mainly Phoenix and Atlanta — have shown that in today’s NBA, shooters are more important than what the late Al McGuire called the aircraft carriers.