INDIANAPOLIS -- Coming off a season where the team won a woeful 32 games and finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, there's literally nowhere to go but up. On Thursday, the Pacers hope they began to put the pieces together that will form a picture of a team with winning aspirations.
With the 10th overall pick, the Pacers chose Paul George of Fresno State, a 6-foot-9 shooting guard/small forward prospect who has explosive capabilities who was named second team All-Western Athletic Conference.
George averaged 17 points and seven rebounds last season, so he's obviously got the ability to contribute, but what will his impact be?
The one thing we know for sure is the Pacer dodged a bullet when Utah snatched up Butler's Gordon Hayward with the No. 9 pick. Now they won't have fans hounding them about not selecting the hometown hero if they had passed on him, but the Pacers' situation needs more than a player.
This is a team that needs an identity. Of all the sports in all the leagues, the Pacers are the blandest professional franchise on the planet. They flip their starting lineup, they change up their style of play and the result is always the same -- losing.
Head coach Jim O'Brien needs to take control of the team, decide what they need to be and make the moves to make it happen. He needs to stop swaying in the breeze and hoping that something happens by throwing a mishmash of scenarios at the court.
But what if this season is more of the same?
Simple -- O'Brien and team president Larry Bird need to get the boot. I don't like saying it, but the reality is the game is about winning games and winning championships and the Pacers are far from accomplishing either. This team placed fourth in its division, 10th overall and finished with the 10th worst record in the NBA this season.
They also need to become road warriors. The true character of a team is shown when they hit the road and have to fight. The problem is the Pacers showed little to no fight. They posted a record of 9-32 on the road, which was the sixth worst in the league.
The team should be ashamed of itself for only being able to produce 32 wins last season. With talent such as Danny Granger, Troy Murphy and Roy Hibbert, there is no reason the Pacers should be struggling the way they are. Whether it's the players or management, a change needs to be made and needs to happen quickly.
Moving forward, the Pacers should use the other Indianapolis pro team as an example. Draft well, make the moves and win. While the Colts are equally as dull, at least they know how to win a game or two.