I made this list because a top ten best Pacers of the past decade article would feature three players, and I need more material to make my editor happy. These rankings are just my opinion, but they’re totally right on. It’s science.
So here we go, starting with numbers 10-6, see the rest of the list on Wednesday.
10. David Harrison
The 32nd pick of the 2004 draft, Harrison was supposed to be the 3rd string center of the future for the Pacers. Unfortunately, even after the Malice at the Palace unexpectedly flung him into the starting lineup, he couldn’t pull it off. After suspensions for violations of the NBA drug policy and conduct detrimental to the team, the Pacers didn’t re-sign him and he ended up in China playing for the Beijing Ducks, the Guandong Southern Tigers, and finally Tianjin Ronggang. Enjoy this commercial for Kinetico Water Products featuring Harrison.
9. Shawne Williams
On any other team, Shawne Williams might have gotten away with two arrests in three years involving drugs and firearms, but the Pacers from 2007-2010 had so much bad press related to handguns and marijuana (Just wait until later in this list) that Larry Bird had to let him go. He’s on this list because if Bird hadn’t set his sights on him, we could have had Rajon Rondo. All I see whenever I see Shawne Williams’ face is what could have been. Namely, Rajon Rondo. Dammit.
8. Jonathan Bender
Bender will always be the guy that Pacer fans look back on and say, “if only.” Namely, if only he had been healthy we could have: A) Won one (or more) with Reggie, B) Not acquired a few others on this list, and C) Still be the dominant power in the East. The Pacers got him in 1999, but he never played a full season. His best season ended with him playing 78 games, but he was always hobbled by injuries and never able to play to his full potential. His final season in Indiana, the year of the Brawl when we could have used him, he played in only two games.
7. Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough
This may be a little unfair, but it was annoying as Hell how much Indiana fans loved this guy. They clapped when he came on the court and when he went off. They went apeshit whenever he scored, even if the Pacers were getting blown out at home by the Bobcats. They defended him vociferously on all the blogs; in fact I expect a lot of negative feedback for this one entry. Oh well, get over it. He was a defensive liability and a mediocre offensive player. Go ahead and cite his one 30 point game against the Knicks. Need I remind you, that one blip of outstanding performance happened against the only team in the league coached by Mike D’Antoni that year.
6. Sarunas Jasikevicius
This guy earned his NBA payday while playing for the Lithuanian National Team in the Athens Olympic Games. In his two games against the United States National Team, he scored 26 points in a win and 17 points in the Bronze Medal match loss. Questions began circulating around the league about who would sign the tiny sharpshooter with an exciting transition game. Larry Bird landed him in 2005 for 3 years and 12 million dollars. However, it turned out that his 3 point shot was streaky at best and his transition game did not conform to Coach Rick Carlisle’s half court offense and “defend first, rebound second, score third” philosophy. He had a couple of good games before teams got enough film to scout and shut him down. His frustration was visible on the court, often resulting in the kind of shoulder shrug and ref pleading you’re used to in European soccer. He was a turnstyle on defense to boot.
Leave comments, let me know how much of an idiot I am.