When good is bad: No flash in the pan for the Indiana Pacers

Paul GeorgeThis post is for the casual basketball fan, not the over-eager basketball jones like me but the one who tunes in to only a few games a year, knows a few big named players and can probably pick LeBron, Kobe and maybe Dwayne Wade out of a line-up, but not Paul George.

That’s right.  Paul George.  In case you hadn’t heard, he’s the guy leading the best team in the league in scoring.  You just don’t know him because he’s just not on every third commercial you see on TV.

To those casual basketball fans, I feel compelled to tell you that the two most “boring” and “uncharismatic” teams in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs, are a combined 32-5.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.

The Indiana Pacers, the Eastern Conference team most likely to stand in the way of a Heat Three-Peat, might not be flashy but they’ve lost only two games so far this season.  They are the best defensive team in the league and while that might not sell tickets or attract ratings, it attracts W’s.

The Spurs, perennially a 50-win team ever since Tim Duncan moved to Texas, are also up to their old tricks, starting the season 15-3.  They are well-coached and are loaded with veterans that know how to win.

The only problem is that San Antonio and Indiana don’t draw.

I’m not talking about their own attendance.  The Spurs sell out nearly every home game. The Pacers, while not at the bottom of the league in attendance, still have a healthy, dedicated fan base.

On the road, the interest in seeing San Antonio and Indiana is an entirely different story.

vivid seatsAccording to a Vivid Seats report, despite their winning ways, nobody wants to pay to see these teams play.  As you might imagine when the Miami Heat circus rolls into town, tickets are hard to come by.  Ticket sales go up 140%.  We just can’t seem to get enough of Bron Bron.  But ask the casual fan to spend his hard earned money on Roy Hibbert or to even name the starting lineup of the Indiana Pacers and therein lies the rub: the marketing backlash of the NBA.  The Pacers lack the flash that the NBA has so fervently promoted since the days of Michael, Magic and Larry.  Kobe Bryant still has it.  Heck, he’s not even playing and the Lakers are a bigger road draw than Indy and San Anton.

Winning a championship might not even help their cause.   The soft-spoken Tim Duncan has four rings and even HE doesn’t draw fans on the road.  According to the Nielsen ratings, the Spurs were in two of the least watched NBA Finals ever.

According to the Vivid Seats report, the Pacers are actually a NEGATIVE draw.  It’s as if a family of four is sitting at home looking for something to do that night, find out the Pacers are visiting their local arena and decide AGAINST going.  They’re 17-2, people!

For the purists among us, the Pacers, and Spurs for that matter, play an impressive brand of basketball.  They are among most complete teams in the league.  The problem is that George Hill and David West aren’t pimping Nike or T-Mobile every chance they get.

So the task of marketing these ‘lesser charismatic’ teams now rests firmly on the shoulders of Adam Silver, the successor to David Stern.  For whatever reason, the best team in the league is 25th in the league in attendance making the Pacers the Tampa Bay Rays of the NBA.

I can only guess that this is an indictment of the casual fan, that we choose flash over foundation, glitz and glamour over glue.  That’s a shame.

Paul George kneelsThose of us who truly enjoy the game will watch intently as the Pacers attempt to dethrone King James and company.  The rest of you are just missing out.

So where do we go from here?  Do we resign ourselves to the fact that the game itself is marketable but certain teams are not?

When it’s all said and done, who would we rather have as our champion?  A team that’s not sound, like the Los Angeles Clippers, who the Pacers just beat on the road, or a team that knows what they’re doing and can beat you in a number of ways.  Of that recent Pacers win in L.A., Roy Hibbert took a potshot at the Clippers’ penchant for flying through the air with the greatest of ease by saying “Dunks are nice, wins are better.”  The Pacers could use a lot more smack talk to get the fringe fan to tune in.  When they do, they’ll find themselves watching some damn good basketball.

9 thoughts on “When good is bad: No flash in the pan for the Indiana Pacers

  1. Pingback: When good is bad: No flash in the pan for the Indiana Pacers - BallHyped Blog Network, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. What’s odd, Al, is that there’s actually plenty of talent in the league.

    There are some pretty damn good players on these rosters. So why all the shitty teams?

    Maybe it’s the coaching?

    I know coaching is probably more overrated in the NBA than it is in other sports but how many really good coaches do we have patrolling the sidelines these days?

  3. Man, I was SOOOOOO hoping George would opt to become a free agent and come home to LA to wear purple and gold….(He’s a Palmdale native….You know, of Afroman -Because I Got High fame?)Anyway…I can’t blame him for staying in Indy…They have a deep squad with a legit chance of knocking the Heat off the throne. Gotta love the no-name, blue collar feel too. As long as he doesn’t start flashing chocke signs at Spike, he’ll have to keep tearing it up on the court to get the non-netheads to pay any attention…Until then, he’s the best kept secret in the NBA….For now.

  4. Chris

    Schiano’s job now looks secure after the Bucs’ victory over Buffalo .

    I am not saying that the Redskins are bad but there has to be some sort of pain medication that can be prescribed for their fans and the organization alike . The Chiefs just beat their @ss like a drum .

    Great game between the Pacers and Spurs on Saturday night . Terrific win for the Indiana and Paul George was very impressive in the contest .

    Trust you and the family enjoyed your Thanksgiving ? Now it’s back to the grindstone of work and making sure there’s enough ” cheddar” to be spent this Christmas on the family .

    http://tophatal.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/so-what-what-have-we-really-learned-about-the-nfl-this-season/> So what? What have we learned about the NFL this season ?

    tophatal …………..

  5. So, Bleed, whaddaya think?

    When Granger comes back, are there going to be enough shots to go around?

    I know this is kind of a silly question but it’s not. He’s a talented cat. Do they end up keeping him, holding him and how do they work him into that lineup?

  6. Al…

    How many teams in the Western Conference do you think could legitimately win a title this year?

    And sure, all’s fine in Raymond James but let’s keep in mind, it was the Bills they were playing, not exactly an AFC powerhouse.

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