Larry Bird met with the media yesterday to offer his take on the team he oversees, the Indiana Pacers. After dishing on a few things, there were several observations going forward. With the Pacers falling deeply behind the Eastern Conference standings, any news from Larry Bird is good news.
Of the many things that Bird discussed was the possible return of small forward Paul George.
According to the several media members on hand, including the Indianapolis Star, the president of the Pacers was optimistic about the return of his superstar player.
"I always say if the player is ready to play, he's got to play. We're not going to hold (George) back if he's able to go out there and play. I think it's important because when you're out like that, you lose something. He's going to get beat up, he's going to get knocked around, he's not going to look good but I still think it's important, if he's able to play, he should be out there."
Larry Bird On The Possible Return Of Paul GeorgeHaving a healthy George would surely boost Indiana's fading playoff hopes. They enter tonight's contest versus the Detroit Pistons with a 17-32 record. They are currently 4-and-a-half games out of the eighth and final spot of the postseason.
.@MarkMontieth's story on Larry Bird's meeting with media today: "Bird Says Door is Cracked Open for George's Return" http://t.co/62IfAGREhp
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) February 3, 2015
The playoffs, in the words of Larry Bird is his "goal." How realistic his goal is depends on a couple of additional factors.
Consistency is one key that Larry Bird stressed on. During his appearance, as seen on the Indiana Pacers' team website, he praises his players for being "great" guys, yet he is mindful that having a great group only goes so far. His team has to become more consistent. That includes notching the winnable games, holding strong until Paul George is cleared by the Pacers' medical staff.
With nine games on the schedule during the month of February, only one of them is against a team that is not a playoff contender. Generating confidence for a team that finished 4-11 in the month of January is perhaps what Larry Bird had in mind. His message also included the thoughts of roster changes via trades.
Bird noted that improvement is needed. He was non-committal on keeping the team intact. The visions of doing more, a "win-now mentality," has always been the modus operandi of Larry Bird. As a player, Bird was that way, he coached that way, and during his stints as a member of the Indiana Pacers, he developed his rosters that way.
Larry Bird, as always, is a man with a plan. This time is no different than any other time, except for the fact that the moment was now to speak to his team through the media. Perhaps his plan was to generate hope. The hope that Paul George may soon return and that all they need is consistency to steady the ship. Now it is on the Indiana Pacers to heed Larry Bird's message.