#TBT: The 1980s was the decade when the Pacers franchise was reborn and the foundations for lasting success were laid.
All it took were a few momentous developments that remained in place when the Pacers reached the NBA Finals in 2000: (1) The Simon brothers bought the team. (2) Donnie Walsh became the general manager. (3) Reggie Miller and Rik Smits were drafted.
In the mid-1980s, the Pacers began a dramatic transformation from cellar dweller to contender. That all started when assistant coach Donnie Walsh was promoted to general manager. Walsh's rebuild began in the 1986 NBA Draft, where he had his eyes on a young sharpshooter out of Auburn named Chuck Person.
In the first episode of On The Clock: Behind the Pacers Pick, Purdue Men's Basketball head coach Matt Painter joins the show to discuss All-American Caleb Swanigan and host Pat Boylan reviews the prospects who visited Bankers Life Fieldhouse last week.
The Pacers won their final five regular season games, clinching the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a season-ending victory over Atlanta. The transformation was something unseen in franchise history, one player — a non-starter at that — injecting a badly-needed dose of adrenaline into his teammates and the fan base.